It’s not about a pretty logo. It’s all about being unique among your competition and conveying your message. For those of us who follow design trends, we’ve noticed a few within the photography community. Individually, many of the logos are beautiful, artful even, but thrown into a pile with other photographers, those pretty designs start to run together. They become forgetful.
Is your potential client going to remember to call you if you blend in with the other photographers?
Ugh! That’s so depressing to imagine your lovely logo not doing any work for you.
There’s A Term For Brands That Get Destroyed By Their Own Success:
Kleenex and Bandaid are perhaps the greatest examples of ‘genericide’. Thanks to its own popularity, the name Kleenex became a noun rather than an adjective. “Hand me a Kleenex” had become the same as saying “Hand me a tissue”. The name Kleenex had become the generic term for facial tissues.
Bandaid faced the same problem and in the 1990s. They were forced to alter their marketing messaging using a campaign adding “Bandaid brand” to their message content. They needed to remind people that Bandaid was a BRAND and THE adhesive bandaid you wanted, not just any old adhesive bandage.
I contend we do the same to our industry and each other, when we follow one particular trend.
The Problem With Trends In Design
Adopting a trend early-on or starting one is great. However, the minute it becomes something everyone starts doing is the minute to buck that trend!
Let me discuss a few of the trends that are contributing to genericide for the photography industry. Creative Bloq predicted that calligraphy and hand lettering would “blossom in 2016.” They underestimated and were a bit late to the game with that prediction. The explosion occurred by mid-year of 2015. By 2016, it dominated and continues to dominate photography industry logos from the brand new to the redesigned.
Like other font classifications, there are some really well-made and some poorly executed ones. The well-made fonts used in logo design combine whimsy, personalization, and elegance in one. Those three words sound pretty ideal together, which is no wonder wedding and newborn photographers have pounced on this trend. These hand-drawn logo types allow for actual signatures or signature-like marks.
How much more personal can you get than your own signature!
There are a few problems:
* If everyone is doing it, how can your signature standout among 1,000 other signatures?
* Most hand lettered logo types are written in the same style for the first and the last name.
* Cursive writing and the ability to read it is decreasing. Be smart about the style of cursive used.
* Free fonts are free. If they are free, anyone and everyone can and will access and use them.
Hand lettering is not the only trend (watercolor is another), but it is the one that’s killing photography brands the most right now. You love your hand lettered logo. I get it. We all love what we create ourselves, which is why I get my clients involved with the logo development as early on and as much as they can tolerate. The more ownership they have, the more they’ll love it. But, something’s gotta give here.
Let’s talk about how one logo in particular has embraced a trend in a unique way:
1. “Nicole” is a hand lettered script—her actual signature in this case. Six or more letters in a word can make it hard to read quickly and harder to read from a distance. She allowed “room to breathe” for each letter, making her name easier to read by using good spacing between the letter forms (kerning) with a healthy weight of the letter strokes.
2. “York” is classic. The font used for “York” is from the 18th and 19th centuries, and formally classified by typography nerds as both Neoclassical and Romantic, though leaning to Romantic due to the more dramatic flourish of the “R”. This is a perfect complement to Nicole’s hand lettered first name and is also very romantic.
3. The key is the contrast! The letters for “York” are all capitalized. This creates a nice contrast between the two names, especially when combined with a font that is by comparison, more structured. With her short last name, using all caps works quite well. (Longer names in all caps have to be can become difficult to read.) The right font for the number of letters in each name/word and the right contrast between fonts is key.
4. Nicole knows her audience. This logo is ideal for editorial audiences and fashion. The typeface used for “York” is a traditional font for both print headlines and fashion designers. The hand lettered script is common among fashion designers. She has blended classical trends of the two audiences she targets for her work.
5. The tagline is written in a sans serif with all caps. These words are longer. She was smart to add whitespace between them. It makes them easier to read instead of risking them blending, though I might suggest is a bit wider kerning in these letters.
6. Black. She’s stayed with the little black dress of logos. It’s luxury. It’s classic.
That’s an intelligent logo!
It’s working for her and you’ll never confuse her with “Cuddly Baby Photography” or “Meant-to-Be Wedding Photography”. I chose to use her logo as the example because of its beauty and precision in communicating the brand.
A Few Tips When Designing YOUR Logo:
* Find a unique font to purchase, or work with a designer to create your own. Free fonts aren’t unique.
* Pay attention to contrast. You want some variation among the fonts and colors.
* Break up the words/names. Make them small bites rather than big gulps.
* Make sure it can be easily read from a distance and in a super small physical size.
Not everyone can be a great designer. If you’re not capable of the custom work yourself, save time and money by hiring a professional. Yes. I did say “save” money by hiring a designer!
It serves you two fold. One, you can spend your time working on what you know will make money. Two, your logo done well will work for you far more quickly than a poorly designed logo. Bad logo files also create the need for reprints and corrections with your printing service provider. They charge you more when they have to “fix stuff.”
What Does Your Logo Say About You?
Are you unique? Has your brand suffered from genericide?