Fake Logo Designs: Revisited

Fake Logo Designs: Revisited

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Fake Logo

It was about 5 months ago when I brought up the topic of ‘fake logo designs‘. Basically the point was that many logo designers are placing ‘fake’ logos, for made up companies, in their portfolio.

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It isn’t the fact that the logo is ‘fake’ but rather the company and whether that these fictional designs are actually a measure of the designers skill and /or experience.

I would like to quote Steve from Logo Factory on his view of fake logo designs as his opinion is exactly where I stand.

All in all, the idea of creating pretend company logos isn’t terribly offensive – all designers at the beginning of their careers have to indulge – but does it give an accurate representation of a designer’s ability to deal with real-world client demands and actual company requirements? I’d say no. I guess at the end of the day, sites like Logopond and Logosauce are great for visual eye-candy, they’re not particularly helpful in seeing how designers attack real branding and logo development issues, nor how a designer can problem solve some of the more mundane and banal design problems that are presented in the ‘real’ world.

But how can a client decide on a logo designer based on their portfolio? I believe Briana had a great reply:

Personally, I think that using fake logos and other types of fake work is fine for demonstrating creativity and technical skill. And it’s only fair that they’re disclosed as such in a portfolio.

But if they are used in a portfolio then the designer better have something else that backs up their business and communication sense because that’s what fake work lacks the real world give and take relationship with a client.

Adding onto Briana’s quote of “something else that backs up their business”, here are some other values one should keep in mind when hiring a designer.

In regards to disclosing fake logo designs in portfolios, I would have to commend Logopond (a logo inspiration gallery) for putting in place a new system for differentiating fun and client work – which comes after many others speaking up about this topic of fake logos. If you notice on each LogoPond members showcase page, there are now new icons that help you differentiate what is client work or not.

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Below you can see what each icon means along with a screenshot of where you can find these icons.

LogoPond Icon System

Take note of the red circles, highlighting where you can find each icon.


Below you will find a screenshot of the upload screen of where the designer can choose the “logo status”. At present, it seems that it is not compulsory to choose what the status is, however, I believe it should be, to ensure that the system actually works. I’d like to know what you think?

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Logo Options

I also believe that this system should be put into use across other inspiration galleries and I will be doing so from now on for all new submissions on my own logo inspiration gallery, Logo of the Day.

Logo of the Day & Fictional Logos

And whilst on the topic of LOTD, many people have expressed their opinion on whether or not myself and Jeff Fisher should showcase fictional logo designs on the LOTD site.

Take August West’s response to a conceptual logo:

Not a fan of the “working backwards” logos.

It’s too simple to base an idea for a company around a logo. I find it much more difficult to base a logo around a company’s particular needs. I could come up with random, cute logos for companies that don’t exist all day long. Just my humble opinion.

Although I agree with August on most parts, the main point of the LOTD inspiration gallery, is to give exposure & inspiration to other designers. For this reason, we do showcase a conceptual logo from time to time.

Update: August 2009
We are no longer accepting fake logo designs on LOTD.

By doing so it gives exposure to the designers, thus bringing in potential clients for them. And it works too… we’ve received numerous “thank you” emails from designers, stating that they have received paying clients from their exposure. The site has also brought in many clients & traffic for myself and book sales for Jeff Fisher whilst giving inspiration to other designers… so it really is beneficial for all involved.

Coffee Logo

The most recent success story coming out from Logo of the Day was the recent sale of the Logo of the Month logo, Coffee Cup (as seen above) that was sold via the ‘stock logo’ IncSpring website.

Below you can see the purchaser’s comment left on LOTD:

Well, I just saw this logo last night here and thought about it all night. I fell in love with it immediately. I have been searching for a logo for my coffeehouse for about two years now and just bought it from the link above today. I, and those I asked today, thought it was evocative, trendy, elegant, and fun! I’m so happy I ran across this site and saw that logo on a whim!

I congratulated them on their new purchase, in which they wittily replied:

Thanks a Latte 🙂 and all hail the Internets!

So yeah, I am all for fake logos… as long as they are rightly identified as so.

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92 thoughts on “Fake Logo Designs: Revisited”

  1. Nice article. Good points. Great to see the implementation of the usage icons on LogoPond. You can never have too much information regarding the origins and uses of design work when placed into a portfolio or showcase.

  2. I think with the internet it’s pretty easy to find out what is fake and real. But if you are looking for a job, you should always be open and up front about what is what.

  3. Tom,
    The fake logo topic seems to be popping up in everyone’s comments so why not? As you said, many designers do not make it clear that the logos they are showcasing are actually ‘fake’ which is one of the reasons I brought this topic up. I believe they should.

    In regards to LOTD showcasing fictional logos, as I mentioned, we will now be stating if the logos are fictional or not however we will be keeping them to a bare minimum. In fact, there has only been about 2 fictional logos placed on the site in the past month. I believe this number is quite low considering that many of the submitters are just trying to get some exposure which is one of the reasons I still accept them.

    Being a “judge” also puts you in quite a position to fill. I feel like some kind of night club bouncer when judging the logos – it’s just not fair to all if you know what I mean.

    Anyway, in regards to your “hundreds if not thousands of logos being designed daily and thousands of logos designed over the years” – unfortunately these logos do not get submitted. If we used these hundreds & thousands of logos for the site, it would be like “Jacob and Jeff’s logo picks of the day” – we could just go through logo books and pick some that we like.

    If we did that, sure there would be inspiration, however there wouldn’t be as much of a community or exposure for the designers that actually need it. By getting users to suggest logos, it gives the site variety & by showcasing a few of the fake logos I think it helps the up and coming designers quite a bit.

    Although I completely understand where you are coming from, there are two sides of the sword and I am trying to find the right balance whilst trying not be split in half. Thanks for your opinions and looking forward to your reply.

  4. Personally, I see nothing wrong at all with showing “spec” logo work in a portfolio. In fact, I would almost rather see more spec than actual client work when it comes to strictly “design” work (not campaigns, etc.) like logos. It shows me how a designer thinks about a project, rather than how they accommodated a client’s sometimes irrational beliefs about what it should be.

    We all know a client can, and often will, completely destroy great creative work – but it’s important to see what that work was before the client got their hands on it.

    Just my two-cents.

  5. Does Herb Lubalin’s (wonderful) Mother & Child logo qualify as ‘fake’ because it was never used? I think not. As a student (back in the early 70s) I would redesign what I considered to be a crap logo, and had a rationale for why mine was better. Over the years I’ve built a strong portfolio of corporate identity. Young designers, by definition, don’t have such experience and must showcase their talent using ‘fake’ logos. It shows their method, style and creativity, even though it hasn’t been commissioned.

