There are good logos, and there are bad logos out there. Even among designers, there is always debate about what makes a good logo—designing logos that are as iconic as the apple logo doesn’t happen by chance.
Interrogate your logo. What does your logo say about your company or brand? Will people remember it, and will people understand what it is?
This blog will cover the three core factors behind the design of logos:
- The core qualities of a good logo
- The five principles of an effective design for logos
- What to avoid in logo design
What makes a good logo?
A good logo is distinctive, simple, graphic in form, and conveys information about the brand. It is common for modern companies to operate under a mission statement. A good, effective logo will consider these core concepts at the earliest stage of the design process. Many companies opt for simple logos with unique shapes as a logo should be recognizable at any size and regardless of the color scheme.
Another critical component of good logo design is composition. Getting the composition of a logo right is the essential aspect of executing a design brief. When visual design elements appear even a little bit too big or too small or are at a strange angle to one another, the effect is instantaneously jarring.
Well-proportioned logos are in balance. A strong design has a focal point that provides visual emphasis. It is the part of the design that makes the most important stand out.
Design research has proven that white space actively increases understanding and readability. Good logos can make use of these findings to improve comprehension. While tried and tested design practices such as the rule of thirds are a simple way to ensure that a logo will have pleasing proportions.
Still, before we get into the specifics of logo design, remember that a great logo relies on having a strong concept, well-executed.
What is a logo?
A logo is often a customer’s first impression of a company or brand. It is an identifier that a customer will use when weighing up your company against your competitors. As such, a logo is part of the unique selling point of a business.
Logo design elements such as shapes, colors, fonts, and images are all important ways to share information about your brand with a customer. What really makes a logo stand out are the values that it communicates about your business. An effective design process will present the key values of a business in a graphic format. These are the values that make a logo instantly recognizable, as they are the ones that inspire trust and market authority.
Often, two companies competing in the same sector will have markedly different logos even though they may produce near-identical products. This is for two reasons:
- Your brand logo can communicate a unique selling point of business. For example, use the color green to communicate the idea that a product is ecological, recyclable, or organic.
- Your logo is your identifier. It is the image people conjure when considering a brand, and that is why it is essential to maintain strong visual contrast with competitors in the same niche.
5 Principles of Effective Logo Design
There are no hard and fast rules in graphic design. But, the all best logo designs are based on these key concepts:
- Simplicity – Simple, distinctive shapes that are easy to recognize.
- Memorability – A memorable logo design should be appropriate, distinctive, and clear.
- Timelessness – Forget about trends. A logo design needs to stand the test of time.
- Versatility – A logo design should be effective on every marketing platform available.
- Relevance – Your logo design should not only convey your brand values but also those of your entire niche.
A logo doesn’t have to be complex to communicate information about your brand. A simple logo is the way to go.
Think about Nike and the iconic swoosh design. On the one hand, the simplicity is what makes it easy to recognize. One glance is all it takes for people to recognize the brand.
On the other, Nike can rely on such strong brand recognition because of its market authority. Nike is the world’s largest sportswear company. Consider the logo against those of its competitors. The swoosh is a simple design that is fluid. It conveys motion and speed. Can the same be said about Adidas?
Memorability and simplicity are two sides of the same coin. A large part of what makes your favorite brand logos “look good” is the fact that you are instantly able to recall information about the product as soon as you see the logo.
According to a study by Siegel+Gale, simple designs make for the most memorable logos. One of the logos that earns a high score on this aspect is McDonald’s. Its golden arches are known worldwide. Aside from its simple design, the color accentuates brand recognition and adds to the brand’s success.
The study shows that a memorable logo not only draws the attention of potential customers but can also encourage increased engagement.
A great logo design will last more than ten years; it might even make it to twenty or fifty years.
Consider Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola logo hasn’t changed since 1941 and is unlikely ever to change because it has attained a level of logo authority and comprehension that has made the logo timeless.
Designing logo authority and the designing of logo recognition from the ground up is no easy feat. Coca-Cola is timeless because of the way it has aggressively marketed nostalgic elements in its advertising. Without these efforts, the swirling calligraphy of the Coca-Cola logo would seem out-of-place in the current times.
Achieving timelessness means maintaining constant marketing efforts targeted on brand values.
Longevity is not only great for your business marketing-wise but is also budget-friendly. If a logo is good enough to last a decade, it means you won’t need to spend time and money redesigning it every few years.
Good logos don’t chase trends; they inspire them.
A great logo design should be effective across a variety of different media and marketing platforms. The design needs to be scalable and be recognizable in black and white as well as in color.
It should communicate the value of your brand to potential customers regardless of the medium. Whether that be a tiny sticker, a giant billboard, a Facebook post, or a profile picture- the quality should be maintained at every conceivable size and on every platform.
