July 2018 ยท 2 minute read

As a writer, I have a tendency to become involved in the graphic design process just peripherally, but I still manage to learn useful lessons from it. Among the most instructive design lessons came from someone who knew absolutely nothing about typography and colour theory.
I’m fascinated with the process of logo design - not the amateurish attempt of slapping clip art collectively, but also the thinking and implementation a specialist brings to capturing the vision of a business at a delightfully straightforward art component. I have observed the process many times and noticed designers get many fascinating requests from their clients.
The most memorable came in the director of a company that made tow trucks. Then Professional Logos talked.
“I really don’t give a (bleep) what the (bleeping) emblem looks like,” he explained. “All I care is that somebody going the other way about the (bleeping) Interstate at 70 mph is able to see the (bleeping) thing and understand it is my (bleeping) truck.”
Folksy? Perhaps. Crude? Definitely. But noise? Absolutely. He knew it was critical that additional tow-truck operators knew that they made that good-looking truck. It is an industry where appearance is every bit as important as function, and his opponents would include any touch that might give them an edge. Fashion models would have been overlooked one of the chrome.)
It is all too easy for those folks who operate in the services industry to lose sight of this fact that our work exists primarily to create business for our clients. All things considered, we take great pride in combining our abilities and what we’ve learned to come up with work that makes us joyful and impresses our coworkers. Most advertising and graphic design award reveals promote that focus by rewarding fashion, instead of substance.
We sometimes forget that logos, headlines, and other components of marketing communications have to be seen to work. It is great if we could accomplish that and also make them visually attractive at the exact same time. However, the most intrinsically beautiful design will fall flat if folks can’t tell exactly what it is or who it’s supposed to identify, and the most award-winning ad concept is going to be a humiliating failure if it fails to drive earnings or meet the client’s other expectations.
The best clients for whom I’ve worked have given me a lot of freedom and trusted my recommendations were sensible and sound. But with this freedom and trust arrived an understanding that I would be held accountable for results, too.