  6. Jim,
    That is a good point about showing fictional work as a point of reference of what work would be like without a client but I wouldn’t go as far as saying “I would almost rather see more spec than actual client work”. In the real world, in which the designer needs to be paid, it is vastly more important for the designer to be able to work around a clients needs & constraints. Wouldn’t you agree?

    In regards to the Mother & Child example, that was actually done for a real client, it just wasn’t used which is what the icon “unused proposal” is for. And yes, all designers have to start somewhere but that is not to say that they should be misleading about their work. Thanks for your comments.

  7. i like the idea of using icons in logopond!

    Yes Jacob update logooftheday based on this concept and i m sure you can create better metaphor icons 😛

  8. I wasn’t aware of LogoPond’s new feature, I’m going to update my profile. I guess that if someone hires a student, it’s obvious that everything is “fake”, the portfolio goes along with a resume. I use LogoPond mostly for feedback, I’m not really looking for clients.

  9. It’s nice to see you talking about this topic. This is something I have a strong opinion about. As you know I expressed on LOTD.
    I think the question that comes to mind is this. What makes LOTD different then LogoMoose, LogoGala, Favup, Logo from Dreams, LogoFaves, LogoSauce the list goes on? I’ll tell you what I thought made LOTD different. I thought for once there was a site that wasn’t showcasing FAKE LOGOS! I thought with two “judges” reviewing logos would weed out the fake ones and showcase “professional trademarked logos” as you listed in your description.
    Having designers get inspired by “real world” designs is inspirational to all. It’s starting to be a huge trend with all these sites. They all for the most part showcase the same logos from the same group of designers. It seems that some designers spend more time doing fake logos and submitting them to these sites to get other designers to praise them. I think it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy when other designers give them a 5 star and a pat on their back. Sure someone can come across your “fake” logo and purchase it for few dollars. Who really cares? The logo wasn’t designed for them it was designed from someone’s mind for an imaginary company. For the most part these designers do NOT make it clear that they are showcasing fake concept designs. Some people believe that they are real world designs until you do some research.
    So if LOTD will end up being like the rest so be it. At least now I know what to expect. Maybe having different icons or maybe a different section of LOTD maybe FLOTD (Fake Logo of the Day) hahaha and have those designers that spend their time working with imaginary clients get a chance to show their work without being on the same level as the real world designs. In all honestly are we in that much of a shortage or legit logos that you need to showcase concept designs? There are hundreds if not thousands of logos being designed daily and thousands of logos designed over the years that would inspire designers for days.
    Regarding portfolios. Depending on the skill level of the designer it’s expected to see conceptual work. Sometimes it’s to show your process. Some job interviews supply you with a design challenge. There is a time and place for it all. Along with what was stated by Briana you need more to back up your portfolio.



  10. What about having work in your portfolio that is based off of a real life company, but wasn’t used. Say, you talked with them or you didn’t get a chance to talk with them but you based your design with the client in mind?

    It should still be noted in a portfolio (as “proposed”) I know, but as a student in Graphic Design, it seems that we will have many projects to redo logo concepts for companies (that we think need help) but in the end they won’t use it because they weren’t looking to rebrand anyway. Usually a student just does a question and answer with the company and that is that. There aren’t any real turnarounds or anything because they are class assignments.

  11. Hi Jacob,

    It was quite a nice surprise to see you refer to my comment about logos. My opinion comes from personal experience: I’ve received job offers with a portfolio that was mostly filled with student work, but I used my business degree and experience in other kinds of jobs as leverage to show that I’m well rounded, a strategic thinker, an ethical person, and a good communicator. Turns out that employers valued those things a lot. So that’s why I think “fake” work can have a place in a portfolio when it’s backed up by other qualities.

    As time goes on, my portfolio will improve with great real world work. And then I’ll get an even better job. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? 🙂


  12. Wow, I really don’t think this article could be further off. The ability to brand goes a lot further than working off a client brief (most don’t REALLY know what they want/need anyway). Branding and creating, to me, is all about the ability to see things in objects or letters that other people can’t see until I show them and turn them into something universally appreciable and memorable.

    What you are saying in this article is, essentially, that it is “easy” to create a striking, memorable logo when it isn’t based off of a brief or for a real company. I have a LOT of emails every month from college students asking me for internships, apprenticeships, etc and more often than not when I see their portfolio of “fun logos” or “school work” I am disappointed. More often than not they lack the creative sense to produce something memorable or interesting.

    The idea that “solving a problem” is limited to client briefs is so far from reality. If you come up with a company name and description first and then create a logo that you think would fit the industry and emotion of that company, I don’t see that as wasted time or irrelevant. You’re essentially doing the same thing you’d do with a real client. It’s great practice and it is enjoyable for anyone who likes the nature of graphic design work.

    I have done “just for fun” logos before, some of which I produced multiple versions for after not liking the first one, using the same process I use with all of my clients (of which includes one of the largest non-profits in the United States, the American Cancer Society). Less than a year into full time freelancing, I’ve seen my “real” work stretch all the way over to the heart of Afghanistan and I’m positive ANY of my “just for fun” logos have that same translatable ability.

    I’m sure there are holes and missing details in the above paragraphs, but it really would take a few pages to get my point totally across.

  13. I also think that by stating producing “fake logos” is easy, you are SEVERELY devaluing both your work and the industry more so than the person producing the “fake logo.”

  14. Tom,

    First off, judging by your portfolio website and your blog, both equally hard to read and even more difficult to look at, I am not surprised by your response.

    Ask Mike Erickson once what he thinks about “fake logos”. Just because they don’t have a home yet doesn’t mean they aren’t good or won’t be useful at some point. Your ignorance has been duly noted.

    All I see when I read your comments is a worthless designer who is scared of the younger talent that is emerging thanks to the internet.

    A person who sings a song on youtube isn’t a real singer because it wasn’t a song produced for a record label. An artist isn’t an artist until he sells a painting. You sir, are an idiot and I do not respect your opinion one bit.

  15. Wow.

    Yep I put the gay designer thing up myself, wanted the publicity. You’re a genius. Great investigative work, by the way.

    My website is under construction, has been down for maybe two weeks while I balance my new identity with my FULL schedule. Critique my work all you want, I can do the same to yours. I don’t care one bit what you think about my personal life or professional life. I’ve not been impressed by even one thing I’ve seen from you – ever.

  16. First of all good designers are also artists. To be a good artist takes practice (drawing, singing, whatever). Use it or lose it! It does not makes sense to squelch inspiration or artistic creativity just because you don’t have a brief. And like Jared said, very seldom does a client know what they want. At least half of the logos I’ve done follow no brief. I research their business/product/service and use my experience to design the best logo I can. I can tell you, also, that logos I’ve done for ‘fun & profit’ (very, very few) have been much harder, execution wise, than 95% of those I do for clients. Sure, maybe the concept was easy, but doing right by a ‘great idea’ is what takes real skill.

