What Makes a Good Logo?
Designer Karl Lagerfeld once famously said, “Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English–but are great in remembering signs.”
Does this resonate with the logos you’ve been using? There are a number of tips you can employ to create a better logo — at the end of the day, though, a logo is the ultimate translation of a brand, and making a simple yet recognizable logo is often a lot harder than companies like Target or Nike make it look. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Conveying the Feeling of the Brand
On a very basic level, logos are introductions to brands. Logos not only need to be identifiable; they need to convey what their brand is about in an incredibly brief way.
Take the Apple logo, for instance. It started out as a complicated graphic then was gradually pared down and simplified into one smooth shape — reflecting overall changes being made to the Apple brand, which was increasingly focused on designing sleek, modern hardware to accompany their software.
In other words, your brand should give people an idea of the general “tone” of your company, whether it’s defined by being flirty and fun or trustworthy and steady. Different fonts, colors, and simple shapes — like the “ →” in Amazon’s logo — can help to convey this.
Simple is Better
As DesignShack points out, “keep it simple, stupid.” The temptation to keep adding to your logo will be a strong one, but it’s better to be represented by an iconic image of one product rather than three; and the more pared down an iconic landscape logo can be, the easier it will be for consumers to recognize at a glance.
Take Notice of the Nitty Gritty Details
Going back to the first tip; how exactly do you convey a feeling for your brand in such a small and focused space? Take the evolution of Twitter’s logo as an example. Twitter’s logo initially was a perched bird; the bird was eventually shown to take flight, successfully conveying Twitter’s aptitude for quick messages instantly conveyed to a group of followers. This was then further modified so that the bird is flying at an upward angle, giving it a sense of motion and “new trajectory.”
In today’s online world, it’s very important that your logo can be just as effective if it’s taking up a billboard or a tiny icon space as a phone app. A scalable logo is a logo that can be understood even if it’s just half an inch tall. Remember: this is why very complicated logos tend to crash and burn. On a smaller scale they become unrecognizable.
Don’t Take Shortcuts
For businesses that don’t see a logo as “key” to their identity, it can be tempting to take shortcuts — whether this is using clipart as a logo, using a logo you found online, or hiring a designer off Craigslist for $50. These decisions will come back to bite you, though. A logo will sometimes be the first thing a consumer notices about your brand, and a logo that has had no thought put into it will not instill confidence in the products and services you have to offer.
In short: when it comes to what makes a good logo, there is no one determining factor. Great logos are easy to recognize, successfully convey a brand message, are adaptable to numerous mediums (especially phones!) and are unique.
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