What makes a good logo?

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So, you’ve selected a designer for your new logo and branding and you’ve had the first round of concepts but how do you know what you should choose? What should you be looking for? How do you know it’ll stand the test of time and will it work on different mediums and in varying sizes? You’ve invested in this and you want to make sure it hasn’t been a waste of time and money. 

Your logo is a distinctive and recognisable mark for your business. A well designed logo helps to differentiate you from your competition and stand out, as well as communicate professionalism and confidence for your customers. It should be able to last you for years to come and make you feel proud to use it in your business. 

1.KEEP IT SIMPLE

This doesn’t mean basic. The simplest solutions are usually the most effective. Why? Because they are clear, they focus on one thing, they’re easy to read, they are memorable, they work at a small size and are easy to implement. 

EG Apple. The first apple logo was designed by Steve Job and was a sketch of Isaac Newton sitting underneath a tree where an apple was ready to drop. This was quickly simplified to an apple in its sleek outline and silhouette form.

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2. MAKE IT RELEVANT

The logo must look appropriate for the business it's representing. Is the logo for a finance business? Then it shouldn’t look fun. Is it for a photography firm? Then, please make sure it looks friendly and approachable. You get the picture. 

The design of a logo must match the personality of the business, be relevant to the industry and speak to your target audience. This doesn’t mean it has to be a literal representation but one that fits with your brand values. 

EG Natwest. FutureBrand refreshed their logo and introduced new graphics for their branding and although the graphics are colourful and bold, the logo still has a serious and stable look and feel to it.  (SOURCE: https://www.futurebrand.com/our-work/natwest)

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3. DON’T FOLLOW THE TRENDS

Trends come and go but logos need to last for years to come, so the last thing you want is a design that becomes dated quickly. A logo can get refreshed, refined down the road but the underlying idea should remind intact.

EG McDonalds. Whilst their logo has gone through many changes over the years, its colour palette and iconic M has remained the same.

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4. AIM FOR DISTINCTIVE

A distinctive logo is one that you remember and stands out from its competition. It's unique and reflects your brand values as well as attract your ideal customer. A good way to test this is by viewing the logo in black and white, without any colour to distract you. This way you can analyse the form and shape of the logo. It should look bold, simple and relevant. 

EG Shell. The Shell logo has moved from a realistic scallop shell to today’s simplified shape with distinctive colours. The logo has become so recognisable that it often appears without its brand name. 

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5. IT'S MEMORABLE

A well designed logo is one that can be easily recognised from even a cursory glance, as this is quite often how long a viewer may look at it for. It can help to think about logos that you can visualise and remember without seeing it in front of you. You want your viewers to remember you when they see your logo.

EG Google. Their distinctive and stand out colour palette forms part of their memorable branding. 

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6. GO SMALL

As much as your logo will need to work when enlarged, with so much content being viewed online and on mobile these days, it pays to make sure there's no loss of detail when viewed at a small size on mobile phones and as favicons. Sometimes a workaround can be to have a few variations of your logo that can be adapted and used in different ways.

Eg Shelter. The pitched roof on the letter ‘h’ easily converts to an icon, as well as supporting icon style.

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7. FOCUS ON ONE THING

Your logo needs to make an impact straightaway. It doesn't have time to tell a long story, that's reserved for your branding and marketing. It needs to focus on one idea, one thing that will communicate your message and grab your viewers.

Eg. Amazon. The Amazon logo was created to represent the message that it sells everything from A to Z (the arrow connecting the two letters).

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Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company
— Saul Bass

What do you think makes a good logo? Is there anything else you would add?

Do you need help with your logo or branding? I’ve helped many businesses over the last 18 years and can offer a package to suit your needs. Please contact me at hello@vardeep.com

Vardeep Edwards