Logo Design: Why You Shouldn’t Use Stock Art in Your Design

by . June 22nd, 2012

While browsing through some design books that we have here at the office, I noticed how some logos were initially handmade, while there are others that used premade fonts and images and merged them together. Well, both of them are acceptable processes and there’s no standard design process to tell you which is better than the other, and I think choosing between the two is just about how you want your logo’s design final look and feel.

Speaking of stock art, I’ve done an article before about stock images and its pros (and 1 con) in using them. Stock art is basically used the same way as stock images – they’re there to add flavor to a design or to improve the over reading experience of the audience. But in designing a logo, stock art are barely or never used. The only instance I can think of, where you need to use stock art is when you need a design reference for your concept art. Even at that point you won’t be using the whole stock art into your final design.

If you’ve scoured the web for stock graphics, such as brushes and templates, chances are you’ve seen the graphics that you have Googled in another website – used in one way or another. Stock art are so ubiquitous, you’ll find them almost anywhere, and that makes its use a bad thing for your design.


Elementary Logo Design


If this is the first article you’ve read about logo design in general, let me brief you about the basics of a great logo design. There are five so-called elements of a logo design, but they’re not that necessary for your design – as people would often say on varying tastes, your mileage may vary. Here are the five elements of a good logo design, in no particular order:

Memorable – If people can’t easily remember your logo and link it to your brand name, you’re in trouble. It’s time that you look into your logo design again.

Distinct – Everything in a logo is important – any similarity to another brand design would spell disaster, or tough competition (which is fine, though). Just look at all the fast food logos – they’re all red and yellow.

Scalable – As a designer you need to think ahead of everyone else. You have to think where the logo can be placed, and how you can adjust it to make it look and feel the same, given the changes in scale and detail.

Relevant – A logo design must be appropriate to your client’s industry. It must have design elements that can easily be associated to your client’s company and business.

Looking at the “elements of a good logo design”, you’ll have an idea how stock art doesn’t work well within this discipline. To expand the idea of not using stock art in logo design, here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t use them in your logo design:

It Slows Your Creative Process — Using stock art as your main reference in creating a logo design may slow down your creative process. Most artists would agree that the fastest way to move an idea is through pencil and paper. If I’m going to give advice to any promising graphic designer, I’d tell them to start their creative process on sketches instead of going online and looking for inspiration.

Concept Logo Design 04 by Johny Boldflower via
Concept Logo Design 05 by Johny Boldflower via
Concept Logo Design 06 by Johny Boldflower via
Concept Logo Design 07 by Johny Boldflower via
Source: Works in progress-BoldFlower Logo designs 14 june 2012

Your logo will look too generic — As we’ve mentioned above, logos must stand-out, must be unique, and must embody your client’s company and its mission-vision. A generic-looking logo won’t help you in those departments; worst scenario is that the logo you’ve made with stock art will be mistaken to be another company’s logo. Just imagine your business cards having those generic logos — that’s just plain horrifying.

Concept Logo 01 Design by Johny Boldflower via
Concept Logo 02 Design by Johny Boldflower via
Concept Logo 03 Design by Johny Boldflower via
Source: Works in progress – BoldFlower Logo designs 6 june 2012

It’ll lower you and your client’s credibility

After the logo project- after creating a generic-looking logo for a client, your chances of getting another logo design project will be lower. Clients will think twice on getting your service because of a shabby portfolio, and substandard creative process.

So there you have it. If you’re planning to take up logo designing as your field of expertise, keep in mind that you need a very wild imagination. Logo design is more than aesthetics– it’s an embodiment of a company’s goal and philosophy – so you’ll have to step up and move out of the box to visualize these concepts. Also, make sure that you’ve established a proper and effective creative process. Browsing the web for inspiration isn’t that bad, but when it comes to creating concepts for a project, it’s better to find a more comfortable place to think – not on your desktop computer or your laptop. Find a relaxed place and let your mind wander.

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