  17. Wow all this talk about fake logos is funny. Fake logos are just that FAKE
    Should designers do fake logos? Sure why not? if they make it clear that its not a real client and can talk through the process than why the hell not?
    Its not all about a brief. Ever hear of personas? User case studies? Testing? Oh yes can’t forget years of experience and having an understanding of the target audience.
    Cracks me up when young designers get all pissy pants when someone calls them out. Jared I’ve seen your work as well and maybe Tom didn’t want to slam it but I will say its not all that good. After reading your comment I think the reason he even felt the need to slightly slap your creative around was you drop client names like you’re a hot shot.
    I wouldn’t of appoligized Tom

  18. Logo Design is based on company/name needs and for that, normally you have a briefing when making a logo, even if its fictional, but true is that a logo made only based on your like and dislikes “when you don’t have a real client” is not gonna give you the same result, cause you can obtain a great symbol or icon for a XXXXX fake company but it could not be the best representation of that company for his really owner, only for you.
    The Logo pond Idea is a good one but no one can really be sure of the process of that logo and its finality.

  19. Alex–

    “Created in 1965 by Lubalin and Tom Carnase for a magazine that has never been published.
    Designer: Herb Lubalin / Tom Carnase, 1965”
    Read the description. This is NOT a fake logo. It was designed for a magazine that has never been published. You’re missing the point. Also something to remember is for every logo that is accepted/used there are dozens if not hundreds never accepted. Showing logos that for some reason or another ended up never being used is not the problem.
    My question to you is this. When you took logos that YOU thought were crap were you able to get the design spec they most likely supplied to the designer?
    Taking a logo out of context and putting your own spin on it without knowing everything that went into it along with all the reasons the designer made certain choices and without seeing all the other designs that might of been shown to me isn’t fair.

    As for Conceptual work in a portfolio. That’s fine as long as you can talk through your thought process and how you came to the final design.

    The topic of “fake” logos at least with me is showcasing them as being real world designs.

    you’re right being a judge puts you in quite a position to fill. the one thing that makes LOTD different from the rest is that you have two judges. Each other site more or less is the same. Not saying that’s such a bad thing but maybe when I first ran into this site I was happy to see a site break apart from the pack and put a different spin on things. When i started to notice fake logos I started to get annoyed. Now that I know LOTD will showcase fake logos with some sort of symbol thats fine. I still think FLOTD would be fun to do. HAHA Joking.

    As a side note it just so happens that two of your Logo of the Month picks are fake logos.


  20. ok. Let me start by saying “BRANDING” is more then a brief. It also is more then letters and objects. A logo will not make a brand. Some people can argue that people make the brand “community” at least now-a-days that is the trend. Some companies lead the way with their expertise and tell the community what is good and what is not. I think (at least with my comments above) I said brief as one example that the designer will need to have at least for an understanding about the company and the company needs.
    You can spend days if not months working on a “just for fun” logo. Who cares? It’s not real. You can play pretend all you want but it’s not.
    I develop brands all day long and Yes for some very large clients and for small start ups. We can all play tit for tat to see who has the larger and more successful client base but that wouldn’t solve anything right now.

    For example when I design a logo I work on many more elements to develop a brand guide line for my client to follow. Its beyond a logo. It’s more about a visual representation of a company and messaging. Yes marketing plays a huge part in Branding and Messaging.

    As for “You’re essentially doing the same thing you’d do with a real client” that’s bullshit. You’re coming up with a design for a name that you made up. Lets call it what it really is… a NAME! Beyond that it’s not legit. Unless however you’re coming up with your own logo for your own company and you are the client. Other than it’s nothing more then a name!



  21. “also think that by stating producing “fake logos” is easy, you are SEVERELY devaluing both your work and the industry more so than the person producing the “fake logo.”

    I’ll say it loud and proud “FAKE LOGOS ARE EASY!!!!! Hey lets make up a name and come up with some designs… beat it”

    I’m not devaluing my work by no means. I charge a hell of a lot for Branding. If anything I think having the online community praise fake logos and in some cases may fool some people in thinking that certain designers have a large client base when in fact they do not that to me hurts the industry.




  22. Jared– some may think coming up with “Diaries of a gay designer” and coming out of the closet telling everyone you’re gay (fake or not) to get online buzz hurts the industry. Why not have your work produce the buzz? I’m being really nice right now not to crit your work That would be very mean. 🙂 I wonder if Logopond thanked you for the spike in traffic to their website when you direct people to view your portfolio only to get directed to your Logopond profile. HAHAHA!


  23. for the record that site is from 2003 and is involved with a very huge lawsuit. Look it up and google it if not zip it. It’s also not my portfolio but for shits and giggles we can chat off this site and I don’t have a problem sending you my portfolio and then we can have another discussion afterward and lets just see what you’re comments will be then. I’m not here on this site trying to pump my skills and show the world my work. I can care less. Email me direct. I’ll send you my book.

    Who’s scared of younger talent? In fact I always look for younger designers and the company I work for does as well (we will leave nameless for now)

    “A person who sings a song on youtube isn’t a real singer because it wasn’t a song produced for a record label.”
    you’re missing one point. They are singers just not signed. A designer designing FAKE LOGOS doesnt mean they are not designers just means they are designing fake logos.

    So JARED Email me.


    [email protected]

  24. I will say this. It was immature for me to make a comment good or bad about Crit’n your work. It also switched the topic of this article. So I apologize. You can email me direct if needed.


  25. I found this very interesting. I don’t know much at all about logo creation so I was somewhat surprised people create “fake” logos for their portfolios and turn these in along with whatever real business experience they have under their belt!

  26. ^^ LOL It cracks me up when I see an uneducated simpleton trying to form a valid argument, but all that comes out is a couple of rambling sentences with incorrect grammar, spelling, etc. The real question is: Why would I trust someone like YOU to know anything about a target audience when it looks like you barely made it through the 8th grade? I honestly barely made it through that without pissing myself with laughter.

