The Caribbean thirty years ago was a very different place.
A region of the world pre computers and internet was dependent upon those who brought information from more advanced countries, or do-it-yourself books.
Graphic design of any kind was generally the domain of the printer’s pre-press department. You explained what you needed to the manager, how many, by when and were asked to return and proof your request.
Most print shops in the smaller islands depended on one individual to be creative. There seemed little choice. I remember watching in horror as ‘the graphics guy’ cut a line on a piece of film using a ruler with a notch on the straight edge. He exhaled as he reminisced “I’ve been doing this for seventeen years”. I thought there would be no end to this, unless I did something about it.
So saying, I’ve been explaining, challenging, showing and advising, as well as designing, ever since.
And we are much better now, in the graphics and print industries. Training, computing, Adobe, Linotronic, Heidelberg et al took care of that.
Sadly, however, the business world, for all its market speak and ad lingo, financial prowess and results driven environment, still does not fully understand the devastating significance of the simple question “How much for a logo?”
This, believe it or not, is our single most asked question. The large or small ask this with disturbing confidence and regularity, as though we skipped through a hundred years of branding, corporate advertising, product development, graphics, market analysis, marketing and sales and went straight to the cash register!
The answer is actually “how long is a piece of string?” but my mother raised me not to answer a question with a question so below is my alternative.
A logo is a symbol, or unique identifier. It is the visual conclusion which should sum up all of the best values of the entity which it represents, in a preferably simple and memorable way. Unique, value, memorable, simple, represents – all of these words begin to set the tone and character of this logo, abbreviation for ‘logotype’, from the Greek ‘logos’ or ‘word’.
We must clearly summarize the entity to be represented; what do we do? how do we do it? who do we want to do business with? what do we offer? what sums us up? what colours are we? etc.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but these, and a great many other questions are our standard approach to the development of ‘a logo’. It’s going to be your entity’s symbol, brand, signature for the rest of time. It deserves analysis, especially in concert with the client.
Once we have arrived at a definitive statement of values and begin visualizing, we develop variations; how your symbol is recreated in different and often less accommodating ways than the original. The definitive statement in itself may end up as a byline which may become part of the overall identity.
The outcome of this process is a complete identity, with depth, character and substance, able to be your unique symbol and fully represent your enterprise, hopefully for a long time to come. It’s not just a logo and it’s always unique and therefore the cost of such work becomes dependant upon the scale of the work required.
Understanding the value of an identity and its significance to consumer confidence, image and sales has been a slow adoption in the Caribbean. And just when I thought that the pace had picked up, the phone rang yesterday. Guess what, “How much for a logo?”