What Makes a Good Logo?
When you hear the word ‘brand’ there’s a good chance you may have mentally pictured one or more classic logos from well-known companies—perhaps the Nike ‘swoosh’ or the cursively written Coca Cola. It’s only logical that you do so. After all, a logo is nothing more nor less than the graphic embodiment of the whole brand. This is why—when you have a logo created for your company—you will want to put a lot of thought and care into the process.
You see, good logos don’t just happen. Yes, if you managed to create an amazing invention, or come up with a fantastic new taste sensation, one of the doodles you penned along the way might make for a memorable logo, but don’t count on it. Nor is this a job for that nephew in high school who has a ‘knack for art-stuff.’ For while it’s true that a young design intern came up with that afore-mentioned Nike swoosh (and received a whopping $35 for her effort), the company’s own graphics team still spent a lot of time refining the concept.
Okay, let’s consider what makes for a good logo. There are basically five criteria to be met:
Eye-catching – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? That’s true to a certain extent, however there are certain principles of design that hold up fairly well across all cultures and demographics. For example, balance is always important—we like things to ‘feel even.’ Color choices are also critical for a whole host of reasons for which entire books have been dedicated. Over all, a good logo will have elements composed with clear, distinct lines that imply complexity, yet are quite simple if considered separately.
Unique – Distinctiveness is a key objective of any successful logo design, and will go a long way toward making the image—and by extension, the brand—especially memorable. One good way to achieve this, is by incorporating the company’s name (or some element of the name) into the design. Or if possible, a visual representation of the company name might prove to be perfect.
Enduring – Imagine how much trouble people would have recognizing you, if every time you left home you had a different face? That’s the problem companies experience if they frequently change their logos. When you select a logo design, think of it as something that’s going to be around a long, long time (though a “facelift” or two over the years may be okay). Stay away from elements that are likely to become dated or obsolete, choosing instead those that can be modified with ease while remaining thoroughly identifiable.
Functional – Just think of all the places that a logo can appear … that’s pretty much anywhere. From business cards to billboards and websites to weekly flyers, your logo is going to have to step in and say “This is who we are!” The logo will need to be scalable, ready for instant plug-in, and flexible enough to easily go from being the dominant image to barely noticeable—depending on the circumstances and the communications in which it appears.
Meaningful – A good logo doesn’t have to spell out what a company does, but it should at least hint in that direction. A great logo not only does that, it also manages to elicit feelings of anticipation, appreciation or kinship with members of the target audience, and offers an implied value proposition that sets the company apart from all others.
Make selecting your logo the high priority it deserves to be. Remember, after determining your company’s value proposition, there is no more important element in branding your business than your logo. Whether rendered in full color or black and white, your logo will usually have the last word in affixing your marketing message in the mind of the public at large. Make it a good one!
Check out the links below for some logo inspiration!