Brandon Werner's Five Rules For Web Series Logo and Poster Design
posted this on April 11, 2011, 11:47 AM
When it comes to promoting your show, few things are as important as branding. Mostly likely before your viewers have even hit play, they have prejudged your series based on the imagery you are using. Like it or not, people judge books but their covers, so here are some rules and tips to follow to help design unique and recognizable branding.
Less is More - The most iconic logos in history are the simplest. Take a look at your design and try to take away as much as you can while keeping it understandable.
And don’t think show logos are any different! Check out the branding on some of the longest running television franchises in history.
When it comes to posters, the same thing applies. Let’s take a look at the posters from some of the highest grossing movies of all time. You will notice a formula that runs through all of them, a large singular iconic graphic and a logo. Toss out all of the credit information (blip features that information on your show page for you), and they have relatively simple layouts.
When selecting secondary images, try to keep in mind that people respond best to other people and animals. While that collage of waterfall stock photos you found on google images may look pretty, a quality head shot of your host or characters will draw many more viewers. All the posters above use a character of some kind and that’s not a coincidence. A well selected screenshot of your show may work, but will most likely lack clarity. Take an original photo with a real camera (keep the camera phones in your pocket) and remember this isn’t your profile pic.
Make it work at all sizes and in all places - A good logo will be able to be recognized from the size of a twitter icon to the size of a billboard. A recent trend is making logos “appable”, giving them an element or symbol that can be used in small places like thumbnails, mobile applications or, most importantly, your show's lower third bug. Try to keep this in mind.
As your logo or poster may one day end up printed on t-shirts, pins or business cards, it is important that your logo works in color as well as black and white/single color. You’ll thank me later when you go to price t-shirts and they charge by the color.
When it comes to color-choice, keep things simple. I highly recommend kuler.adobe.com for figuring out color schemes. You can browse the most popular color combinations, or insert the current colors you are using and it will show you others that work with them.
Poster art is displayed at a variety of sizes, so as I mentioned before, keep the elements large and to a minimum.
Respect Your Brand - Like a good friend, treat your logo well when placing it into your imagery. Never under any circumstances:
Break the logo apart.
Change the logo’s colors.
Place your logo over too much texture or a complicated photo.
Put other elements too close to the logo. Give it space to breathe.
Use too many drop-shadows, lens flares, and glows. When used subtlety, these can be easy enhancements, but can quickly destroy a design when used too often.
Your logo should always be the most highly considered part of a design whenever it is used. Most corporations have bible-sized style guides devoted to the dos and donts of how to use their branding.
Don’t use any typeface that came pre-installed on your Computer - That means no comic sans, times new roman, impact, arial, etc. Macs come with Helvetica (the designer’s best friend), but you want to be unique, so unless you know how to use it, back away from the Helvetica. Two great resources for free fonts are dafont.com and urbanfonts.com. As a general rule of thumb, only use one font per logo and two in your poster/header designs.
If You Can’t Design It, Find Someone Who Can - A quality design from a reliable designer can be pricey, but worth every penny. If you don’t know a designer, I highly recommend 99designs.com. Here, you can post a detailed design contest and, in less than a week, receive hundreds or entries. Pick the one you like the most, and it's yours for $295. You can make contests for logos, album art, and posters. They even offer a logo store, where you can buy a professional pre-designed logo from $99.