Thursday, July 30, 2009

Now that was cool...

It's been a while since I've been to a real live rock concert... I'm talking one filled with guitar solos, jumping about the stage, fog machines and the whole bit, not just some band where the singer stands in one place while everyone else looks like they might fall asleep while playing their instruments.

Thank you little brother - for buying me a ticket to The Dead Weather show at The Vic the other night... it was awesome - really and truly a real live rock concert (mixed with some blues and dark, ominous inflections). Alison Mosshart (vocals) pranced about the stage in a feline-esque manner while Jack White rocked the drums and had an amazing guitar solo (during Will there be enough water?)... Best show I've seen in a long time - hands down!

The End.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This article is a great refresher for all you designers and business owners... remember - your logo is the first thing people see - don't skimp on the thought process and design!

By Jacob Cass on Logo Design

Principles of Effective Logo Design

So, what makes a good logo? A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic, simple in form and conveys an intended message.

There are five principles that you should follow to ensure that this is so…

An effective logo is:

  • Simple
  • Memorable
  • Timeless
  • Versatile
  • Appropriate

1. Simple

London Underground Logo

A simple logo design allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile & memorable. Good logos feature something unique without being overdrawn.

While in college in the mid-70’s an instructor introduced me to the K.I.S.S. Principle of design; which translates to: Keep It Simple, Stupid. It does convey a very important design consideration. Simple logos are often easily recognized, incredibly memorable and the most effective in conveying the requirements of the client. A refined and distilled identity will also catch the attention of a viewer zipping by signage at 70 miles per hour, on packaging on the crowded shelves of a store, or in any other vehicle used for advertising, marketing and promotion. Remember, the basis of the hugely effective international branding for the world’s largest shoe manufacturer is a very simple graphic swoosh.

~ Jeff Fisher

2. Memorable

Following closely behind the principle of simplicity, is that of memorability. An effective logo design should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple, yet, appropriate logo.

You may be interested to see some examples of bad logo designs.

Surprising to many, the subject matter of a logo is of relatively little importance, and even appropriateness of content does not always play a significant role.

This does not imply that appropriateness is undesirable. It merely indicates that a one-to-one relationship between a symbol and what it symbolized is very often impossible to achieve and, under certain conditions, objectionable. Ultimately, the only mandate in the design of logos, it seems, is that they be distinctive, memorable, and clear.

~ Paul Rand

3. Timeless


An effective logo should be timeless - that is, it will stand the test of time. Will the logo still be effective in 10, 20, 50 years?

Leave trends to the fashion industry - Trends come and go, and when you’re talking about changing a pair of jeans, or buying a new dress, that’s fine, but where your brand identity is concerned, longevity is key. Don’t follow the pack. Stand out.

~ David Airey

Probably the best example of a timeless logo is the Coca-Cola logo… if you compare it to the Pepsi logo below, you can see just how effective creating a timeless logo can be. Notice how the Coca Cola logo has not changed since 1885? That is timeless design.

Timeless Logo Design

4. Versatile

An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. The logo should be able to work both in horizontal and vertical formats.

Ask yourself; is a logo still effective if:

  • Printed in one colour?
  • Printed on the something the size of a postage stamp?
  • Printed on something as large as a billboard?
  • Printed in reverse (ie. light logo on dark background)

One way around creating a versatile logo is to begin designing in black and white only. This allows one to focus on the concept and shape, rather than the subjective nature of colour. One must also remember printing costs - the more colors used, the more expensive it will be for the business over the long term.

I like to work first in black and white to ensure that the logo will look good in its simplest form.Color is very subjective and emotional. This can distract from the overall design - say if you saw your logo in all red, that color may be the first thing that you respond to and not the composition of the design elements. I will not even consider submitting color suggestions to a client for review until they have signed off on a final black and white logo.

~ Patrick Winfield

One should also familiarise themself with the commercial printing process so as not to come into printing problems further down the track. Learn to know the difference between the CMYK, Pantone and RGB color systems. When designing logos, the Pantone colour system is recommended.

5. Appropriate

How you position the logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose. For example, if you are designing a logo for children’s toys store, it would be appropriate to use a childish font & colour scheme. This would not be so appropriate for a law firm.

It is also important to state that that a logo doesn’t need to show what a business sells or offers as a service. ie. Car logos don’t need to show cars, computer logos don’t need to show computers. The Harley Davidson logo isn’t a motorcycle, nor is the Nokia logo a mobile phone. A logo is purely for identification.

For further evidence of this, take the top 50 brands of the world - 94% of the logos do not describe what the company does.

Paul Rand also has a say on this topic:

Should a logo be self-explanatory? It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. A logo derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned.

~ Paul Rand

Thursday, July 23, 2009

1154 lill studio

A friend told me to check out this store when I moved to Chicago (904 W. Armitage). This is such a neat concept - and pretty reasonably priced for a custom bag/purse... Don't fret if you're not in the Chicago area, their interactive online store is pretty neat too...

1154 lill studio's website:
1154 lill studio's blog:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Good-bye New York... Hello Chicago!

New York City; view from the Brooklyn Bridge

Most of you know that Steve and I recently moved to Chicago from New York City. The transition for such a big move has actually been a surprisingly easy one, scratch that - I should say easier, at least compared to our move from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to New York City.

Downtown Chicago

Moving to a new city can be considered an exciting adventure, but it can also be unsettling and a little scary at times. Sometimes you have no clue where to start - from where to go to pick up groceries to finding a place to get a haircut... and somehow all of the furniture you had in your previous apartment just doesn't seem to fit in your new place as well!?

Luckily, this move has given us a lot to be thankful for - Steve has finally finished his training and is (finally) an attending physician (woohoo!!! - I have to brag about you a little - it's been quite a long journey and a lot of hard work)... and we are both closer to family (the Wisconsinites and the Californians). We've also had a really warm reception from the few people we knew when we moved here, friends of friends and our neighbors - yes, I actually know my neighbors here!!!

So far, so good - our life here is slowly (but surely) coming into focus...

our street; me on the front steps of our apartment; the back yard

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who is this Lily Red character?

Who is this Lily Red character? I am—Suzy Rohan to be exact—just in case you were wondering whom "I" was referring to. Lily Red is actually a pseudonym for the name of my design business, Lily Red Design. My first name, Suzanne, (my mom thought I needed a grown-up sounding name for when I reached adulthood…guess I'm not there yet since I still go by Suzy) actually means lily and Rohan (my last) is Gaelic for red...and there you have it—Lily Red is born!

I plan on posting many interesting tidbits and using this platform to share any/everything that I think you might find interesting...from discovering my new hometown (Chicago) to cool design related things, some wild, crazy, zany explorations and deep, meaningful thoughts (listen, it's not all fun and games…or is it? But only until someone gets an eye poked out? I forget).

For now, I ask that you check out the list of Favs I have posted on the sidebar and I leave you with a quote to ponder from Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you want."