    I’m open to anyone critiquing my work, to be honest. If you have anything constructive to say about it, please I’m all ears and very interested. My goal is to keep growing as a designer and part of that is being critiqued by my design peers. I’m sure plenty would agree with Captain Hawkins and Tom O’Keefe’s brilliant assessments that my work is “not all that good,” but I’m sure there are also plenty who would disagree. Isn’t that the great thing about design? There is no REAL objective way to grade anything. You can go about with certain general standards, but in the long run whether your work is “good” or “bad” is ultimately decided by the market, not by some pompous ass on the internet. It’s because of that that yes, I do think my work is good. I take great pride in knowing that people like this: http://imgur.com/iNZ1G.jpg are wearing t-shirts that I designed and that they chose them out of a pile of other options. It feels good to know that something like that, which was originally intended for one region of the country, has reached across the world. I also don’t see what was so offensive about my stating that I’ve worked with the American Cancer Society. I’ve done plenty of paid work for them and even more unpaid work. I was just reinforcing that I have worked with real companies and real corporations and that I’m not just some creator of “fake logos” who is trying to stir up controversy. To each his own, I guess.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I am a bit cocky when it comes to my accomplishments, but I think every other valuable member of this industry is. I see no problem with taking pride in my work as I put a lot of time and effort into it.

    If you want to have a real discussion about this, again, I am all ears. If you’re going to sit up there on your pedestal, though, throwing random insults and contributing nothing of any purpose to the conversation, I am not going to listen to you and I doubt anyone else will either.


  27. Wow, way to generate some heat Jacob!

    I’ll say up front I don’t have any ‘fake’ logos in my portfolio (simply because I dont have the time), but I don’t have a problem with designers using ‘fake’ logos in their portfolio and i don’t have a problem with them not being noted as such.

    For what it’s worth, here’s why;

    My comments are mainly in line with the comment made by Jim (waaay up the top there). “It shows me how a designer thinks about a project, rather than how they accommodated a client’s sometimes irrational beliefs about what it should be.”

    Just because a client paid for the work to be done, doesn’t make it a good logo, and just because you have clients that turn your good idea to a turdburger doesn’t mean you’re a bad designer.

    Although none of the logos on my portfolio are ‘fake’, i DO have a few that are not the final logo, because I feel the client’s revisions took away from what I felt was a good logo. My portfolio consists of work I feel represents the quality of my craft, regardless of what my clients think.

    If I had a dozen fake logos that show my ability to think in a unique way and execute that idea into a visually appealing logo, how does that get trumped by a logo that had to use the color ‘vomit’ to fit with their office decor, 3 circles representing the 3 owners, and the underline representing that they will not be beaten on price?

    Real world briefs are not what makes a good logo a good logo, and it’s shown in the case Jacob noted with the Coffee brand. Now that a client is using the logo.. does that mean that it’s no longer fake and all of a sudden worthy of some credit?

    I think there are some people in here that need to get off their high horse and start thinking about what makes sense to a potential client.

  28. If you don’t practice, ie make fake logos, how do you learn? There are so many techniques, styles and executions that you can’t just do on the fly, they take practice. Not to mention new software, plugins and media. And if your practice turns out awesome, why not share it? And with luck, like the coffee logo, it will find a home worthy of it. I really don’t know why this is even an issue. Good design is good design. Period.

  29. Well said Jared and Nathan. What I do not understand is why it bothers people in the first place. I do not see anyone questioning a painter or artist if the work they did is conceptual or commissioned work. The work they do demonstrates the level of skill knowledge and creativity. The “Thinker”, “The Executer”. I have for a fact had some conceptual designs turn into big profit and lead to more work, so I find it very beneficial and care less what others think or think they know.OH YES it IS easier to come up with a clever idea on your own as apposed to having a real problem to solve no doubt.I really think the bottom line here might be a little jealousy? I’ve seen some of the most BRILLIANT ideas and said “WOW” I wish I would have thought of that, or “why did I not think of that?”. I love seeing a GREAT logo no matter if it was FAKE or not does not change my opinion of the fact if it is good or not. I do appreciate a good struggle and solution with a clients problem though. CREATE! and you’ll be happy! Don’t worry so much about the little petty things.

  30. Wow this is heated, great topic Jacob – but having started from the top and worked my way down. I actually think Jared has misunderstood Tom.

    Tom expresses the core of how i work myself which im sure every designer should agree on – the basic fundamentals of logo design – its an answer to a question.

    Im not wanting to single you Jared out but i have to say that this comment quite got me –

    “Wow, I really don’t think this article could be further off. The ability to brand goes a lot further than working off a client brief (most don’t REALLY know what they want/need anyway). Branding and creating, to me, is all about the ability to see things in objects or letters that other people can’t see until I show them and turn them into something universally appreciable and memorable.”

    Im sure this is out of context but to me this is a gimmick – and just lacks the fundamentals Tom is trying to express.

    When your doing an exam – there is a question to answer and the answer you come up with can be dealt with as creatively a you want but without any knowledge – it will always be wrong. Never underestimate a client – true design is simple maths – the marriage between clients expertise and the designers ability to COMMUNICATE his needs whether its future potential or his business.

    As for fake logos – they are eyecandy simple a visually aesthetic solution to a name.

    In essence if you went to a job interview at a branding company they may admire your creativity but your problem solving skills may be called into question.

  31. Nice Mike 😉 but i think your taking for granted an ability you have mastered with your experience.

    And its experience from answering problems.

  32. Well, it’s settled then. Clearly I’m a garbage designer, lol. In other news I’ll be turning one of my “FAKE” logos into a “REAL” logo sometime next week in the greatest magical act of logo design ever! (queue “Final Countdown” by Europe)

  33. Wonder how far the ” Original” logo designers of famous logos took it the whole nine yards with the “branding” process. Some are DEAD yet the brand continues and evolves UMM could that be because it was a well designed logo? or memorable mark. Nay must be the branding.

  34. fake logos are alright for inspiration, but real logos are better examples because most of them have a philosophy and needs behind it and that is what makes a great design. Also, by being a real logo one can see the designer problem solving skills and critical thinking.

  35. on request from your twitter…on non-designers thoughts on fake logos…

    I am not a designer…I am a photographer who has spent many hours on this blog and others, as well as many hours with my nose in books for my company and brand…so I am not sure if i really count as a non-designer…I do not think I count as an designer, as I do not do it for people…

    I think that if a designer uses fake designs it should be disclosed as so…and clients should take it as a grain of salt, that they have the ability to create something that looks good…but as for foundation of truly creating a logo and representing a brand and creating a brand. I do not think that they accurately represent what the designer is capable of. I believe that it is a huge part of a designers job to help the client figure out what they want their brand to represent.

    It would be like if me as a photographer used a staged wedding as an accurate representation of what I am capable of doing…Sure it would show that I can take a good picture in a controlled environment when I am able to be in control of everything. But what really shows what I am capable of is if i shoot an actual wedding and cope with all the things that are absolutely unpredictable! That shows my true skill level as a photographer and that is what my clients need to see.

    So fake logos are great because they show the design tech. know how, but not the overall know how…because if a designer can not create a logo that truly represents a companies brand, then what is the point…a logo is not just some random graphic, it is part of the soul of a company…fake logos are not proof of that aspect.

