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It seems like everything looks different over at Google these days. Not only has their logo subtly flattened out, but the way we see a significant number of searches has been greatly altered with the introduction of the Google Carousel. Now, AdWords seems to be following suit as reports have started to come in of a new logo and web UI design.

As Search Engine Land reported, Rick Galan tweeted out a screenshot of the new appearance. The logo is now integrated directly into the navigation bar and the green coloring of the bar has been replaced by Google’s widely used desaturated blue-grey.

The new AdWords logo might by signaling a redesign of all Google product logos towards a more flat design, such as what they have done with their flagship logo. Their old logo is below for comparison.

It could also simply just be a test as Google has not released any public statement or announcement for the logo, so much is unclear, especially how long a roll out might take. No one knows when we will see the change, but don’t be surprised if your AdWords experience looks different in the near future.

Logo design is one of the most deceptively difficult jobs in all of design. It sounds so easy, pick a font, type out the company name, and maybe underline or circle it. There are designers out there who really do think that way. But, if you actually care about delivering a quality product, its much more complicated.

There are endless brands and logos out there today, and the vast majority fall away into the noise. To create a truly successful logo in the modern day, you have to design something simple but brilliant enough to make people instantly take note. In the best logos, the viewers don’t even realize why they are so attracted to the logo.

But, how do you actually create a logo that accomplishes this? It takes some studied knowledge of design and a bit of ingenuity. Joshua Johnson from Design Shack has a few ways you can approach logo design to create something truly remarkable.

1) The Visual Double Entendre

Many of my favorite logos can be interpreted in at least two ways. The visual entendre is exactly this tactic, which wraps two images into the same visual object. There are quite a few examples of this design strategy out there, but the example Johnson uses is too perfect to ignore, the WinePlace logo.WinePlace LogoThe logo is shaped like a thumbtack, seemingly marking a place or location, but if you look for more than a split second you will easily see the object also looks like an upside down wine glass. This sort of visual “trickery” encourages viewers to look a little longer and absorb the image (and brand name) more than the average glance. It is memorable for its creativity, but also because you force people to pay attention for longer.

Another added benefit of the strategy is that by nature your design must be simple to play two objects into the same image. As you’ll see, simplicity is a great rule of logo design.

2) Pay Attention to Color

One of the most basic facts of design is that color is not simply an aesthetic decision. Every color and tint carries a specific set of meanings and ideas, which often seem so embedded in our brains that our reactions are subconscious.

Many brands will have already noted this and might very well require you to stick to a very specific brand palette, but thats not always the case. On the chance that you have freedom to choose the colors of the design, you will want to pay close attention to picking the colors that will not only look good together, but also represent the nature of the brand.

On top of this, you should make sure the logo will also look clear and distinguishable if it must be printed in grayscale. Not every memo and press release will be full color, and you don’t want to lose the impact or recognizability of the logo just because someone xeroxed a company report.

3) Avoid Cliches

Trends are something that are unavoidable, but you might think twice before playing into what is hot at the moment with your logo design. Sure a popular styled logo might gain you some favor in the moment, but your logo is intended to represent your brand for years to come. You want it to be memorable enough that your logo outlives the current trends.

Fake Hipster Logo - Source: Design Shack

The current example is the dramatic overuse of the circular logo, generally styled vaguely like an old college patch or badge. Circles are popular in design and these types of logos are slightly retro, but just modern enough to have become a terribly common site across the web. But, it also means they are all interchangeable. I don’t remember any brand using the style because they all look the same eventually.

4) Custom Type Never Goes Out Of Style

Coca-Cola Logo

Some of the most popular logos throughout time rely on very little to be successful. Just think of Coca-Cola’s logo. All they need is their signature red color and a custom typeface so notable it has become the source of countless rip-offs and parodies.

The best part of using custom type is that it isn’t immediately able to be copied. Designers looking for a quick and easy way to jump on a potentially successful bandwagon are quick to begin using a font. But, if you have your type hand-designed, it takes a lot more effort to mimic. The irregularities that make custom type so special also make it too unique for a simple conversion to a font.

5) Keep It Simple

Apple-Nike Logos

While custom fonts are certainly a simple but effective way to make your mark, some designers don’t specialize in illustration or typography. That doesn’t mean they are out of luck. Many of the most famous logos in the modern day don’t feature any type whatsoever.

