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What is the difference between a Great Logo and a Winning Logo?


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#1 HerbertNordal

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:45 PM

Recently I looked through the portfolios of the top 10 designers on this site. All have skills and talent. Looking through the files, I notices that many great logos were not rated and that many logos that might only be characterized as just "good" won contests.

What is going on here?

The decision making process of the Contest Holder remains hidden. (as always)

The new rules allowing full representational presentation of logos will mean that designers will need to put in more hours setting up Pinterest type entries to win.

Will the quality of the presentation overwhelm the quality of the logos?

What do you think?

What happens when people in skinny jeans work for people in khaki slacks?

#2 kirstiemel

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 04:00 PM

Well a great logo seems to be really subjective. Not a lot of the people hiring graphic designers really know quality and what to look for in a logo, it's easier for someone with a graphic design background to be able to appreciate other designers work in contests. Either that or the designer is creating what they consider to be a great looking logo but not really nailing the brief, it happens.

I've been baffled by some choices on here as well. I've seen people submit cheap clip art with tacky lettering and it getting a super high rating (before it's removed by admin of course), then someone else submits a super clean and amazing design and it gets a rating of 30.

It all depends on the CH.

#3 HappyGD

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 07:18 PM

Well a great logo seems to be really subjective. Not a lot of the people hiring graphic designers really know quality and what to look for in a logo, it's easier for someone with a graphic design background to be able to appreciate other designers work in contests. Either that or the designer is creating what they consider to be a great looking logo but not really nailing the brief, it happens.

I've been baffled by some choices on here as well. I've seen people submit cheap clip art with tacky lettering and it getting a super high rating (before it's removed by admin of course), then someone else submits a super clean and amazing design and it gets a rating of 30.

It all depends on the CH.

I find that part to be very true here on DC. Many CH's will go with personal tastes over more appropriate branding. At least with clients outside of this website, there's more of a trust in what designers bring to the table. But at the same time, unlike contests, there's more time and money involved, so it goes hand-in-hand

#4 indio

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 06:31 AM

Good logo (aka great) need not only good designer but good client as well. As winning logo not always great logo because half of the client are business people who are tone (art) deft. That is what I read in one logo design book. So even freelancer out there who get their project not from contest have exactly same problem as we do here.

#5 HerbertNordal

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:04 PM

Recently I have participated several contests where the best designs did not win. Individually, the best designs were done by lizonel, kwik and eximius. These skilled and experienced designers posted the finest work in each contest, and yet did not win.

The skill of mind reading has often been part of the design process. At one time, you could see the color of the client's necktie, the make, model and color of his/her car, and other tangible clues to the taste of the art buyer. All too often we now have an invisible client with a hidden decision process. Many CHs just eliminate entries without comment. They provide no art direction other than examination of eliminations.

It is not surprising to find that the winning design is opposite of what is specified in the brief!

What do you make of this? What improvement is possible? thanks...

#6 GJR

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:31 PM

Interesting thread again Herbert!

I think can summarise this problem for you:

1) For designers - a great logo might be a unique, creative logo that looks fantastic and communicates the target business well.

2) For CH - a great logo is one that they feel communicates their company best and looks nice.

The 2 are at odds.

------

An experienced designer knows what is overused, well implemented, will reproduce well on various media... but knows nearly nothing about the CH's business.

The CH knows everything about their business but in general, when it comes to design they only know what they think looks nice and THINK represents their business well.

Due to weak briefs and lack of iteration (on crowd-sourcing websites)- we cannot judge what is a great logo for the business - we simply don't know enough about them specifically. The CH can't judge what is a great logo for their business either because they are missing out on the knowledge of the designer, although they are much better placed to make the distinction.

I believe that truly great logos will only ever happen by coincidence on crowd-sourcing websites and I honestly believe that if a truly great logo did win we wouldn't necessarily recognise it.

Take the mcdonalds "m" for example, we are blinded by what went before, but pretend mcdonalds doesn't exist yet - it's a small independent and has come here for a logo. If the "golden arches" won I'm sure there would be designs we like more. Yes - it's nice - but surely someone could do better?

read this: Logos that became legends: Icons from the world of advertising - Media - News - The Independent
I think it illustrates my point but at least here there was an iterative process.

Edited by GJR, 10 January 2014 - 02:05 PM.


#7 HappyGD

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 05:27 PM

Not to get too off topic, but I mentioned this in another thread some time ago, that it would be nice if DC could enhance the contest-creation process on the contest holder’s side. As you said, GJR, insufficient information and incomplete briefs play a substantial role in this issue, among other things.

It’s as if CHs know everything about the company, but they sometimes forget designers know nothing about it. Months ago I proposed that DC could help guide the CH a little more when they write up their briefs. Something like asking simple questions and using checkboxes/drop-down menus to generate automated responses to include in the brief. That way at least the basic/necessary info is there to use, and then we can avoid having designers create designs based on only a few vague sentences.

