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I've only made a handful of logos in my life, so I'm interested in feedback. Here are the ones that I've come up with so far: http://www.solarcoordinates.com/SHomeTour/logo.html

As for the final design, I'm assuming that you're pretty much all going to say to ditch Photoshop and go with Illustrator. If so, how hard is Illustrator to use for someone that only knows Photoshop? Would the glow on the Sun on the bottom logos be a problem for Illustrator, or is it still superior even for a logo like that?

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2 Answers 2

It's important not to think of logo design in isolation. A logo is an important part of building a corporate identity, but it is only a part, and you can find yourself in deep trouble trying to integrate it properly with all of the other collateral that will add up to a brand or campaign look and feel. Your color choice(s), typeface, proportions, period (modern, retro, antique) and target market determine the whole look and message. If your logo integrates with the message and is simple enough to be memorable, you have a winner.

There are practical considerations with a logo, the first one being whether it is a strong graphic in itself. That's why logo design usually starts in monochrome. When you leave out the color, you can concentrate on creating the right shape for your purpose. Only when you are satisfied with the basic graphic should you consider colors. The two classic examples are the Apple logo and the Nike swoosh, but there are plenty of others.

Proportions matter. A wide, low design or a tall skinny one will be difficult to integrate into a business card or letterhead. Some between 1:1 and 2:3 is a good, practical range for a logo.

The next vital consideration is how it will reproduce. A logo has to work when it's tiny (business card) and when it's huge (billboard). It has to look good on a fax (monochrome) and when reversed out of a dark background. On stationery and signage you very often need to be able to print with at most two colors plus black, in solid inks, so keeping a tight rein on colors is important. Gradients are seldom, if ever, a good idea. Ditto glows, drop shadows and other Photoshop effects. They can be added in special situations, but for a basic logo they are best avoided.

Your slant-roof building idea is simple and strong. It will scale well, and it's simple enough to become an easily-recognized symbol. People may or may not "get it" immediately, but it will groove in quickly. It has another advantage for a start-up business: because it uses only one color plus white, vehicle and storefront/office signage will be considerably less expensive than something with multiple color or (especially) gradient glows.

The skyline, given the local nature of the business, could also work if you make the sun a simple arc and not a glow (consider reversing the whole thing out of a background solid color). It's a little busy, but I assume would be instantly recognizable to your target market -- a plus. Its proportions could be problematic, because it's wide, but if you were to crop it to just the center 2/3 or so, it could work.

Green has an obvious connotation, and makes sense for your market, but I would strongly recommend picking a green from the Pantone Solid range. Using a Pantone color gives you predictability and control for reproduction. Your letterhead, your van signage and any marketing collateral can all have exactly the same color, which adds to the recognition factor.

As for Photoshop vs. Illustrator, the main point is that you have vector art rather than a rasterized image, so you can scale the logo to any size you need without sacrificing quality. It is simpler to make a Pantone logo in Illustrator than in Photoshop, but either program can create vector artwork. From Photoshop, you would want to output as EPS.

Finally, don't neglect your public. Make two or three versions of the logo, go to your local mall and ask homeowners (if that's your target public) for their "instant impression" when they see the logo for a couple of seconds. If the responses are way off the mark ("Ice cream parlor", "car wash") then you'll need to reconsider. But probably you'll find one that seems to communicate better than the others, and that will be your final pick.

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I recently read "Logo Design Love" and figured out that it is pretty essential not to overload your logo that's why I would prefer the first logos because they are simple and have something to remember. Taking green as your primary color seems like the right way to go. Green is associated with nature and solar meets nature somehow in our current time period.

Edit: Illustrator and Photoshop are strong applications for graphic design! I highly recommend you building your logo in Illustrator to get a vector version that can be scaled to any dimension. Otherwise you may have created a 512x512px@72dpi logo that should be printed at 1024x1024px@300dpi. Big troubles ahead!

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