  36. All right, as a non-designer, here’s my take on the ‘fake’ logos:

    I think as long as the designer discloses they had created the logo as a mere portrayal of artistic style they have not otherwise had a chance to do with the realms of client work, I don’t see a problem with adding a ‘fake’ logo to their portfolio. This work, although not designed within the constraints of a client’s needs and demands, can portray the possibly and range of the said designer’s skill set, and possible artistic scope.

    I think if you only confined your artistic ability to that of paying gigs, unfortunately, we as a society would not be privy to some of the most exquisite art we have today. I also believe doing client work can lead to artistic fluidity a designer/artist can capitalize on to extend their portfolio, their range, their skills, and actually lead to clients they may not have had otherwise.

    Discloser is really the issue at hand, especially when it comes to logos. As long as the designer states it was their artistic desire to create their piece, displaying artwork is just that – opening up your skills and vision to the public, with the desire to extend, grow, and establish yourself as an artist, or in this case, a graphic designer.

    Cheers to the creativity! Embrace it! Celebrate it! Flaunt it! (just don’t forget to tell us non-designers whether a client requested it or not)

  37. I would say that looking at the thread – what a load of passionate people – my own opinion:

    Fake logos have their place its an expression of our craft – but at least acknowledge it, don’t hide behind the design if it was never used or the client never existed – say so – then they can judge the work on those facts accordingly.

    Like many others mentioned above real world design has other pitfalls and is never perfect – the best one I ever had was “it needs to be this colour blue, my wife picked it last night”

    And that’s just the tip of a really large iceberg…

    As a designer what I always found strange was looking in the logo portfolio books (los, dos logo etc..) was the amount of times there were 2,3,5,8,10 or more logos for the same company (and i’m not talking sub brands), because most businesses i’ve come across have generally one it takes enough time to get one recognised without having to try and push anymore 🙂

    But i like the fact this topic is drawing heat from all angles.

    An enjoyable read.

  38. I don’t think this is a discussion that will have any mutual agreement. It seems that we have very strong opinions on both ends and a lot of people sitting somewhere in the middle.

    I don’t think Jared , Mike or anyone else advocating the use of fakeies (yep just made that up and i’m sticking with it) is suggesting that logo designers should have a portfolio full of them (unless of course you’ve had no paying clients to date). Obviously the client relational work utilizes a different skillset BUT that is not demonstrated in the logo itself.

    I think Eleonor had some good points, but her discussion was (IMHO) of topic. There’s no debate about the skills you need to learn in order to be a commercial designer (logo or otherwise), but that’s completely different from whether your portfolio makes note of a client’s final preference over your own.

    I also believe that Brandon & Sherry are speaking from a position of forced opinion. This is what happens when you pull someone into a discussion and force them to have an opinion. You take the world’s greatest logo and pull 10 random people off the street and tell them to make a comment on it, they’ll all add their input, and ‘think’ of something to say.

    As a consumer (or potential consumer), of course you don’t want to feel duped. You don’t want to think you were the first sucker to pay a designer, so you want to feel like you know all about them. BUT, adding a ‘fake logo’ tag to a design doesn’t solve the issue. Really what a few of you are saying is that you would like to see a documentary made on each logo showing how you took the client info and worked through the trials and tribulations of concept work and arrived at your final mark.

    Another area the argument fails is (for example) a designer that is a regular competitor in spec competitions (where the quality is agreeably much lower). Each of the winning logos are now deemed ‘eligible’ because they were for a real client with a real brief, but none of them used any form of client communication to come to their final design. I don’t see how this is any more an indication of a good designer than if I come up with my own brief for an existing (or fake) business.

    My brief:
    – Need a logo for a coffee shop
    – Needs to portray warmth, but fun
    – Don’t want it too ‘business like’
    – I really like flowing text, not sharp corners

    Now if you go and make that logo I’m guessing you can add that to your portfolio, because it was based off a brief from a client (if you got paid or not is not the issue).

    Ramble over and out.

  39. Jacob I have to commend you on raising the topic of Fake logo designs. As a designer myself I feel that all the discussions raised have their good and bad points. I know when I studied at university my teachers really pushed for ‘real’ world solutions and students who decided to create a solution to a made-up brief were frowned upon and weren’t taken seriously.
    I specifically remember one teacher advising us never to create template design work that could be purchased, however this is so evident in design today (particularly with web design).
    In a way I think designing ‘fake’ work creates a disadvantage for young designers as I feel this can de-value or diminish the quality placed on their designs by on-lookers and critics. I feel it cheapens their work even though the designer may have worked quite long and hard on their design. Personally I can’t take ‘fake’ designs seriously because it’s like creating ‘art for art’s sake‘.

  40. I encouraged a student who asked me how I gained my design knowledge to create simulated briefs for herself, or to have others create simulated briefs for her and make logos/business cards/stationary from them. I also encouraged her to check out logo and other design inspiration sites to find the general traits that make a *good* logo.

    I can’t even imagine how much I’ve screwed her chances at a successful design career! lol.

  41. After reading the comments this is what I think.
    • Fake logos are good to show in your portfolio as long as you can talk through your process. Along with concept designs in print campaigns. It’s mentioned many times from both sides and still some people don’t seem to get it.

    • Fake logos are for the most part easier to produce since they’re not for the real world as stated above. If you think differently you either are clueless or trying to grasp on to some reason to justify you doing them. Why not focus all this energy on working on building your client base? Or why even debate it. They’re fake so why bother? Does it mean you’re not a real designer? NOT AT ALL. I don’t think ANYONE is saying that. Does that mean that a fake logo design isn’t good? NOT AT ALL. No one is saying that. Does it mean the fake logo isn’t creative? NOT AT ALL. NO ONE IS SAYING THAT! The problem is that people can’t see the difference between the two. For that it’s becoming comical.

    • The designer should make it clear it’s fake and should at least have a variety of other work besides conceptual designs. Unless you’re starting out and or coming out of school. I don’t see any problem with that.

    • If you cut through the heated comments from Jared getting upset. No one is saying that you shouldn’t design fake logos. The point is there is a huge difference between the two. I do think it’s funny that Jared starts off by saying he’s done a few fake logos and gets upset defending it like it’s all he does to the point he thinks this topic of fake logos is all about him, When it’s not. Can someone point out were in this topic does it say it’s all about Jared? Tom said he would crit your work but that would be mean… cMon Jared get over it and move on.