To also point out, unlike the clients I work with outside of DC, here I feel I need to be more of a “yes-man” and do exactly what the CH wants versus what I feel is right for the CH. And this is done out of fear of losing out to other designers who will do whatever is asked of them. All things considered, this is just the nature of crowdsourcing.

#8 GJR

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 07:00 PM

I also wanted to go back to this point - which complements your comment about being a yes-man HappyGD:

many great logos were not rated and that many logos that might only be characterized as just "good" won contests.


I confess that I am a yes-man however sometimes I do designs because I am inspired and enjoying myself - in those times the designs other designers may consider to be "great" are made. In reality they are not good at all because they are more to do with myself and my preconceptions than the needs of the CH. They also don't win very often!

I have spoken to some of the top designers about this and they all seem to agree they like many of their non(or lesser) medal winners better than their golds. Sometimes this is because they have just done what the CH asked for, sometimes it's as I mentioned above, but most often it is because a winning design goes through the wringer.

When it gets to the end of the contest and you are leading inevitably the CH wants some revisions, can we use these poor contrasting colours, can we add this (which wont work well at small sizes). Can we use 500 colours and gradients rather than the boring 2 colours you have chosen........ If we don't do it then someone else will. We have to all be yes men sometimes to win! so these suggestions work their evil magic on our winning designs.

Just to be clear I have included myself in this point because i am the one making it not because I consider myself a top designer (I don't).

Edited by GJR, 10 January 2014 - 07:09 PM.


#9 HerbertNordal

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 09:54 PM

As for me, none of my wins are art. They are all production.

#10 lizonil

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 02:10 PM

Great thread. I have been through an emotional journey since joining DC. It used to really bother me when a CH chose a typical, to me 'boring' logo... especially Realestate logos... I don't even enter those contests any more... all those roofs! But it doesn't bother me now, if they like my style... they like it, and if they don't... they don't! I have compromised in the past, and a very nice logo has ended up looking like Frankinsteins Monster... and then it ended up at the front of my portfolio. Yuk! What I like to do is read the brief without looking at the entries, I read the brief intently trying to get as much information as possible, I try to look up the company on line, maybe the CH has a linkedin page etc. I try to gather as much info as possible. Then I design something for them and for me. Something I would like to represent my company if I were that CH. Sometimes I take no notice of the colours they suggest. Colours are very important to me and I will not enter contests if they are strict on colours I don't like, it is pointless as I cannot get passionate about the logo. Once I have designed it, I then check through the other entries to make sure my idea has not already been submitted. At this stage my logo may look completely different from all the others... and then I second guess myself, but still enter it. It is usually eliminated straight away or given good rankings. Of course, after the latter happens... suddenly the other entries look similar, although not copies... if you know what I mean. If it is eliminated I usually just think, OK this guy has different tastes to me... go to another contest. Sometimes I persevere, but usually to no end and it's a waste of my time. Feedback is very important, and I suggest talking respectfully to the CH and try to get more information out of them. Not just for yourself but your fellow designers too.

I have tremendous respect for you Herbert, I class you as one of the top designers, and I am honoured to be in the company of such super designers from all over the world. We can all learn so much from each other.

: )

#11 HerbertNordal

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 07:22 PM

I guess the frustrations of dealing with bad briefs, poor direction, existential decision making, abandon contests, snarky competitors, fake contests, etc. are just part of the business. These problems make for a poor business model for the designer. All jobs are spec. The pay is minimal when calculated on an hourly basis. The business is a service, and suffers as such from the designers viewpoint.

The hard answer is "JUST DEAL WITH IT!"

So endith my rant.

lizonil, you work speaks for itself. You truly are one of the top designers. I especially admire your communication skills. You cheerfully and gently coax guidance and participation from the CH. This is a valuable skill by itself. You are also generous and helpful in dealing with other designers, as the your post proves. These personal qualities are very difficult to maintain given the frustrations mentioned above. I admire you and your work. :)

#12 aandrei_24

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 07:33 PM

I have read what you all said. The true and crude reality is that if you chose to do art, you'll end up like van Gogh: a poor mentally ill artist. if you do production/service to serve the CH, then you can pay your bills. So, most often, you have to compromise and find a middle path between these. I am myself unpleased by most of my wins, an like few eliminated designs better. I hate when others copy my ideas, i am sad when the CH tends to go for cliche designs rather that brilliant (not mine) designs. But that is life, it can't always be like yu want.
I am a computer hardware engineer by education, but i make a living by designing as a freelancer here and on some other online places, and my daily job is to teach and write reviews about technology, gadgets and stuff. My dream was to became and architect, but at the time i was supposed to go to university, in my country there were only 25 places available and i wasn't that good. So i do other stuff and i like it!

