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Using Strategy in Logo Design with Marty Neumeier

An interview with
Marty Neumeier


Why is strategy important when designing a logo? How can you use strategy as part of your design process? In this episode Branding expert and thought leader Marty Neumeier answers these questions, as well as explaining in detail how to test a trademark design before releasing it to the public.

Marty is the Director of Transformation at Liquid Agency, and the author of some of the very best books on branding and design including; Brand Gap, Zag and Brand Flip.

Marty Neumeier Interview Transcription

Marty Neumeier: You know when you’re in design school or art school or wherever you learn your craft, if you’re a designer, you hear people talking about concept, right? And students who have concept behind their work, they get sort of more appreciation, right? Oh, that’s a great concept or this guys really works with concept. And I’ve always sort of leaned towards that myself. It’s like if you don’t have an organising principle behind your work, it’s probably not going to be very clear and simple, unified, and so forth.

So I was always kind of leaning in that direction. But after working in design for maybe five or ten years, I started to realise that there are lot of great designers out there in terms of styling and aesthetics divorced from any sort of strategy, but just beautiful work. And I’m probably never going to be the best at that. I can compete, but I can’t ever claim that I’m going to do the most beautiful work.

And then I started thinking does it even matter if your work is the most beautiful and over the years I found out no, for most audiences, unless your audience is a sophisticated, not just a normal, but a sophisticated design audience, you’re pretty much getting away a lot of these aesthetics that you think are beautiful and are beautiful. So it’s the wrong direction to work in. I’m all for gorgeous work, don’t get me wrong. I always try for it myself.

But what really matters is whether you’re getting the job done, whatever that job is, and the job, when you peel back all the layers, is a business goal of some sort. So if you’re not really clear on what the business goal of your work is, you’re going to fail a lot of the time, even if you do beautiful work or interesting work or awarding winning work.