    • I notice that people are missing the point that Tom made or should I say Jared missed it. Designing a logo isn’t all about a brief many other elements goes into the logo design process. There are many other things to take into consideration when designing a logo more then you would when designing a fake logo. If you can’t see that then lets just end this topic now since you’re closed minded you feel since your little pack of friends like your work and you’re such a pro at logo design that you can’t see his point. So instead of posting a link to a photo of some people wearing a shirt with a logo on it to try to justify your skills of a designer why not hear both sides and either agree or disagree and not get so angry about it. Because at the end of the day it’s only a FAKE LOGO!


  42. John,

    Flash websites are terrible for usability, seo (especially the hidden text, eek!), pretty much everything. Also if you’re going to use it (especially for a design portfolio) you might want a higher quality swf. If you want I’d be happy to give you a quote for a real, working website. Everything you’ve done there is easily transferable to HTML/CSS with a little javascript mixed in. I’d also suggest a shorter description (yours is about 185 chars too long) and a more descriptive title. You also choose your character maps twice (One ISO-8859-1 and one UTF-8) which is usually not a good idea (not that it really matters without visible text on the page).

    I do appreciate your constructive thoughts on the fake logo matter. I really wasn’t trying to make it about me, but hey I have no problem with you trying to call me out.

    Anyway, hope you use the website advice (even if you don’t really care about your presence on the web).


  43. I think if someone wants to create fake logos, great, to each his own, get some experience, master the tools.

    I start to get annoyed when I see that logo’s are being sold online. It was bad enough when people were selling web design templates for $25, or companies that say they can design your logo for under $100 dollars. That’s where every designer out there is being screwed a little more with every person who contributes to that, either buying or selling. You are devaluing your work and every other designer out there.

    When you start selling your logo or “brand” it becomes just another piece of stock art, or basically a template. You’ve stolen someone else’s potential client so you could sell your idea for basically pennies, when if a client went to a firm it would cost thousands. So why do it?

    Stop diminishing the quality of design, you’re only damaging your future.

  44. Not to get into school yard tantrums – and not that I like the execution of the logo you highlight but the comment above re the Kerning – where were you taught – if you leave kerning as standard or constant for every character set the typography is goddamn awful

    You highlight the W against the O this is a classic case these letters need to be moved together with inconsistent kerning as the slant of the w against the round of the o leaves a visually awkward gap and your other highlights on the lower word – the spacing for what ever reason is consistent within the word itself ok maybe not with the top text but thats because as far as i can see its a bigger point size – if it was the same kerning as the text above then you be complaining it was visually too squashed.

    As I say i’m not keen on the logo itself – but to slag off with “design 101” when you yourself seem a bit naive makes you look an even bigger fool!

    Tell you what lob up one of your designs and we can pick that to shreds – I have no idea on the experience of the 1 world hope designer he might be a high school kid for all i know – and furthermore i can’t be bothered to find out either but less of the slagging off

    My design degree many moons ago when quark design was a two floppy disk shuffle in and out of the machine – we spent the first year hand rendering type to appreciate letterforms and the value of white space – my favourite phrase from those times from one of our lecturers:

    “White space the lungs of the layout – let it breathe son, let it breathe”

    Always makes me smile.

    Anyway Friday afternoon rant over 🙂

  45. It is always the challenge of the type designer to create characters that together form a coherently designed alphabet or in this case a word, yet are different enough from each other to distinguish themselves. What some fail to understand is that the art of kerning a typeface is as subjective a discipline as is the drawing of the letters themselves. When effective communication is the ultimate goal, it makes sense to consider the tried and true and to sometimes forgo imposing preferences that favor aesthetics.

    Hey look the topic changed again. Unless we are now talking about fake kerning. 🙂

    A big hip hip hooray for it being Friday!!!

  46. its funny how when ever someone makes a comment you go and start to make a comment about theirs like it’s a school yard childrens game.
    FYI you shouldn’t throw stones when you can’t even do the simple basic design 101 and KERN!

  47. Jon – Above – I think the issue of fake or not isn’t the problem – I think the main thread is the fact that its not shown or confirmed as conceptual and potentially passed off as a live job – at the end of the day yes it shows creativity and idea generation but it’s like the perfect brief – with no client saying “I don’t like that – it can’t be red – i don’t like the scroll stuff – It needs a photo of shaking hands 😉 etc…”.

    What i would say is what ever you do don’t stop designing logo’s as that’s your passion and if you can’t get live briefs then by all means make them up – but be honest about it – say conceptual in your portfolio then the audience can judge it by those merits.

    I have worked for some large companies whilst doing this (not intrested in name dropping) and i’ve seen ideas and concepts for some of these brands over the internet.

    And the stuff I have seen – i’d be the first to say there were hot designs, cutting edge and fresh and made we want to see more of their work.

    Some by students, freelancers and even studios etc… and yet have heard first hand (from the person who would actually make the decision) that the concept would never see the light of day for that business – its too cool – too far out there – to off brand – the list goes on…

    Yet nowhere did it say conceptual when you see it in these portfolios – so it passes it self off as real live work or in these cases work for a massive brand!

    Be honest I think is the point that’s being made – if the design I have seen was labeled as conceptual – I would still have thought it was cool, rather than prompted to ask where it was used and to find out it wasn’t 🙂

    More two pence worth – i think thats about six pence today!

  48. I like fake logos because they are more challenging to me than doing real ones. With real logos a client gives me specifications. I know what typefaces I am limited to, I know what colors I am limited to, etc. With a fake logo I have no real limits which can be paralyzing.

    I also agree with Jon P, we need to keep designing regardless of whether or not we are getting paid for it. Would you expect a photographer to only shoot pictures when they are getting paid for it?

    For example I needed a poster design sample and have never actually done one before. So I ranged through other interests and settled on one from World of Warcraft. I took the Karazhan raid instance’s Romulo & Julianne opera boss and turned it into a poster. It even gave me an idea to do a series for the other two events, Big Bad Wolf & Oz.

    In my opinion, any kind of work for fake companies is akin to web designers making things like WordPress themes. They may never get used at all let alone in a real business, but they still are demonstrations of how you use your tools, why you use them, and how you think/create.

  49. I get the feeling from some that logo designers are expected to be artists but not act like artists. Once you’ve made the decision to design for money, you can no longer simply design for creativity’s sake. And god forbid you should sell anything you did design just for creativity’s sake. No, it is ok to walk in and buy a photo or print from a ‘real’ artist that they did for creativity’s sake, but you are breaking a rule if you buy a design or logo from a ‘real’ designer who did it simply for creativity’s sake.

    Minds won’t be changed by arguing this to death. Let’s agree to disagree and go about our professional lives, shall we? Unless of course you think me selling a concept logo will somehow kill your ability to design.

  50. I disagree – business is the wild west – if you can do the job who cares where you portfolio came from – that’s just goofy!

