This seems to have been the week for logos. I started off in Gdansk teaching an IP workshop for bioscience students. One of the sessions involved creating logos and starting to think of the brand look for hypothetical companies. This is always a popular exercise and we had some very good ideas this time however there was still a tendency to overcomplicate some of the designs which would make them difficult to reproduce in different formats. Colour was another area that the students had not really thought through – what sort of feelings do different colours evoke and if colour values are too similar a photocopy can simply end up as a big blob with the distinctiveness of the design lost.
Later in the week I ran into a friend at a networking event who was keen to show me his new business card and we discussed how well his design was put together. His choice of blue and white looked professional and was easy to read. The simple logo was distinctive, uncluttered and could easily be reproduced in different sizes, in black and white or even separated from the name as a bullet point symbol in written material. The spacing on the card again assisted readability while the slightly offset layout of the different elements lead the eye around in a pleasing curve which together with the curves in the logo softened what could otherwise have been a quite clinical look. He runs a coaching company and the overall look was very much in line with the sort of image likely to appeal to his professional customers who are likely to be repelled by a flashy or gimmicky approach.
The week concluded with a number of enquiries about the protection of logos and straplines. While of course they are copyright if funds permit a more secure protection is usually obtained by registering them as trademarks. Trademarking will prevent any similar business from using any similar mark in the country where you have registered the trademark and trademark infringement is usually quickly and easily resolved. Once you have registered your trademark you can maintain it for as long as you want my renewing it every 10 years. Far more important than registration however is coming up with a good mark in the first place which is distinctive, appeals to your key markets and works across all formats.