I love when a design I create for a company, whether it be a logo, business card or blog header, turns itself into the necessary business literature a company needs with ease.
A good sign that a design is universal or properly branded, is when you can transform that imagery from logo to business card to letterhead, etc... without losing it's meaning (along with an necessary elements to make it fit or produce).
A logo is not a good logo if too many elements cannot be moved around, converted to black and white or reshaped to fit another need and still look like the original logo/branding.
Branding is about giving a company or a set of services something to help others identify with. So when a logo is to be created for a business the designer should always keep in mind where the client will want to use that logo; business cards, letterhead, websites, signs, advertisements, mass mailers, apparel, etc.... If the logo cannot be simply transformed from one need to the next, then the logo is not a successful branding for the company or set of services.
A great example of creating a design that so far as lent itself to work well, is the blog header for Buttons, Bows, & Bling.I have made a header that has led to business cards, given us the ground work for a gadget placed on her newer blog page and of course a great center piece to the blog itself. And only time will tell whether or not this great design is really a branding in disguise, as her needs change and grow.
Another great example, that I have been given the privilege to create over the years was for Enhanced Concrete. I loved creating their business literature, from Business cards and letterhead to door hangers, for the logo had potential and diversity. Along with a color palette that let me identify different mass mailers and business literature with one of three colors when needed.
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SO if you are going to create yourself a look, logo or image for a set of services you provide or a brand new company, make sure to always keep in mind how you want to share that logo or image with the world and will it translate from one medium (paper to cloth to web) to another with ease and not lose its meaning along the way.
Thanks for reading.