A good logo should be relatively simple, memorable, unique, timeless, and appropriate. Being aesthetically pleasing doesn’t hurt either. Lets explore what makes an effective logo design:
One of the more challenging tasks for any logo designer, can be explaining to a client the importance of keeping a logo design relatively simple. Many people approach a designer with an existing idea, which is often times overly complex or elaborate. It is the designer’s job to explain why “less is more” when it comes to logo design.
Reasons to keep logos simple:
- More identifiable when viewed at smaller sizes (business cards, web logo, etc).
- Easier to recognize when printed at lower quality or on rougher surfaces (clothing, newspaper).
- Require less time to retain visually and are easier to remember.
Ways to avoid an overly complex logo:
- Use distinct lines, clean shapes and legible text.
- Don’t try to say too much. A logo doesn’t need to incorporate every aspect of a business.
There is a fine line that must be walked by designers when it comes to creating “simple” logo/identities. Many of the best logos are very simple in nature, however going too simple invites greater possibility of creating a design that closely mimics one of the millions of other designs in existence.
A logo is often the first thing people will see when introduced to a company. Which is why it’s so important to make a good first impression…a memorable one.
For a logo to leave a lasting impression, it should:
- Be consistent with using the same color schemes when ever possible.
- Be used when ever possible (business cards, letterhead, vehicle, clothing, web).
- Be unique.
- Be simple and uncluttered.
A great looking logo is useless if it doesn’t properly represent what it’s being created for. Having a logo that is not appropriate or relevant may give the wrong impression, detour potential customers and ultimately hurt sales.
An appropriate logo will:
- Properly reflect the feeling or vibe of the business, either literally or figuratively.
- Avoid use of lettering/type that misrepresents the style of the a business.
- Usually avoid colors that don’t embody the style of the business.
A versatile logo is one that can be used in unlimited applications (website, business card, vehicle lettering, apparel, etc) with no troubles. Some logos are created for web use only, so this isn’t a concern, but for all the rest, this is an important thing to consider.
A versatile logo will:
- Look good in smaller sizes (on business cards, etc).
- Work well in single color. Does the logo look good when printed in reverse color?
- Not rely on color to achieve it’s effect.
- Not be overly detailed.
- Not be too tall or too wide.
For a logo to be unique, it not only needs to be different, it needs to properly represent the business it is being created for. Simply creating an abstract or overly elaborate graphic will certainly make it unique, but is it appropriate, versatile, memorable, etc? An effective logo will be all of these things.
Here are some ways to achieve a more unique logo:
- Being aware of the cliche, overused imagery and logo styles. This way they can be avoided.
- Researching the business and it’s competitors. The more that is known, the easier it is to personalize a logo.
- Being careful of designing logos that are too simple. The likelihood that some other designer had the same very idea is greater.
Having to frequently update a dated logo is bad for a business trying to establish a recognizable brand or identity. The greatest logo designs stand the test of time. Coca Cola is a perfect example. The same logo concept created over 100 years ago is still being used today. While it’s rare that a company uses the same design for this long, it is not uncommon for large brands to stick with the same logo concept for long periods of time.
For a logo to last, it should:
- Be able to adapt to company growth. An overly specific logo will prove difficult if it’s business decides to branch out into new services or offer new products.
- Avoid trends. Every year, new logo trends are the craze, until the next craze of course.
A logo can follow all of the principles addressed above, but if it’s ugly it just won’t be very effective. It doesn’t take a trained eye for people to notice poor looking design.
To create better looking logos:
- Use typefaces that match the style of the logo graphic.
- Avoid using too many colors and colors that clash.
- Keep things visually balanced as best as possible.
- Pay special attention to the details.
Please share your thoughts or add to the discussion.