Take IKEA as an example. Its iconic image printed on the receipt appears as clear as the gigantic version outside the store.
To achieve that versatility, make sure your logo is a vector file. This allows you to scale it to the desired size without losing any quality or clarity. Print a vector file at any size you like these elements If; you’ll never have a single pixelated edge.
Also, try to use colors sparingly. Not only can too many colors look visually unappealing, but they also aren’t cost-effective when printing. It’s best to stick to a simple two-color combination, like FedEx.
The placement of each element of a logo needs careful consideration. These elements, if well-targeted, could create a strong sense of relevancy between the image and the value it represents.
For example, the color scheme and typography of the Toys’R’Us successfully implies the personality of its brand as a toy company, which is playful and fun and targeted towards children.
Keep in mind that relevance is not always about the representation of the product or value. If this were the case, then KFC’s logo would be chicken tenders, not Colonel Sanders.
Extra Tips For Good Logo Design
Here are some additional factors to consider in the logo design process:
It might seem obvious, but the number one way to ensure brand recognition is to make your logo readable. Always opt for easy-to-read fonts. Sans Serif fonts are simple and clear. That way, even if the logo needs to be smaller in size, the readability will not be affected.
Try and make sure that your logo contrasts nicely with a white background. The better it “pops,” the more you successfully highlight the design. Alternatively, use a color on the opposite side of the spectrum in combination with the main one. For example, if your logo is blue, then the background could be orange, similar to that of Fanta
This factor balances the elements of your logo out, so they appear aesthetically neat. To align everything well, use the horizontal and the vertical axis as your guide. Make use of standard design practices such as the rule of thirds to keep things in proportion.
Research has found that it is easier to harmonize each element’s placement if the logo contains both text and symbols, take Adidas as an example.
Also, pay attention to the margins. When stacking one element in the left margin, all other elements should also be aligned to the left, as it creates a sense of consistency (this rule also applies if aligning elements in the right or center margins.)
- Use space
The main purpose here is to keep all elements proportional. If the images and text are too close to each other, the logo becomes too compact, cluttered, and unclear. When they are too far apart, it creates an unnecessary void that makes the logo appear bigger and disjointed.
To help with the calculation, draw a box around your elements and see whether they are well placed. If the texts get too long, divide it into two or more lines, similar to National Geographic’s logo. And, if the symbol doesn’t fit right, try resizing it.
- Play around with ideas
Brainstorm all the potential images and colors that can bring out your brand’s personality. Then, experiment with the combinations until you come up with the right design. For example, try to utilize the negative space to create a brilliant visual illusion on your logo; one great example is the WWF’s panda logo.
Using A Logo Maker
As AI business tools become more popular and more powerful, logo generators and logo design software are legitimate ways to design a good logo.
Zyro Logo Maker is a free tool that is powerful enough to design compelling logos in just a minute with the help of complex AI functions.
Searching by keywords related to your brand, product, or company values allows the AI software to suggest a range of appropriate images and shapes that will form the basis of your logo.
What To Avoid In Logo Design
A good logo is made up of a maximum of three things and those three things specifically:
Leave everything else for your companies advertisements, communications, or else abandon it for good because it will not help.
A logo is a very powerful aspect of a business and with that in mind, let’s consider a few design aspects that could actively harm the good of your business.
- Being overly literal
Yes, simplicity is key, but being too literal with your logo can make it jarring. Still worse, you miss out on any opportunity to express nuanced brand values in a simple format. Consider using conceptual icons that capture the spirit of your brand. It can help to imagine your icon as a symbol for your mission statement rather than as a picture.
A logo must be very visual. A more graphic icon is easier to recognize and requires less comprehension than a block of text. Design your icon with the idea that potential customers will be able to recall it after just one look.
- Lengthy taglines
Your tagline is the essence of your brand identity, expressed in the most condensed form possible while still making sense. The motto needs to be short and impactful. It should never be more than 30 characters long, and for many of the world’s biggest brands, this would already be on the heavy side.
One exception to this is in achieving visual balance. For example, if you have a concise business name, it might make sense to use a longer tagline. If you have a long business name, then it is good to have a shorter slogan. Similarly, if you’re using a bold font for your name, stick with a regular font for your tagline.
- Getting too committed to one idea
Reflection and research are imperative in creating brand authority and recognition. To avoid having to go through a total rebrand a few years down the line. Make decisions on solid market research. Take breaks in the design process where your company can go back and consider the merits of other ideas after they have had time to mature. Remember that a logo is something that customers will look at for a long time. If you commit to one form too early, your business runs the risk of becoming blind to others.