Smashing Logo Design: The Art of Creating Visual Identities by Gareth Hardy is another book I got through Amazon’s Vine programme. Here is what I wrote about it:
I am not a designer. I have dabbled with knocking up logos for personal projects, but I know I will never do it as a business. As such, this book is probably not really aimed at me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.
Don’t read this expecting to be told how to come up with ideas though. Although the author describes a bit about how and where he personally finds inspiration that is not the sort of thing that can be taught: you either have some sort of creative spark or you dont. What this book does do is encourage that creative spark and provide practical information on how to apply it. There is no point being able to create beautiful and effective logos if you can’t persuade anybody to employ you to do that.
The sort of practicalities covered are what types of software to use (and why), what types of file format to use to provide the finished article, how to behave with clients, how to make sure you get paid, and so on. That makes it sound a bit boring, but this sound practical advice is in bite-sized chunks and interspersed with practical advice on techniques to use in the actual design like using vectors, aspects of typefaces or choices of colour schemes.
In the course of the book you are told the basics of writing a design brief and contract, how to avoid getting ripped off and what to include in your deliverables, including a section on writing guidelines for the use of the finished logo. Throughout the book the emphasis is on professionalism. It looks like a really good starting point for anybody starting off as a freelance designer.
You can tell while reading this that every paragraph has come from experience and is not just theory. I’m sure that every chapter could be expanded into an entire book in itself and the author recognises this, providing references to books or online resources that would expand on any topic you felt you wanted to explore more. Possibly the most important thing the book does is to make you aware that those topics are important enough that you would feel the need to learn more about some very specific things.
Of course there are lots of pretty pictures, and examples of designs not just from the author but from other companies and designers. As you would expect and hope from a book about design it is well laid out and attractive to look at in itself, but the content is also well-organised providing a logical structured approach to the process of design. Ironically the badly-designed bits (very useful examples of what not to do) are some of most interesting.
I’m sure this will be invaluable to sombebody in this field, but even for an outside it is fascinating and should be required reading for people who commission designers’ work!