What Makes a Good Logo?

So you’ve started your own business, you’ve written your business and marketing plans and now it’s time to design your logo.  The logo is just one aspect of your visual identity but it has a huge impact on the way your audience perceives your brand.

What Makes a Good Logo?

But what makes a good logo?  What criteria do we need to use to decide whether the logo presented to us is the right one for our business?

Here are five characteristics that separate the great logos from the rest of the pack.

  1. Simple
  2. Memorable
  3. Adaptable
  4. Timeless
  5. Appropriate

1. Simple

A simple logo design doesn’t have too many details.  If you look at the most iconic logos such as Apple, Nike, and McDonald’s – they’re simple.  There aren’t too many elements, the colours are monochromatic, and they can easily be recognised.

What Makes a Good Logo?
Source: news.nike.com

When you look at your logo design ask yourself – are there too many elements, too many colours, too many fancy tricks?  The more detail your logo has, the more your audience has to process.  Your goal is brand recognition so keep it simple!

Other tips:

  • Do not use more than two or three colours.  There are of course exceptions to any rule!  Google and ebay both use four colours, however, if you add too many colours you may actually create a logo that’s more distracting rather than pleasing to the eye.
  • Think about the printing process.  The more colours you have, the more expensive your printing costs will be.
  • The same tip applies to fonts – stick to a maximum of two different fonts.

2. Memorable

What do the Apple icon and the golden arches have in common?  They’re both memorable.  You want your logo to be instantly recognisable and you want your target audience to instantly think of your brand when shopping for your product / service.

What Makes a Good Logo?
Source: aboutmcdonalds.com

Memorability isn’t created overnight.  It takes time and a large investment by business to build brand memorability.

Ensure that you use the same logo on all your marketing materials as this will help make it more memorable.  If you use one logo for your business card, another for your Instagram page, and a different version on your web site, it will be much harder to make your logo memorable. Consistency is key.

3. Adaptable

An effective logo should be able to work across multiple mediums and applications.  The logo should be able to be used in vertical and horizontal formats.  It also needs to work to any size.  Think about all the uses of your logo.  Do you need a logo for your website, social media account, uniforms, clothing tags, advertising, business cards, a billboard?

Ask yourself: is the logo effective when printed in black and white?  What about when it’s printed in reverse (i.e. light logo on a dark background)? Below is an image of the McDonald’s logo and tagline reversed out onto a red and black background.

What Makes a Good Logo?
Source: aboutmcdonalds.com

4. Timeless

Paul Rand, a successful American art director and graphic designer, stated:

Good design doesn’t date. Bad design does.

Will your logo be effective today as it will be in 20 years time?  Try not to create a logo based on trends and what’s hot right now.

As you can see in the image from Brand New Pepsi has modified it’s logo numerous times over the years compared to Coca-Cola whose logo has essentially stayed the same with some minimal changes over the years.

What Makes a Good Logo?
Source: www.underconsideration.com

5. Appropriate

Is your logo appropriate for you and your industry?  Take a look at your competition and see what they’re doing. If you’re in the wedding industry, for example, then using a more modern, formal logo design would be more appropriate then a playful font as used by a toy or entertainment brand such as Toys’R’Us or Disney.

What Makes a Good Logo?
Source: logos.wikia.com

Taking the time to evaluate your logo and measure the design up against these five basic criteria can have a large impact in the long run.

For more information on how to create a consistent brand image for your business click here.

What do you think makes a good logo?

4 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the tips! I’m such a newbie and the idea of making a logo is quite overwhelming. Your post reminded me that I’ve been over thinking it.

  2. These are important things to remember when designing a logo! Especially love the timeless examples of Pepsi and Coca Cola logos- lots of talent on those graphic design teams;)

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