  51. A logo whether fake or not has merit the point being missed is the different disciplines – admittedly the line is feint. But a logo is a logo it communicates something unfortunately one is imaginary and is limited by constraints needed to fulfil a brief while the other still adhering to the previous has a bias. that being the constraints are non existent and the bias tends to be a cool trend to fit the name, not that there is something wrong with that. A logo created and sold via incspring is a totally different topic, it fits a demographic who mould their brand to the logo as they feel it fits. Whether a superstore of logos is the answer who know – we all gotta eat !

    The only amusing part of this whole debacle is the passion which has degenerated into name calling and condemnation of another persons craft. An artist is an artist but does that fit the profile i think not. The aim of the average logo designer is to have their brand seen.

    The logo designer will create a virtual sketchbook of logos which in turn is an additional resource or income and for that their is nothing wrong as long as you can back up the creativity with a real world situation.

  52. Not sure if you pulled that One World, One Hope logo from my site or what, but that wasn’t the final one. You can tell because the purple coloring on the relay for life part is off and there is a shadow behind the ACS logo. I’m truly flattered that you wasted your time picking it apart, though.

  53. I never called that design the Mona Lisa or even my best work for that matter, either lol. I just said that it is nice to see the reach of one’s work. Maybe you don’t know anything about that, I’ve never heard of you. Feel free to continue on with your witch hunt.

  54. Someday, Stacey Martin, when you have over 20 years experience under your belt, a dozen wonderful but unused concepts hanging around in your computer, and the economy has put a hit on your industry, you’ll find offering logos and brands for sale thru your own site or a specialty site a real blessing.

  55. Well, everyone here has some great points (and a few not so great ones), but hey at least we are all passionate about what we do.

    My opinion…I for one love doing logos. When I was in design school, logos were my favorite things to work on. However, the path my design career has taken (and it is still a young career) has led me to working as an inhouse designer. I still get a few freelance clients a year, but the vast majority of my work is done for 3-5 different companies. This means I’ve ended up designing brochures, folders, page inserts, and webpages. Also laying out newsletters, managing marketing projects/campaignes and doing web maintenance.

    The problem: As I stated above, I love doing logos. But with no recent clients needing logos, what do I do? Do I just sit on my hands…maybe sketch out an idea I have but do nothing with it because there is no “real” company picking it apart or paying for it? I have no problem with stating weather or not the company is real, if/when I put them in my portfolio (which BTW I will be adding a few “fake” logos to my site once I have finished updating it), but I don’t think it is fair of some of the design community to look down on me, or anyone, as a designer just because I like to practice/create logos that I thought up the company for.

    Painters paint…writers write…signers sing…designers design. If you stop doing what you love just because there isn’t someone paying you for it, then I would say you are selling yourself short on what you can achieve. You ever here the saying “use it or lose it”? Well, I think if your don’t practice your art/trade/skill, you WILL lose your edge.

    And BTW…who cares if “fake” logos are put in a portfolio? The logo itself shows technical ability, style and the creative spark of the designer, weather it is a “real” logo or not.

  56. As much as this got heated at times I think it’s still a great topic and sparked some good dialog (good & bad). Everyone will have a different opinion on this and to each their own. People can agree to disagree.

    Every designer will have a different approach to logo design and their process.

    “I like fake logos because they are more challenging to me than doing real ones. With real logos a client gives me specifications. I know what typefaces I am limited to, I know what colors I am limited to, etc. With a fake logo I have no real limits which can be paralyzing.”

    I can see this happening with some clients that already has a brand in place with guidelines to follow with limitations outlined in the client spec. For the most part I think most designers are given the opportunity to develop a overall style for the client to follow. Colors, typefaces etc. I understand you do have clients that dictate and also clients that design by committee but the designer can try to work through those challenges and at times can either work in what the client wants and what the designer thinks can work better and both walk away with a project everyone can be happy with. Sometimes (depending on the designer) may think that’s more of a challenge to make something work with certain limitations in place. Then again everyone works different.

    There is a place for fake logos or what ever you want to call them. I agree 100% they should be done and no reason not to. Some designers will have strong opinions on this topic and we can all agree to disagree with each other. Name calling and trashing each others designs or capabilities wont make things any better. If someone that designs conceptual (much better then the word fake) logos feel it’s more of a challenge so be it. Each their own.

    Everyone outlined the reason why they feel the way they do. Others can see both sides of this topic and come to their own conclusion.

    Re:the kerning topic above.
    Kerning is used to give the type the best visual appeal and there is no guide/rule to dictate that process.


  57. Tom,

    I’m sorry but most logos I’ve done for clients do not solve problems. My realtor clients just want something that looks like a house and their mug shot in the logo. My insurance clients want something that represents them or the region (like the state of Texas or a fleur de lis) and their mug shot in the logo. Others just want something pretty that uses their favorite color or they want something ubber profession which for them is just a simple font (serif is too feminine! huh?). Maybe super large companies with committees and investors have problems their logos need to solve for them, but most small businesses and start ups I work with, that is not the case at all. I have to remind them of their target audience and what new audiences they want to target. I have to do the the research and educate them. If I did a fake logo, I would put myself into that fake business and do the research just like I would for a client. I’m not saying fake logos are better, but they usually have a lot more going for them than must a good idea and good execution. Designers like me and others who have been designing for 15 years or more, really do know better than most clients. When you get there you’ll know what I mean.

  58. Ok – I have a FAKE logo that I would like critiquing that I cam up with after reading this thread – look forward to your feedback

    Tried to give it that modern feel and yet stick with a classical typeface and also get some typographic ligatures in there – hell i even did a bit of kerning – only thing i missed out is some shine on the border and maybe a reflection

    Look forward to your feedback – and hey its for sale just after it goes in my portfolio 🙂

  59. Just a small question to Trish

    surely by reminding them of their demoographic and what they are attaining to project, whether its what they do or to stand out from a plethora of other companies say in the insurance field.

    Isnt that problem solving? Big or small makes no difference 15 years plus or nothing ….

  60. Tom,
    For the sake of the discussion – I think your talking rubbish!

    “I would put myself into that fake business and do the research just like I would for a client.”

    Sorry but I would say that most conceptual/fake logos stem from a creative idea of something that looks good aesthetically and fits a graphic idea/concept – not one that is driven from a conceptual/fake business with made up products and demographics and target markets and then after having and researching that fake business the idea is created from that.

