How to produce a great animated logo

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I remember going to the cinema as a child and forcing my parents to go in early so we didn’t miss two things – the trailers for upcoming films and, more importantly, the film studios opening ident. There was only one thing more annoying for my parents than people eating popcorn loudly and that was me humming the ‘Universal Pictures’ ident theme tune.

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A good ident or animated logo gets the audience ready for what is about to come. It sets the tone in the first 10 seconds and lets the audience know that ‘the show is about to begin’.

With the advancement of animation editing software over the past few years it has been made possible to create a logo animation for pretty much any type of show. Be that an independent film, TV show or even a personal YouTube channel.

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However, to create a logo animation that encompasses what the company represents takes a lot more than simply adding a couple of cool SFX and spinning a logo.

Listen to the client

First and foremost you have to understand what the client requires. What we as designers may see as ‘visual perfection’ is not necessarily the client’s cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t suggest or persuade the client to go a certain way with the animation. After all, they have chosen you because of your outstanding portfolio (or your dad is the CEO!). You simply need to listen to their requirements and not get carried away with ‘your vision’. I find the best way to start a project is ask questions, lots of questions. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the project and also gives you a great base for the do’s and don’ts.

And remember – the client is paying

I used to shout at advertisements on television when my favourite show was rudely interrupted by them – but then I got thinking. The show that I love so much wouldn’t have been made if not for the adverts between breaks – they fund the show.

Always try to remember this – you wouldn’t be creating this piece of work if it were not for client.

Don’t rush

When a new project lands on my desk I want to jump straight in and get to the fun stuff – the animating. That’s when I put the kettle on and take five minutes to think. The pre-production process of any piece of work is the most important part of any project, no matter how small. This is where your ideas should flow out of you – don’t hold back. I get everything down on paper. Even if it sounds too far-fetched I still fill page after page with ideas. This has a knock on effect. One idea leads on to another until eventually – hey presto, Eureka, yes! You arrive at the perfect idea.

Keep in touch

No one likes to be left in the dark. When working on a logo animation I keep the client up to date with my progress. I produce a lot of logo animations remotely and sometimes never meet the client in person. So by updating them it keeps them involved with the project and they don’t feel like they have no input. This is also a great way to highlight any delays or problems faced during production.

Tweaks are inevitable

You have done it. The perfect logo animation is complete and you send it to the client for review. Every designer wants to hear the words “it’s perfect – nothing needs changing”. However, this is very rare. The client will always want to amend or tweak some part of the animation so be prepared. All feedback is useful and you will learn key skills by taking all feedback on board and learning from it.

Creating a logo animation for a client is a big reasonability – it represents them. But as long as you ask plenty of questions, listen and are able to tweak the ‘untweakable’ you will create logo animations you and your client will be proud of.

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Joe Skillington

Author: Joe Skillington

Joe Skillington is passionate about video production and animation. He has worked with an extensive amount of clients and likes to share his experiences with anyone who wants to listen.