When you see a logo on a product or in an advertisement, many times you are seeing a “treated” version of the raw logo, so what exactly is a logo treatment, and why would you use one?
When a firm, design house or logo designer presents a client with a selection of logos to choose from, many times it helps to put that logo into context so the client can get a feel for how it will look on the actual product or in advertising. Therefore, many logo designers will create mock-ups showing a logo on paper, a sign, or in this case, a sleek desktop with printed cards; one even made to look like chrome.
However, it’s really important to strip away all that styling and just look at the mark itself in solid black on a plain white surface. This is important because it is the bare bones, the essence of that logo that gives it power.
A good logo needs to retain its identity when it’s reduced to its bare black and white form or when reduced down to the size of a thumbnail. If it still retains its charm or attitude, or its clean geometry, and it is still readable, then it works.
But clients can’t always be expected to visualize how a stark black logo will look on a flashy package design or as an emblem on a car, so designers will still have to help show the logo with a “treatment”.
A good example would be an automotive brand logo. We all expect it to look a certain way, with gleaming chrome and reflective appearance, and we get to see that on the vehicles themselves and in pretty full-colour magazine ads, but when you take away the chrome effect and print the solid logo on stationery or as a small sponsor at the bottom of a poster, it still has to communicate the same strong and attractive emblem. It still has to function as a mark when it’s embroidered onto a hat or embossed onto the leather.
So, when you’re out and about, keep your eyes open for brand logos you know. Compare them from one product to another and you’ll see that styling is all part of branding, but that it always starts with a strong iconic logo or wordmark.