    However on another point if a conceptual/fake logo aligns with a business who comes along and they decide they want it and want to pay for it – fair enough.

    but don’t take it personally 🙂

  61. What’s weird is you are all proving my points. I know you think you are disagreeing, but you aren’t. And I have to say that it does erk me when I have to do all the business research for a client. I do it because I want to do right by them, but obviously they should care more. Oh, and I’ve been designing for over 25 years myself, just FYI. Yes, I started BEFORE computers when you actually had to be able to draw and use a stat camera. But that is beside the point. I am so used to researching my clients’ industries and businesses that I do it automatically now. When I come up with an illustration for a logo that is not accepted by the client, I take it and mold it to another industry and sell it as a concept. The questions you bring up when problem solving for a logo design are completely automatic to me. Even though I realize, realistically, that all of that problem solving means next to nothing to your average client. Most clients are linear thinkers and you are asking them to think abstract… an artist’s specialty. They want what they want and you give it to them or don’t get paid. For me ‘fake’ logos are usually more creative, have more thought put into them, solve more ‘problems’ then most logos I do for clients. NOT all, mind you, but most.

  62. Oh, and Paul, that quote is from me, not Tom. Try reading the posts rather than skimming them.

  63. Good Blog! I agree, that “fake” logos have their place in the design portfolio. It’s an opportunity to really showcase creativity and problem solving, without the constraints of real world. Plus its good exercise!

  64. True. Especially for a college student like me – who hasn’t got lots of logo design job. Fake logo can help me to improve my portfolio, so people can know how much my skill is.

  65. Trish,
    The question was directed to Rashael in regards to It’s an opportunity to really showcase creativity and problem solving

    I will like to add without getting into the name calling shit-fest
    Designers like me and others who have been designing for 15 years or more, When you get there you’ll know what I mean.

    Without knowing anything about me and the time I’ve been professionally in this field, you really shouldn’t assume anything or direct a comment like that towards me. If you would like you could contact me direct and we can compare what we both have done over the years and the length of time we’ve been designing. So contact me.

  66. Trish,
    For the sake of discussion I would put myself into that fake business and do the research just like I would for a client.

    If you were to do research for designing a logo for a fake business would you first start off by coming up with a business plan for the fake business? What type of product will this fake business sell. Will it be a B2B? B2C? Will this fake business need to get funding? Will this fake business need to embrace the Social Media? What demographic will this fake business need to be successful? Will their be any testing? Sure if you did do all that for the sake of a fake logo then there is ALL your talking points to a problem solving with a fake logo for a fake business. It will also give ALL talking point when explaining all your choices you made in your design.

    You get what i’m saying right? I’m not saying this is needed to design for a fake logo by no means. This is mainly towards your comment above how you will put yourself into the fake business and research.


  67. Trish,
    I do agree for the most part in what you’re saying. It’s the solving problem part that I don’t. So I will agree to disagree. 🙂

    Wow a Stat camera I haven’t used one of those whoa for a long long long time. Oh how times have changed.

  68. I’ve been silently following all of your (quite heated) comments and I believe both sides make some valid points, however, I still stand by my opinion as stated in the original article.

    Thanks again for your feedback and please do continue commenting.

  69. I’ve been doing design for 20+ years but I have only had 3 logo projects. When I had those in my portfolio, people would ask, “Is that it?” In the end I didn’t get those logo jobs. I removed the logos in my portfolio and have not had to deal with those questions. Now I am going to add them back and make some ‘fake’ ones to show that I can create logos even though I haven’t had many in the past. (I’ll label them ‘just for fun’ or some such thing…)
    Thanks Jacob.

  70. Label them ‘logo concept’. I really don’t think a client needs to know if you did it for artistic practice, for a school project, for fun or for profit. Leave it open so you can submit them as a logo idea to a future client or sell them through an online venue later. If they ask, speak the truth. But concept is enough to tell most people the logo was never finalized, bought or in use by a previous client.

  71. I’ve been also struggling with whether to show my “just for fun” works in my portfolio. What can a beginner do to get some work visible?

    Thanks for posting, now I know what needs to be done for this to work out. 🙂

  72. I think the discussion has taken a turn from the original post. My understanding was that the debate was over whether or not logos should contain a ‘fake’ disclosure, and not whether or not they should be used at all.

    I think we’re all in agreement with the quote in the original post “does it give an accurate representation of a designer’s ability to deal with real-world client demands and actual company requirements? I’d say no.”, however, I think the debate really needs to be surrounding the reasons why a fake logo within a portfolio would be misleading to a client.

    Very few portfolios give a breakdown of the strategic information given to them, and even fewer show the brief that they were given. Without these 2 pieces of information, EVERY logo in a portfolio has no context.

    Even some of the best logos may have been off brief. Does it give an accurate representation of a designer’s ability to deal with real-world client demands and actual company requirements? I’d say no.

    If you’re applying a rule, at least be consistent. Under this pretense, we either provide a full explanation of every logo or we have a blank page.

  73. Well, this has been my experience when providing a portfolio (please, share your own experiences). Certainly if a potential employer asks for samples or require you send in entire portfolio without a face to face interview, all they are looking for are examples of your skill level. Once you are there, one on one, in an interview situation with a potential employer, you go through your portfolio and you break each piece down. For printed pieces, what the client was looking for along with how you took care of the printing. For logos you outline the ‘brief’ (if there was one) or simply state the client’s expectations, any research you did into the client’s industry and your design solutions accordingly. If you want to put a summary with every piece in your portfolio, that is fine. But I certainly don’t think you should put “fake” or “real” next to anything. Both are too simplistic and misleading in the long run.

  74. Trish–
    One thing I do with my sample books is the inside cover has a list of all clients and services along with a brief description below each sample with a closing page with customer quotes. This gives more than enough for a potential client to review without having a face-to-face.

    If you’re starting out and with no client list I would just word it in a way that makes it clear. This goes beyond logos. I’ve seen so many portfolios that are misleading. Even ones that say “their client XXX” when it’s not their client and was a project they worked on while freelancing at XXX agency and when you dig deeper only to find out they did the production on a project.
    I know off topic. This along with designers showcasing work they didn’t even design oh don’t get me started. LOL


  75. I’ve not had much success with fake logos myself, but at the same time I only have designed a handful of client logos so I can see why it might be a good thing to pad with a few fake logos.

    I’ve never heard of logopond but it looks very useful. Thanks for the heads up!

  76. Tom,
    In my opinion conceptual logos are still starting with a problem statement. It may not be the multi-faceted, complex problem statements we have with client logos, but they still begin with a question. Its that journey from the question (no matter how simple) to a solution that gives you insight into how a designer thinks and what you may be able to expect from them. Thats why I find them relevant in a portfolio. However, I agree that people may use it to mislead.

    We may be defining problem solving differently, or have different philosophies on design process, or just agreeing to disagree. 🙂
    Regardless, I respect your professional opinion and thank you for asking. Sorry it took so long to respond.


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