Logos for Writers

Logos permeate our daily experience and saturate the visual media.
They are known to be the visual synthesis of company’s image and philosophy.

When writers search for a graphic icon that can represent their work, same rule for sophistication and clarity should apply. However, while thinking up the concept of a logo is often easy, executing it properly is an entirely different thing.

In professional terms, logos can be typographical (made up of fonts) or iconic (a stylized graphic).

Even though good logos are easy to spot but hard to make, here are a few competitive points that contribute to a good logo:

• Concept – logo should have one unifying idea or message that is memorable

• Clarity – a logo should convey that message quickly and clearly

• Purpose – a logo should convey that message quickly and clearly to the right niche
• Function – a logo should be applicable across all medias (print & web) in color and black-and-white and it should be visible when it’s reduced to a smaller size.

In terms of graphic execution, there are a lot of subtle elements that a graphic designer employs as part of the underlying grammar of a strong logo. Some of them are:
• Effective placement and treatment of space
• Visual flow
• Visual contrast
• Visual hierarchy
• Color and value accent

Attention grabbing logos are often made up of unexpected combinations between literal objects and metaphors.

Here is an exercise that will help you to come up with intriguing visuals on your own.

1/ On a large sheet of paper, make as many columns as there are words in the name of your company. A column for each word.  Fill these columns with nouns, verbs, adjectives and phrases related to each word.

2/ On a separate sheet of paper draw two columns.
In the first column write down the message you want your logo to convey.

Under the second column you will write down objects and items that portray
that message.

Continue filling these two columns with different messages and words (even colors, shapes, feelings) that describe the messages.

After you’ve established a strong set of words for each column for both sheets, it’s time to look for connections within and between them that spark your imagination.

Perhaps you’ll find a combination between two different nouns that add up to an intriguing visual, or maybe an adjective from one column will lead to an eye-catching image when applied to an object from another.

Remember: you are looking for out-of-the-ordinary solutions. Make abundant notes and thumbnail sketches of potential solutions if you need to.

If you find out that there are major discrepancies between your company name and the message you want to convey perhaps you need to rethink that name.

Keep your notes from this exercise and share them with the graphic designer who will be working on your visuals. I would like to stress the point of working with a professional on your logo.

Designers are trained to simplify rather complex ideas graphically and logo art is more about editing and sacrifice than attempting to communicate everything to all people.

I wish you good luck and happy logo brainstorms!

Fani Nicheva is a graphic designer and author who works and lives in Santa Cruz, CA. She has written one design book "Type Talks" and is presently working on her first novel, "Mental Immigrant". You can view her work and writings at:



Karen Cioffi said...

Fani, great post. I'm actually in the process of creating two logos: one for A Writer's World and one for my business.

Thanks for the information!

Fani Nicheva said...

Yes, anytime.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks for the ideas, Fani. Interesting approach to the task.

Magdalena Ball said...

Good brainstorming ideas, Fani. You're so right about the importance of logos and the need to make sure they support the message you want to convey.

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