What is a logo? I guess we can start with what a logo is not. A logo is not your brand and your brand is not your logo. Technically speaking, the term logo is short for logotype, which is just design geek-speak for a trademark made from a custom-lettered word, symbol, or other stylized shape used to identify an organization.
Your logo is a symbol for your brand and should, over time, immediately connect your brain to the company it represents. Think about Nike’s “swoosh” symbol, McDonald’s golden arches or Apple’s apple. Granted, these are major brands that have been around for quite some time, but they show us the power of a simple, memorable logo.
Your logo should be something anyone can relate to and understand. It should evoke a feeling and clearly connect to your company and what you offer.
Below are a few characteristics that go into good logo design:
Your logo should be easy to recognize, memorable and versatile. Don’t confuse simplicity with boring. Simple logos can be unique and powerful without being overdone. As Timothy Samara, author of “Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual” says, “if you can do it with less, then do it.”
Nobody likes a copycat. It can be hard to come up with a unique design for your logo but that’s where experienced and creative-thinking designers and agencies come in. Think through what adjectives you want to portray to your prospective customers and prospects. Chances are, you’ve already been through this process anyway when you initiated your branding or re-branding process. Those adjectives should help define your logo. For example, if you’re a company on the cutting edge of technology, then you don’t want a logo that conveys 1972 and, likewise, if you’re a company that is proud of its heritage, then don’t go for something that implies youth. Give your company something own-able that no one else is using and run with it! Make your company stand out in what is most likely a crowded marketplace.
Your logo should easily translate across multiple platforms. You want it to evoke the same meaning everywhere–whether that’s print, web, social media campaigns, or on a coffee mug. Creating a logo that will maintain its integrity no matter the application is so important (this is also where simplicity comes into play)! Ensure your logo is designed to adapt. All great logos have a strategy for their use, whether the application forces the logo to be large, small, full color, one color, black & white or in reverse.
This may be one of the most important elements of a great logo! If you don’t nail down your buyer personas and create your logo based on that ideal buyer and your brand strategy, you’re doing your business a huge disservice. Your logo should accurately reflect your company’s culture, values and what you bring to the market, but it should resonate with your buyer personas. Think about whether your brand will be utilized globally. Various cultures have different meanings for colors, shapes and language so something that scales if global expansion is part of your go-to-market strategy should be a top priority. Lastly, don’t feel the need to show what you sell. If you sell the world’s greatest ink pen, it’s not a requirement that your logo include an ink pen.
Solid, basic design principles
This might seem to be a no-brainer but ensure your logo designer follows proper design principle. From a technical perspective, space, scale, contrast, balance, color, form, and consistency should be taken into consideration. Designing with purpose and clear direction is essential when creating the logo that will represent your brand. The key here is to trust your logo to an expert designer. Many make the mistake of attempting a DIY logo, but they inevitably spend more time and money later to correct missteps.
Creating or re-creating your logo can be fun and exciting but it’s something you want to do right, from the start! Have questions? We’re happy to chat about your company logo design or any creative project, just give us a shout.