WHAT CAN THE RIGHT ILLUSTRATIVE LOGO ACHIEVE?
Illustrative icons and logos are a visual representation of a brand or product’s intended character. The ideal illustrated logo should be self-contained enough to enhance the perception of a brand or product, while also establishing trust and authority.
A good illustrated logo can make a strong, long-lasting impression on the respective target audience, ensuring the brand sticks in people’s minds and is associated with positive values. It can enhance a company, service, or product’s global presence through improved brand recognition.
In my view, the perfect logo is something unique, distinctive, ownable, and stylish. But more than that, it should be memorable, clear, and relevant to the target audience – evoking emotions in a way that shape perceptions of the brand in a positive way.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CREATIVE PACKAGING ILLUSTRATIONS?
Almost every consumer product we buy as consumers is provided to us in packaging that includes an illustrated logo or key visual graphic artwork.
Consumers are bombarded with choice every time they enter a supermarket or shop. With such competition for consumers’ attention, distinctive packaging designs are important to ensure products stand out on crowded shelves. The on-pack designs we see are the result of extensive branding and design processes, and years of carefully honed expertise on the part of specialist packaging designers.
Packaging illustration includes the challenge of crafting bespoke illustrations within the constraints of a specific packaging layout while allowing for certain details, such as a product name, product information texts, or product images. The illustrations created have to fit within these frames and blend seamlessly with the overall package design. Recognisability and printability are primary considerations throughout the process. Good packaging illustrations should enrich and emotionalise the consumer’s experience of a product, making it memorable.
The choice of illustration style should also be carefully tuned to the type of product being advertised.
For example, a more emotionalised, elegant, loosely crafted line-drawn style has proven more suitable for cosmetic or medicinal products than reduced, minimalistic line-drawing. On the other hand, a very reduced and simple illustration style can prove very effective for instructional product usage descriptions on the rear of a package – done well, these can even eliminate the need for further text instructions.
Successful packaging design and illustration is very much about carefully examining the precise requirements as specified by design teams and carefully following the design route they have chosen.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DESIGNING AN ILLUSTRATIVE LOGO?
As with all design projects, the client – be it an agency or global brand’s design team – provides a design brief which outlines the plans, desires and expected outcomes of the project. The better this design brief is, the easier it is for me to ensure the illustration(s) I create will achieve my client’s objectives. Naturally, strong knowledge of the client’s business and industry plays a key role here, ensuring the logo artwork created is not just on-brief, but able to help the client stand out in their sector.
After receiving a design brief, I start the initial exploratory phase, developing vector roughs with a range of routes and ideas. This early ‘discovery’ stage is key to ensure all stakeholders agree on which visual routes should be further developed. The consultation on the results of the exploratory work comes at a halfway point in the overall process. In the second stage, further optimisations and amendments to the selected version of the logo are implemented until the details are ready for a second client presentation. This process ensures maximum efficiency as we work towards a single version of the finalised artwork.
Over the years it has become clear to me that there is more to creating a successful illustrative brand icon than creativity alone. Indeed, it is vital that the graphic artist listens closely to the design team’s briefs and ideas, engaging with their thinking and communicating thoroughly to ensure everything is clear. Misunderstandings or miscommunications can potentially sabotage any project, so I always aim to communicate as clearly as possible at all stages of the design process.
Schedules and deadlines are important, too, and these deserve special consideration. Naturally, every project is subject to its individual planning requirements, and I endeavour to always deliver artworks on time. However, I am also careful to manage unrealistic expectations. As a professional graphic artist, it is not always possible for me to deliver bespoke artworks almost overnight. While I am no stranger to working under pressure, I prefer to allow for a more balanced delivery schedule so that creative ideas can be developed thoroughly, and the illustrative artwork is crafted to the standard required.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO REJUVENATE AN EXISTING BRAND ICON?
From time to time, I have had the privilege of laying my hands on long-established, traditional brand icons and trademarks that have been trusted for generations. Even these must occasionally be slightly rejuvenated in order to stay relevant, adapting to future generations of consumers, and such a task is a great honour for an illustrator such as myself. It is also a highly delicate matter for most brand owners, under pressure to modernise their established icon, but fearful of irritating or even losing parts of their loyal customer base.
I regard these challenges rather as a dusting off or delicate clean-up, almost like a careful renovation project. The aim is to retain the core spirit of the old brand icon, simplifying and optimising what is already there without overwriting existing brand value. Preserving the existence of a beloved brand icon for the future is an honour and a delight. You can read more about one such project, the rejuvenation of the Neighbourhood Watch logo, here. https://albertmorell.com/portfolio_page/neighbourhood-watch/
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF A GOOD ILLUSTRATIVE LOGO?
The finest logos – the ones that have an almost immediate “Wow!” effect – are those that are clean, precise and uncluttered. Less is nearly always more, and the elegance of a simple design often has more impact. It is important to remember that logos are used in a variety of ways, in different formats, across various platforms, and in different sizes, so fine details can easily be lost. A strong logo will have very few elements, each of which can be identified easily, and each integral to what you are hoping to communicate. Extraneous elements that do not contribute to the whole are best removed.
A logo and its core elements should be easy to recall after just one short glance. It should function alone as a symbol. A logo that is too complex will be harder for the viewer to understand and process, and the result is it will be easily forgotten.
Nobody cares about hip, lookalike logos. Recognisable logos of major brand can serve as inspiration, but it is a bad idea to mimic them. The same applies to ubiquitous design trends. A successful logo will work unaltered for many years, seemingly timeless as it outlasts constantly changing design trends.
The best logos are usually designed with the principles of proportion and symmetry in mind. Proportionate elements and symmetry can help to create a pleasing and balanced aesthetic. When creating a word mark or figurative trademark, the proportions and style of logo should also work well with the chosen typeface. If the logo includes many colours, you should also ensure it also works well in plain black and white.
A distinctive logo by itself is not enough. But in the face of tough competition between brands, a well-executed, distinctive illustrated logo can make that vital difference that gets your brand noticed. A successful brand logo or identity icon demands uniqueness, emotion and impact.
WHO DO YOU WORK WITH?
My clients include leading brand consultants, global corporate identity specialists, design studios, traditional advertising houses, regional businesses, and local design teams. These creative directors, art directors, and individual designers are highly skilled, passionate and dedicated to achieving excellent design results. They are an absolute pleasure to work with.
Another area I specialise in is creating identity logos for public institutions, including local authorities, museums, organisations, trusts, and charitable foundations. I also provide editorial illustrations for various publications, which gives me the interesting opportunity to develop a range of icons on a theme.
In today’s globalised market, modern communication tools and swift digital data transfer enables me to work with clients all around the world. Europe remains my primary market, but I am also seeking to intensify my collaborative partnerships with clients in the Asia/Pacific region and North America.