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Logo design is a work of art

Logo design is art. I think that is the best definition I can come up with. As a graphic designer I have worked on a wide range of design pieces, and I can tell that the one piece I’ve enjoyed the most working on is logo design. Why? Because any logo design is a piece that I consider artistic.

Many will disagree with this idea because logos are graphic elements created with promotional purposes. That is, a logo design is what the client wants it to be. The graphic designer can’t feel free to be creative and do with the logo what he wishes. Well, this is not true. If the client knew exactly what he is looking for, what he wants, he would do it himself, or would just turn to somebody who draws well. But designing a logo implies much more than just knowing how to draw, and certainly, although it will have its commercial aims, a logo design is the result of an artistic mind.

I will explain in the next lines what makes a logo a work of art. I certainly see myself as an artist and it really annoys me when people underestimate my work just because instead of being a painting it is a logo. Actually, they say that my logo looks really great, but they underestimate the fact that it is just as artistic as other work of art, as it contains a lot of meanings and secrets that are abstract but that are somehow conveyed.

Take literature for example. I think a logo design is just like a good postmodern novel. If you are the reading kind you may know very well how reading such a novel works. You can’t just take the words you see written there and think you understood everything. No. To be able to understand this novel you will need to deconstruct it. That is, to read between the lines, to squeeze the book as much as you can to take all the meaning you can out of it because there’s no meaning directly implied.

A logo is that. It's a figure that conveys meanings but not directly. If a logo had to convey meanings directly it would mean that this logo should be a descriptive text with pictures. But just as only an artist can write a novel that conveys so many meanings in between the lines, only an artist can create a logo because a logo design is an abstract image that will convey a lot of meanings hidden behind its colors, shapes, typography, pictures (instead of text).

Creating a logo implies a great deal of concentration and inspiration: two elements required to create any other work of art. Just as a painter won't be able to paint without inspiration, a graphic designer can't make a logo, so, just as you can't force this painter to make a nice work, you can't force a designer to do that either. Of course, if you put pressure on any artist for them to create something, they will do it, and it will look fantastic. But only if this artist found some inspiration, that work will be a piece of art. If the artist was not inspired, then it will look good, but it won't be a work of art.

For something to be a work of art it should be the consequence of inspiration. That is, if I pour some paint on a piece of paper accidentally and it miraculously looks nice to the eye, it doesn't make me an artist. In fact, some works of art don’t look nice, but they convey so many meanings that they become beautiful. A work of art is a piece that conveys meanings and feelings and that only the trained eye is able to see.

In the case of logos, a logo design is art, as it will hide all of these meanings. In this case, however, we —graphic designers— are supposed to create logos that convey meanings and feelings that are not only understood by the trained eye, but by a whole company’s target. But this does not destroy their artistic value. On the contrary, when we have to concentrate on a specific target and create something that can be accepted by it, we become even more artists. Why? Because we have to study the culture, trends, connotations of the target’s world and depict all that in the logo. We end up creating an image that contains, between its colors and shapes, a universe of connotations, feelings and meanings.

For me to create a logo design is one of the most satisfying things to do and I believe that this is the satisfaction any musician feels when they play their songs. Creating a logo design is just like doing music. There are no rules to follow or any systemized way to create them. You just try one color with another, one shape with another, as a musician tries notes and melodies, and end up with a logo that you love and that of course your client will love. There's no way to provide a logo that will satisfy your client's needs if it doesn't satisfy you first. A logo design is effective and loved by the target only if you love it. Don't expect a logo you don't like to be successful in the future.

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