Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Only gamble what you can afford to loose

(Image from News 14 Carolina)

You are starting a major undertaking, like, say, a state wide lottery to benefit education. You hire a full service ad agency, but decide your staff can design the logo themselves, rather then using the educated professional you hired.

After all, anyone can design a logo right? It's just a little picture and some text. Look at Nike's logo, any ten year old kid could make that.

Well, the North Carolina lottery commission has learned their lesson the hard way. When their logo was unveiled:

"A roomful of people at the lottery commission meeting stared, for the most part, in puzzled silence. They studied the boxy blue and green figure, billed as the symbol of the state's games. It would be on posters. Billboards. Tickets." (from The News And Observer)

A lottery commissioner and the chairman both wondered why they used a plant in the logo.
A trade mark check forced them to pull it, twelve hours after it was released. It turned out it was clipart, so their were insurmountable copyright and trademark problems.

Not only that, but there are serious usability problems. Imagine what it will look like faxed, or teeny-tiny on a business card. The green is barely legible against the blue as it is. I also wonder whether this effort to raise money for education minds that it would be shelling out for four-colour printing every single time it reproduces it's logo. An I won't even mention the subject matter.

You'd think the lesson here is, if you are designing a logo, don't use clip art. I think it's if you use an amateur, you'll get plants instead of fireworks, or worse.

Having an amateur create your logo is much like playing the lottery. Sometimes you win, but your chances of getting hit by lightening are higher than of getting a decent logo.