Put simply, a good logo is a vital part of the overall branding success of your company. Saul Bass, a leading American graphic designer said “Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company.” The use of graphics, marks, or symbols can differentiate companies and products in the most basic way and at a single glance, a user can see a logo and resonate with the brand it represents.
With so many logos in circulation, it’s not very hard to find examples of great, and not-so-great, logos in use. That being said, what makes them different? What qualities make a great logo? What makes it resonate with a viewer? And most importantly, what can your company do to ensure its logo represents the brand effectively?
So glad you asked! Here are our Top 5 Qualities of a Great Logo design, and some tips to put them into practice for your company so you can take your brand to the next level.
DON’T be forgettable. DO leave an impression.
If there’s something to strive for, it’s retention. That may seem like a complex task, but it very well could be the most important quality. You want your logo to capture attention and leave a lasting impression. For example, a great logo design will be memorable enough that a viewer who sees it only once could recall it enough to describe it to someone else.
The more easily recognized, the bolder your brand presence is.
Ask yourself: Can this logo make a lasting impression on my audience? Tip: A memorable logo finds the right balance of visual and textual aspects. It can cohesively and clearly communicate your company’s brand, personality, and tone.
DO consider various applications. DON’T design for just one size or medium.
A great logo can be printed in various sizes across multiple mediums. Think web, letterhead, signs, print ads, and even video. If your logo only exists in one size, it greatly reduces your ability to show your brand to the world (and that’s the point, right?). Choosing a logo that can be printed, resized, or placed on different media makes your company and brand significantly more visible.
Another aspect of adaptability is the arrangement of the elements. Can it have both a vertical and horizontal version? If there’s a mark, can it live independently of the text without losing impact? On a design level, keeping the clutter to a minimum and opting for a simple design will instantly make your logo more versatile. Having too many lines, elements, or colors can create a complicated design that will scale poorly.
Ask yourself: Will this logo be effective as a letterhead as well as on a billboard? Will it work in full color as well as black and white? Tip: Keep in mind that you have limited real estate, and focus on saying more with less. Try starting with a black and white logo first, and then add color. This will keep the focus on the overall design first, and by bringing in your brand colors you will personalize it and make it pop!
DO streamline your design. DON’T overcomplicate things.
We touched on this a bit in the previous quality, but it’s worthy of an explanation. Simplicity is a key ingredient for logos because most consumers only focus on a logo for a short period of time. Simple logos will focus on highlighting the most important parts of a brand’s personality. For example, a symbol can be a really powerful way to ensure simplicity and can encourage an association with a set of values.
We’ve all heard of the elevator pitch, right? Well your logo is the elevator pitch to your company. You get a brief moment to convey all kinds of things about your business or product, so you might as well do it concisely and with an impact.
Ask yourself: Could someone look at this logo and easily describe it? Or is it too complicated to get a sense of quickly? Tip: Try focusing on using as few elements as possible so the logo represents the brand in its most basic form. It’s all about appreciating that a simpler logo design equals a more memorable logo design.
DON’T be too trendy. DO aim for longevity.
Trends come and go, so don’t make the mistake of hanging your hat on something that’s really popular today and leaving yourself open to a redesign in the future. You’re in it for the long haul, so shouldn’t your brand be? The best logos stand out from the rest because they continue to remain relevant.
Timeless logos focus on quality over quantity. This means utilizing only your brand’s core ideas and values, but be unique with it! Even in industries where there’s a norm for designs, your logo should aim to stand out from the rest. This makes for easier recognition and avoiding just fading in among all the others.
Here are some examples of timeless logos:
Ask yourself: Will this logo still be relevant in a year? In five? Can it withstand years or decades of changes in the industry? Tip: Avoid looking outward for overall concepts, focus on your company’s core values and mission statement and build from there. At the end of the day, it’s not the logo that makes the company, it’s the company that makes the logo. The image is just that without the connection to your company and the quality it provides.
DO think about your industry. DON’T feel the need to be obvious.
An effective logo design should be appropriate, but that doesn’t mean it has to be incredibly obvious. There are a couple of aspects you can focus on with this one to help convey relevancy but still maintain individuality. The colors you choose can trigger different emotional responses and energy to the viewer. For example, a company that sells toys for children may choose bright colors that communicate excitement and fun, while a technology company would steer away from those colors because they might convey a childish or whimsical feel and not encourage a feeling of confidence.
Another important component in the relevancy of a logo is your font choice. Fonts help communicate your brand’s tone and its values, which ultimately help define your personality better. More angular and thin fonts are ideal for highlighting a company that works in technology while softer cursives are great for companies that work in jewelry or women’s products.
Think about your market and what they’re accustomed to seeing, you can put a spin on it but you don’t want to reach too far out of the industry you’re trying to tap in to.
Ask yourself: Does this logo communicate the right tone and style? Does it show, or in some way hint, at what type of business or product it’s representing? Tip: Learn from others that are successful, emulate them, and improve on what they have done. Inspiration is crucial in brainstorming for new ideas. Remember though, if inspiration is key then so is creativity.
Bonus tip: Don’t be married to your first idea! Engage a professional when designing your logo. A professional designer can help you discover impactful elements of your brand that you might not see because you’re too close to the forest. Take a step back and listen to the opinions of others, because there just might be something worth implementing. Our team of designers and creative problem solvers are here to help you when making this important decision–reach out to us today or check out some examples of our work!