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November, 2009:

Logo Design – The Basics (at least in my opinion)

So, I want to preface this first design series post with saying that the concepts I am stating in this post come from my own experiences and my own opinions. While I went to art school and have worked as a graphic designer for 10 years, there are always other ways to do any part of design. That is what makes design so great and so broad. It is creative and subjective. Everyone has their own methods and their own tastes.

So let’s talk about logo design.

What are the basics of a logo?
You can create logos from either type/text or an image mark, or a combination of both. Let me define a couple of these terms for you.

An image mark is the visual component of a logo.

What makes a successful logo?
Three Questions to Ask
1. Does it work in one color?
2. Can you easily identify the name?
3. Does the mark make sense (if one was used)?

All three of these questions don’t have to be answered yes, but at least two should.

When designing a logo, we must consider all uses of the logo. This can include: web, print, business cards, signage, logo items, tv, etc. This is one reason it is important for a logo to function in only one color.   I start all of my logo designs in just one color.  If it is successful in this aspect then it will work for all of your needs.

For me, questions 2 and 3 aren’t deal breakers either way, but they do have some importance.  You should be able to tell from a logo what the name of the product or company is.  You should also be able to identify the logo mark.

In many cases a logo is used as pieces and not only as a whole.  You can use just the mark or just the text.  Each of the pieces of the whole can be used to emphasize something different or for different designs.

For example you might use just the logo mark on the back of a business card for emphasis.

A couple of examples:


Full Color Design in 2 Colors

Logo Design in One Color

Logo Design in One Color

Just the Logo/Image Mark

Just the Logo/Image Mark

Just the Text of the Logo

Just the Text of the Logo

So you may be thinking, but how does this relate to SharePoint design?

I think that a successful intranet can be enhanced with a great Intranet logo design. If you work to identify a name for your site and then brand it with it’s own logo it can help you increase your end user adoption.

–Tip: Having a logo design for your SharePoint sites will allow you to target your internal marketing campaign around your site. —

Even if you are working with an existing logo, you can still learn many things about the corporate branding just from a logo.  You can determine what colors can be used. You can also start to determine things like “white space usage” and the elusive “feel” of the site.

Let’s look at the examples that I displayed earlier and see what we can determine about a site design from this logo.

The Women's Home Logo

The Women's Home Logo

Site Design Color Scheme:

We can tell that the primary colors will be green and pink.  This also helps us determine supporting colors. We now know what their primary colors are so we can use color theory to determine what else will work with the site.

We also learn by seeing that the logo functions in one color only that we can use the logo reversed out of a dark solid color or textured color.

Images to be used in the site:

We can determine that we can use a flower or rose theme throughout the site as the flower is part of their logo/image mark. Also another design aspect that we can explore is the circle.

Font Usage for Site:

By noticing the type in the logo we can assume that the client might want to use a serif (a type of font face) for headers and the navigation.


So you can see, something as simple as the logo can lead us to many conclusions and offshoots for the entire brand’s design. In breaking down design into smaller pieces it is my hope that I can give you some insight into a designers brain. This insight will also be paired with tips and hits for SharePoint branding.

The next post in this series will talk about Color Theory and Color Choices.  This one will be important as we move towards SharePoint 2010 and the Office Themes.


As I go through this design blog series I will be developing a site design for this group’s intranet.

I was lucky enough to develop this logo for the Women’s Home during my time at Edge Creative Strategies in Houston, Texas.  It is a fabulous non-profit group that I was privileged to work with.  Here is a little bit about them:

The Women’s Home is a multi-ethnic, non-denominational, non-profit United Way agency. Founded in Houston in 1957, The Home’s reputation has grown alongside its facilities in both size and stature.

At The Women’s Home, we envision a world in which every woman embraces her unique value and potential for a life filled with love, dignity and purpose.

SharePoint Evolution Conference

Wow, I am so honored.  I was recently selected to speak at the upcoming SharePoint Evolution Conference in London. I will be presenting a session on SharePoint 2010 Branding focused on how to Enable End Users to Modify Their Sites.

I’m looking forward to this conference a lot.  I will also get to check off one more place on my list of places to visit.


SharePoint Saturday Tampa

So, this past weekend (November 13th – 15th) I attended and was privileged to speak at SharePoint Saturday Tampa.  I got to meet so many great new people.  I really do like attending this community events! 

They are such a good way for me to connect with people in the SharePoint world and to meet other speakers. 

This event was really nice as it offered us beautiful waterfront views out of the conference rooms.  It was such a nice day that it was a little distracting to present.  But I managed to avoid running out to the beach and stay inside and learn lots of new things and even give my own presentation.

Here is a link to my presentation from this event:
SharePoint Branding 101 – What you need to know before you begin

Thanks to everyone who was at the event.  It was great to meet you all.

Design Series of Posts

I have been trying for a while trying to figure out what topics people would be interested in for me to write about concerning design.

SharePoint design is so much more than just code, so I thought that I would start off a series of blog posts.  These posts are going to be focused around basic design concepts and then cap off with how these concepts can be applied to SharePoint branding.

In my work I have spent time learning about User Experience and how basic design concepts can improve this experience.  I am not going to limit this series to any number of posts and I am going to try and write posts about many topics.  If you have requests please leave them as comments on any of the posts for me to write about.

First up is the Basics of Logo Design.