These logos take design to an even simpler stage, where all you need are simple shapes that are as iconic as they are refined. Apple began with their trademark bit apple shape, but originally it was striped with color. Gradually, they began to shift the logo to what looked like a brushed metal apple, but these days you won’t find any of those flourishes. All they need to be memorable is the silhouette of the apple, with that special bite taken out.

Conclusion

There are of course many other approaches you can take to making a memorable logo. For example, Johnson also brings up a discussion of symmetry and proportion in logo design that is better fit for a more in-depth analysis. Simply put, great logos don’t leave things to chance. But the truth is, if you want a truly memorable logo, you might start by trying to create something unlike those before.

Google LogoYesterday you may have noticed a couple changes when you opened up Google. The first is the most obvious – it was accompanied by a little help box explaining the change – but Google has officially implemented their new app launcher in the main Google navigation bar for quick and easy access to other Google products.

You’ll be familiar with this app launcher if you use Android devices or Chromebook computers. Search Engine Land also reports that the grid-style launcher has been in testing since February or earlier.

Google App Launcher

The other change is a lot more subtle, but still of note for the design community. Google has flattened their logo, keeping up with the hot trend. Flat design is especially popular at the moment as Apple’s new flat iOS also rolled out earlier this week. The colors in the Google logo are also slightly different, but you won’t be too thrown off by the tweaks.

Many will have already seen the updates, but if you’re Google page still looks the same as it always has, be patient. Google says it should be completely rolled out over the next couple months on most Google products.

What if I told you there was a simple five step process you can use to create great quality logos? Seems to good to be true? It kind of is. There are no shortcuts to great logos, because you always have to put the work in during every step, but if your problems stem from not knowing where to get started rather than simply skimping on the effort, Martin Christie’s five step process may be just what you need.

Every designer might have their own work flow, but if you don’t have one in place you are sacrificing efficiency and most likely quality. Christie’s process starts where every good design should, with a design brief, and walks you through every step all the way up to the presentation. He simplifies it into the image below, but to get the full idea of the process, you should see it in his own words over at Design Instruct.

Five Step Design Process

Apple Logo1One of the most crucial design decisions for a new company is the logo. Great logos are instantly recognizable and evoke the brand image with just one image. When anyone discusses McDonald’s, Apple, Nike, or NBC, it is hard not to imagine the Golden Arches, iconic apple, or swoosh because they are so deeply ingrained in their corporate image.

Creating a logo that perfect is deceptively difficult to do however. The business world is awash with bad logos that no one will ever remember. There is no magic recipe for a great logo, but there are some rules to follow that will help a logo stick out. I’ve given some tips on logos before, but Sarah Clare from Vandelay Design had some suggestions designers should keep in mind.

One of the most common mistakes is just over-doing the logo. Clean lines and simple contrast are striking and easily able to be replicated in any format, neon sign to stationary. Text can be included but only when necessary, and limit it to the brand name. Even if you’ve been in business for 200 years and you’re doing a logo redesign, your icon isn’t the place to tell people that.

It is hard to understate how important it is that your logo is able to be reproduced anywhere. Something may look good on a computer screen, but logos are sometimes printed on endless materials like pens, paper, mugs, and even mints, and stress balls. You want people to be able to recognize the logo whether it is 1″ x 1″ on a memo, or plastered on a billboard.

While a logo has to be simple, it also has to convey the tone and personality of your business. A high tech company with a childish logo may have trouble convincing potential customers of their abilities, especially because everyone in tech hates comic sans. Usually bright colors are reserved for companies more associated with children as well, but Google’s logo shows why that isn’t a hard rule.

As a business owner, you will see your logo more than you actually see your brand name, or at least it will feel like it. If you want your brand to be successful in the marketplace, you need a logo people will instantly be able to identify and connect with. It seems like a small task, but being lazy on the logo can torpedo a new brand.

Think of logos for the biggest businesses right now. Maybe you’re thinking of Facebook, or Twitter, or maybe you went towards technology manufacturers like Intel, Philips, or Dell. You may have even thought of a huge company like GE. Either way, the logos you thought of were most likely blue.

The colors of a logo are always important, as they decide how viewers will respond to your company. Restaurants or people handling food will often use green to convey a healthy image, or red because it supposedly stimulates appetite. While those colors work for that market, blue works for almost any non-food related business.

Helen Bailey from Web Designers Blog wrote one of many articles exploring why blue works so well for branding, but if you really want to explore the use of blue for branding, check out the infographic from Template Monster. The static version is below, but they have an interactive version at their site.