marketing
& design

Title Card for Logo Secret Article from Owl Street Studio
Photo of Owl Street Studio's founder, Brian Rawson
Brian Rawson \
October 9, 2020
Photo of Owl Street Studio's founder, Brian Rawson

The Free Secret You Need to Create a Logo:

Make It Scale


We believe that you want to create a positive, lasting impact on the world around you; and we believe that you want to follow your passion and live your dream. Well, to do all of that, you have to start small and build up. For instance, before you can change the whole world:

-- YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS TO ACTUALLY READ YOUR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM POSTS;

-- YOU HAVE TO TURN A ONE-TIME CUSTOMER INTO A REPEAT CUSTOMER, AND

-- YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS TO TELL ALL THEIR FRIENDS ABOUT YOU.



Well, how can your customers and clients do any of that - if they can’t remember your name? How can you hit any of your personal, business, and organizational goals if you don’t have brand and name recognition? How can you realize your dreams and grow your business and organization if you don’t have a killer logo?

Well - with this one free logo maker secret - you can do just that. You can build name recognition and brand power with this one logo idea: scalability.

Here’s how.

First, Things First:

Logo Definition


Before we can unpack this logo design secret, before we can go big or small, we have to set a baseline. We have to define what a logo’s supposed to do in the first place.

The definition of a logo:

A LOGO’S PURPOSE IS TO IDENTIFY AND PROJECT YOUR BRAND TO YOUR MARKETPLACE.

Sounds simple, but there’s a lot crammed into those words, which means there's a lot to unpack from that logo definition.

However that's not what this article's about (but that's what this article is all about: logo definition: see why you're probably wrong)

This article is about how to make your logo scale big and small. So, for now, just hold this logo definition in your mind, mark down this baseline, so we can jump to the design secrets to make your logo fit any and everywhere.


A Logo That Scales is:

A Logo That has Parts


To make your logo scale from a business card to a billboard, your logo must have more than one part.

Instead of your logo being one solid plate, your logo should be made up of individual building blocks. These blocks can then be moved around, dropped, remixed, and adjusted to make your logo fit any size and any application.

These logo building blocks are how you make your logo scale.

The building blocks of a logo are:
FULL MARK \ WORD MARK \ ABSTRACT MARK \ TAGLINE (OPTIONAL) \ SUBHEADS (OPTIONAL)


Here’s these building blocks in action:

A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of Target's logo for Owl Street Studio's article on logo design

Again, it’s these separate parts that allow a logo to scale. It’s these parts that allow a logo to fit any size and any application like this:



A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of Target's logo for Owl Street Studio's article on logo design

A Logo That Repeats is:

The Logo That Grabs


Many times, logo design overlooks these separate parts:
FULL MARK \ WORD MARK \ ABSTRACT MARK \ TAGLINE (OPTIONAL) \ SUBHEADS (OPTIONAL)

Many designs fuse all of the logo blocks into one big logo plate.

Now, this doesn’t seem like a problem at first - because, when you start designing at the aspect ratio of a Macbook pro, you can design any logo to look great even with the subhead, tagline, and abstract mark all fused together.

But what happens when you shrink that logo plate from a Macbook Pro to an Ipod Mini (if they even still make those anymore)?

Well, what happens is you run into a major problem:
-- When you design a logo as a plate (INSTEAD OF IN SEPERATE PARTS)
--- and you shrink it, the subheads and taglines become illegible and/or the logo as a whole loses its visual hierarchy and becomes confusing to read.

Why does this happen?
-- Because subheads, taglines, and all that extra stuff must be smaller than the word mark (for visual hierarchy).
---- And since they’re already smaller, when you shrink the logo as a whole these smaller taglines and subheads become too small to read.
-------- And if you resize just the tagline or subhead to a readable size at this smaller application, you throw off the entire visual hierarchy of the logo and make it confusing to read.


Here’s what we mean:


A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio

A Logo That Repeats is:

The Logo That Grabs


So, to make your logo design scale big and small, think in parts not in wholes.

Also, take the time to really think through these smaller parts:
- DOES EACH SUBHEAD REALLY NEED THAT MANY WORDS OR SYLLABLES?
- AND DO YOU EVEN NEED THAT SUBHEAD AT ALL?


Just remember, the more you cram together - the less room you have. Just keep in mind that - no matter what - that “vital” subhead that’s two sentences long ain’t gonna fit on a postage stamp (or on an Ipod Mini).

Now that we see how designing in blocks instead of plates makes your logo scale, let’s look at the next secrets in making a killer logo.


A Logo That Scales is:

A Logo That Does These Two Things


Along with creating logo building blocks, use these next two ideas to design your logo to fit any size and any application.
1. reduce.
2. abstract.


To Scale Your Logo:

Reduce Like This


As the application gets smaller, the logo sheds, rearranges, or reduces the non-essential building blocks of taglines and subheads.

This idea of reduction goes back to what we talked about in the last section:
- the problem of subheads and taglines becoming illegible at smaller sizes and/or them causing the logo as a whole it lose its visual hierarchy and become confusing #af.

