I am a strong believer in good, solid branding which is why I was a little shocked when I opened the newspaper recently to discover a local group calling for submissions for a new logo in the form of a competition.
Growing up I was a huge fan of colouring-in competitions and when I got a bit older I loved to enter my creations into art competitions. It was a great way of expressing my creativity, getting some recognition and a chance at winning a prize. But most importantly it was art.
Creating a logo is an entirely different process. It’s one that requires skill, a knowledge of the target market and the technical ability to create something that works in all of the necessary formats for reproduction. It’s definitely not a pretty picture drawn by a 12 year old aspiring artist.
To make matters worse, the only requirements for submissions was that they use the club colours – very descriptively listed as ‘blue’ and ‘yellow’. Firstly, there are thousands of shades of both these colours and secondly for any printer or signwriter to use these colours they are going to need a Pantone number or the CMYK breakdown. Without knowing these the brand would quickly become a mismatch of different people’s interpretation of what it should be. I could also think of a number of other ‘requirements’ that should have been listed too, such as the type of applications the logo would need to work on, whether or not it needed to be vector and most importantly how it would be supported in different applications.
As we have all harped on about in the past, your public projection of your image is about so much more than just having a logo. The corporate style is fundamental in creating a solid image in the public eye. Things such as support colours, typefaces, additional design elements, placement on items etc. are all what add up to create a brand. All things that your average punter with the time to enter a logo competition probably has no knowledge of. Chances are the logo that comes out of this competition is going to be average at best.
Now I understand that local clubs are generally not for profit and likely have very few funds to spend on marketing and design so they may have felt this was their only option. One option they could have used instead is to have approached a local designer and asked them to design a logo and corporate style in exchange for promotion at club events in addition to the prize they were putting up for the competition. Another option would be to fundraise to get enough money to pay someone to do the job. Either way the club would end up with a logo their members would be proud of and an image that could work for them in the future!
Competitions will never be a viable option for creating a logo that works because the value of a brand is so much more than the dollar value attached.