Design tip: To create a workable logo, think small!

by Jon Sutz

Over the course of my twenty years of designing logos, I’ve seen it time and time again. Heck, in my early years, I did it, too.

What is “it”? Starting off a logo design project in a large format.

Here’s how it works. There’s a need to design or redesign a logo. The designer (or “civilian”) starts drawing away on a standard sized piece of paper – or worse, a whiteboard! Over the coming hours, or days, or weeks, one or more designs begin to take form, often gets more complex, and before you know it, the logo achieves some degree of “buy-in” (or acceptance) from the team, or one’s friends, etc.

It looks great – in this large format.

Then comes the realization that this wonderful, complex logo must be reduced down to fit onto the 2″ x 3.5″ of a business card. And when this is attempted, a cold chill runs down the spine of the designer, because he or she realizes that all that wonderful detail, if not the integrity of the design itself, is going to be lost:

The mistake they made was to start by thinking big – instead of thinking small.

So, whether you’re going to attempt to design your own logo, or are going to be commissioning one, you’ll end up with a better logo, and save time and money in the process, by thinking small, instead of large.

Whenever inspiration hits you, before you lay pen to paper (or mouse to pad), look at that business card, and realize that no matter what magic you create, it ultimately has to be reduced down into a very small space. And truly great designs not only can be adapted to this micro-environment, it is there that they shine when compared to logos that did not benefit from this approach.

So, to get great results from your logo design efforts (and investment), start by thinking small!


Original content is Copyright © 2010 by Jon Sutz. All rights reserved.


Jon Sutz is a multimedia designer and writer who has developed media solutions for organizations throughout the U.S. and Southeast Asia. To get an estimate on your logo or brand development project, email Jon.


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About the Author

Freedom-oriented multimedia graphic designer, writer and creative consultant. Disruptor. Creator of the ILoveIsrael project ( Author of memoir "Saved By Shayna: Life Lessons From A Miracle Dog". Writer-director of documentary"TWITTER EXPOSED: Enabling the Taliban - but stopping a campaign to rescue US allies FROM the Taliban".

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