For years, my graphic designer buddy has been breathing down my neck with the sound advice of how to create compelling and memorable logo and corporate identity: PUT IT THROUGH A SIMPLE BLACK & WHITE TEST! Any logo must look just as good in black & white as it does in its original color, while communicating the exact same message and brand promise. This applies universally across all logo types, regardless of industry, organization size or country.
Furthermore, for a slew of die-hard visual artists (including yours truly!), we pose the challenge of thinking in terms of symbols and silhouettes. A mere glimpse of a silhouette or shadow should have the power to instantly transport your mind to the place/ brand/ product/ service, whether real or imagined (remember Dorothy’s glittering shoes?). Check out some of the images on this page and see if you can recognize the logos and silhouettes (click on the images if you’re stupefied!).
A simple but effective test to reduce the risk of miscommunication, and increase the versatility of logo application across a plethora of mediums, from billboards, print ads (what are those?), website, social media platforms, uniforms, down to stationery and name tags.
I’ve always known I had plenty of company in this advise. Sure enough, there’s an ocean of “identity gurus” (real and wannabe alike) that share the same philosophy.
I stumbled upon a good source from two different sources; Susan Gunelius‘s article as appeared in Corporate Eye blog, and Susan Newman of Susan Newman Design in her blog, Branding You Better!. They both wrote about the importance of running a black & white test on all logos.