Before answering the question, “What makes a good logo,” it’s important to know what a logo is supposed to do. A logo’s job is to represent what a brand stands for, to be a visual cue for something much larger than itself. A logo should be a trigger for brand recognition, whether you see it at the bottom of an ad or as a sticker on someone’s laptop. It should encompass everything you want to say about your brand in a compact, easy-to-recognize symbol. In order to do its job correctly, a logo has to be simple, versatile, relevant to the times, and appropriate for its consumers.
Many designers are taught about the K.I.S.S. Principle of design, which translates to Keep it Simple, Stupid. A good logo should be simple enough to convey the message of the brand without adding too much clutter. Unless the “clutter” is vital to the brand’s heritage, simple symbols are the way to go. Keep in mind that some of the most recognized logos in the world can be drawn by a five-year old.
It’s inevitable that logos will be used by many different people and across many different media. While creating a logo, it’s important to think of where it may end up and whose hands it may be in. Creating a style guide can help, but if you can only give someone your logo accompanied by a 200-page style guide, you might want to reconsider your choices. Think of designing a logo design as like designing a toy for kids: you want it to be flexible so it can be used in a variety of ways and simple enough that no one can destroy it.
it’s important to stay on top of design trends. Ideally, a logo should be created to be timeless (like the Coca Cola logo), but what’s standard practice today might not be popular twenty years down the road. If the brand and character behind the logo is evolving with the times, so should the logo.
Logos should be appropriate for the clientele they’re advertising to. Toy store logos should be loud and colorful, and a law firm logo should be calm and serious. However, logos do not have to be literal representations of what their companies sell. The Harley Davidson logo does not include a motorcycle, and the Apple logo does not feature a computer. A logo does not need to explain a company’s whole story, it is purely for identification.
It’s important to note that a logo is nothing without a solid company to back it up. A logo helps a consumer remember your brand. It’s a visual trigger that they associate with a good company or service.
"A poor logo doesn't mean a business will fail, and a good logo doesn't mean it will succeed—it just helps. Ultimately a good logo is something that people recognize instantly and relate to.” —Matt Mickiewicz
Let your logo do its job. Keeping it simple, versatile, relevant, and appropriate will help your company excel in our fast-paced consumer society.
If you have questions or need help with designing and developing branding for your company, . We’re a full-service marketing agency with offices in Denver, Des Moines, and Huron. Schedule a consultation today!