#13 lizonil

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 08:15 PM

Thanks again Herbert for your kind words, a kindred spirit indeed. Andrei it is never too late to follow a dream... this is a mad old world... I am so much older than you and my life has taken me in so many directions. You have so much time, a great attitude and entreprenuerial spirit... I think you will go far my friend. As for mad old Van Gogh... I think I am turning into him haha. You know I make most of my money on here through one on ones, CH's that come to me after I have entered a contest and got the silver... my last 5 one on ones are from contests where I got silver! I have never been approached for a one on one out of the blue.
Herbert you should check out the thread started by Gary GJRdesign called Whats up with this... if you haven't already. It makes for very amusing reading, and I would love to see you over there!
: )

#14 aandrei_24

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 09:40 PM

Liz, I am an optimistic, hardworking young (enough) guy. I love life, i live it! I am happy i do what i do, i have a great family and friends (not so many but whom you can count on). That was a dream of a young i am over that, but, hey, as you say, you never know where life gets you. The truth is that regardless of what you do, living in Romania is a challenge.
I am designing no to my liking but to win contests. Even I have a GOOD job in a rather small provincial town, my monthly sallary is two - three contests won here. So i make most of my money online too (most of them in another place). My wife is a teacher (English, as a matter of fact) and her montly wage is about the same. She translates a lot (cartoons, books, online freelancing as well), and yes, she does more online too.
The sad fact is that the average sallary i my city is around 150 pounds/month. Average! There is lower (most of them...).
The food costs par as in the UK (i've beed to tesco in UK, i know what i am talking). I have to pay at the bank for the house, i have to pay for heat, electriciy, water, cable, internet, phone, diesel fuel, we have to eat, dress and clean ourselves and the house... etc.
So, you get the picture why i want to make art but i cannot.
And that is why 5 (yes, five) of my class mates from high school (a class of 30), who are doctors, are working and being prized for their knowledge and abilities in UK!
You have a lot of one-on-ones because you are a great designer, one i look up to, along with Gary, Seegor, Operhal, Eximius and a couple more... You are also in top 5. I am a mediocre designer, with some good days. I've had two one-on-ones, one wasnt finalised.
I am offtopic here. I want to end saying that i wanted to emigrate, legally or not, at one point. Cannot, because we have old, sick parents, who cannot afford their medicines, and i also have to raise a 3 y.o. kid. We might leave somewhere one day, or at least i want to guide my son so he escapes from here. And what is happening here, is happening, more or less in other east european balcanic countries, i can bet... Ask seegor and operhal, they are from ex-yugoslavia... we can chat more on Gary's thread, so i do not upset Herbert ...

Edited by aandrei_24, 20 January 2014 - 09:54 PM.


#15 HerbertNordal

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 10:18 PM

I really like the way this thread is developing. We have evolved from chatting to serious discussion.

Clearly, life puts our little "design" problems in perspective. I live outside of Chicago Illinois. There are many eastern European immigrants in this area. Most are happy to see that hard work (and maybe some good luck) actually pays off for skilled dedicated people here. The economy here is no longer terrible, though it is not yet good.

Yes, every little bit helps when you are struggling to make ends meet.

I am probably older than lizonil and aandrei_24 put together. I have a lot of grey hair, and earned every one of them.

This thread may, or may not, be productive. It has established that some top designers are good people, well worth working with, and an honor to know.

Thanks

#16 aandrei_24

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:41 PM

Herbert, it is always a pleasure to talk to good people, that is why i replied on your thread. I just do not want to go into politics or make this thread a sad one. Life is about joy and hapiness, and trying to avoid negaitive situations (unfortunately you cannot do that all the time)...
Andrei

#17 lizonil

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 01:14 PM

You have a great work ethic Andrei, and your wife too... your little one will grow up with parents he can be proud of, and hopefully a better Romania in the future! We have a lot of Romanians in the UK, hardworking people... and a lot of English who live on benefits and won't get up to work! If you ever get over here again you better look us up... I am sure Gary would like to meet you too. You can fix my computer... lol!! Just kidding!! haha. Herbert you have further to come, but that goes for you too... if you ever find yourself in the UK and need a tour guide!! : )

#18 aandrei_24

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:04 PM

Thanks for your words, Liz. We were both educated to value work more than money. unfortunately the young generation here values nothing. I was in London two years ago with a friend, we stayed at a hotel (Troy if i remember) near Queenway Tube station and close to the Kensington Gardens. It was short, 4 days, visited the city, the museums, and even went to an Eric Clapton concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Since we were short on cash we brought canned food and sausages from home, i've eaten the best british breakfast ever one morning (i did not need any more food for 36 hrs) and a crap fish'and'chips full of oil. Then we spent three days in Birmingham, from where we went to Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle. It was great, it was my first contact with UK, i was amazed by the civilisation and calm people.
If i ever go again you bet i want to invite you to have a beer. Gary is from London too?
If you ever think of coming to Romania, let me know.

#19 GJR

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:59 AM

Andrei - I live about an hours drive from Stratford and about 45 mins from birmingham, in the midlands. Far enough away that I don't have a Birmingham accent!

I actually live in a place called burton-on-trent which up until recently was considered the brewing capital of the world!

#20 lizonil

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 12:50 PM

Gary... I used to work for the Spirit Pub Group in Burton on Trent, near the railway bridge... they have been bought out now by Coors or someone, not sure, I know it well... a long commute for me every day : )




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