CAN YOU #&^@%$ SEE IT?

As a writer, I tend to become involved in logo design only peripherally, but I still manage to learn useful lessons from the process. I’ve heard a variety of interesting logo requests from clients, but the most instructive came from the president of a tow-truck manufacturer.

“I don’t give a !@#$@# what the !$@$@ logo looks like,” he said. “All I care is that someone going the other way on the @^#^#%# Interstate at 70 miles an hour can see the @#@% thing and know it’s my @#@%#$ truck.” Folksy? Perhaps. Crude? Probably. But sound? Absolutely. He knew that it was critical that other two-truck operators knew who made that good-looking truck.

Sometimes, we forget that logos, headlines, and other elements of marketing communications have to be seen to be effective. It’s great if we can accomplish that and make them visually attractive at the same time. But the most artistically beautiful design will fall flat if people can’t tell what it is or who it’s supposed to identify. It’s one of the easiest ways to differentiate between the organizations that understand the value of a professional graphic designer and those who are convinced that they can go it alone.

Every day I see beautiful billboards, yard signs, ads and other materials and have to guess what they’re about, because I just can’t read them. As a writer, that frustrates me, because the carefully chosen words can’t be seen. And each time, I remember that tow-truck maker and his @^#%#%# logo.