But, when you design a logo in parts, you avoid this entireproblem because with in a logo in parts - at smaller sizes - you can reduce non-essential building blocks.

You can take those subheads and taglines and...chuck’em.

Like this:


A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio



Now, after talking about reducing, let’s look at the next thing you need to make your logo scale - abstraction.


To Scale Your Logo:

Abstract Like This


Out of all the building blocks in a logo, there’s one that’s a secret weapon
- the abstract mark.

See, your logo's abstract mark isn't just for kicks. It's one of the most powerful branding forces you have.

Sound far fetched?...

A sample of Target's logo for Owl Street Studio's article on logo design

The abstract mark is so powerful because:
- it can fit ANY size,
- it can fit ANY application,
- And it can be endlessly repeated at every single touch point between you and your customers and clients.

And remember, repetition creates meaning, association, and memory.

Repetition is what burns your logo into people’s brains. And once your logo’s in there, it begins to cement your name, image, and brand into their mind.

Don’t believe us? Well, look at this:
- Repetition is why we don't even have to spell out the names of these companies...(but we bet you'll know who they are - even shown with no color and really small).


A sample of famous logos for Owl Street Studio's article on logo design

To Scale Your Logo:

Abstract Like This


Now, to be fair, not all abstract marks are created equal. Just because it’s a swish doesn’t mean it’s a slam dunk.

An abstract mark must strike a balance between being so simple that it can be remixed endlessly while simultaneously not being boring and forgettable.

Target’s “Target” is so simple it can be endlessly remixed, yet it’s still memorable.

But just a dot looks like, well, just a dot.

Just a circle looks like...a circle.

But...Pepsi’s circle with a swish and two colors - that’s memorable and can be endlessly remixed.

To be honest it’s a fine line between good and bad abstract marks, between a mark being too complicated vs too simple; too dull vs. too crazy.

But fine lines aside, it’s better to have an abstract mark (even just a “meh” one) than to not have one at all - as long as you use it!

You have to put your abstract mark on everything you can. You have to put it on pens and napkins and on posters and billboards. You have to remix it and repeat it and repeat it and repeat it at every single touch point between you and your customers and clients (if you want to build brand power and name recognition that is).

Sound overkill? Well, again…


A sample of Target's logo for Owl Street Studio's article on logo design
A snapshot from the logo-scape  made for Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit as part of their branding project with Owl Street Studio.
A photo of advocacy staff holding a poster advertisement made for Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit as part of their marketing project with Owl Street Studio.
A sample of logos design by Owl Street Studio
A sample of logos created by Owl Street Studio

Here's the 4 Things You Need:

To Create a Killer Logo


We’ve talked about a lot of things, so let’s recap.

- 1. A logo’s purpose is to identify and project your brand to your marketplace.
---- 2. To do all of that - to create a killer logo - make your logo scale.
-------- 3. To make it scalable, design your logo as building blocks instead of as a fused plate.
------------- 4. To make your logo scalable, then take those building blocks and
----------------- A) Reduce (chuck) the non-essential ones as your logo gets smaller and smaller and
----------------- B) Use the abstract block (your abstract logo mark) to fit your logo onto any size and any application - from giant billboards to Iphone app icons (and Ipod Mini’s)...

(oh! and put that abstract mark everywhere you can!).


Along with those 4 steps, there is... JUST A FEW MORE THINGS YOU SHOULD ADD.

Make sure to add:

- Your brand: THE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS YOU WANT YOUR ORGANIZATION TO EVOKE IN OTHERS

- Your customers:  THE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS THAT MATTER MOST TO YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS AND TO THE NEW CUSTOMERS YOU WANT TO REACH

- Your competition: AN ANALYSIS OF YOUR MARKETPLACE TO ENSURE YOUR LOGO LOOKS LIKE BELONGS NEXT TO YOUR COMPETITORS WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY SETTING YOU APART FROM YOUR COMPETITORS.


(To start learning how to add these, read this: logo design: 101)



Oh and you should add this...tested experience...


A sample of logos design by Owl Street Studio


(* Plus, a lot of conversations, feedback, and teamwork.)

How to Make a Great Logo:

Without Breaking a Sweat


We know - with everything going in your life, from adjusting to a new normal and a new work/life balance - how can you do all of this stuff to make a great logo without breaking a sweat or losing your sanity?

Easy.

Give us a call.

We’re here to build place for all of us at the table. We believe that everyone deserves to build a thriving business and organization, to follow their passions and live a good life at the same time.

Our whole purpose is to be here to help you.

It takes just two minutes to set up a free consultation. At that consultation, we simply get to know each other. We ask a lot of questions, do a lot of listening, and get to know you and your specific goals. After that, we brainstorm custom, creative solutions to help you achieve those goals.  

And then, once you’re ready to begin your project, we use custom price structures and payment plans to ensure you never have to decide between buying groceries or achieving your dreams.

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