Remember that post about how simple isn’t easy, cheap, or quick? Well a great logo should be the opposite of all of these. A great logo will probably cost you, but be well worth it in the end. Simple logos aren’t easy, but they are easily recognizable. They aren’t designed quickly, but a great logo will be quick to catch the eye.
Simple logos aren’t easy, but they are easily recognizable. They aren’t designed quickly, but a great logo will be quick to catch the eye.
Simple logos are the ultimate goal because you want them to get the idea when they first see the logo. This concept of simplicity will make the rest of these logo characteristics easier to achieve.
- Effective without color
But a great logo should always be created, worked out, and presented first in black and white.
I think designers rely too much on a color, or texture, or other effect to make their logo look neat.
If you design a logo in color, try to convert it to black and white. If it isn’t successful-go back to the drawing board and think in black and white for a while and focus on the concept and shapes of what you are creating.
A great logo should be describable. If your logo uses graphic elements that are so strange and if there is so much going on that it’s really difficult to describe to someone without showing it to them then it is not going to be effective. This doesn’t mean that your logo has to be obvious or cliche. As Jacob Cass writes that, “It is also important to state that that a logo doesn’t need to show what a business sells or offers as a service. ie. Car logos don’t need to show cars, computer logos don’t need to show computers. The Harley Davidson logo isn’t a motorcycle, nor is the Nokia logo a mobile phone. A logo is purely for identification.”
A great logo will be appropriate for it’s intended purpose and audience. You wouldn’t want to use playful colors for a cancer hospital, or bleak colors for a children’s shoe company. A great logo should accurately portray the values and culture of the business or organization it represents.
A truly great logo will be timeless but still relevant. What does that even mean? It means it will be just as useful and enduring in 2015 as it will be in 2050 and beyond. Being trendy is not something that should be a part of a company identity. Being a part of the latest design trend only makes you a follower, and what designer doesn’t want to stand out? Think Milton Glaser’s “I Love NY” logo; it was created in 1975 and it still looks amazing on literally anything it is printed on.
A great logo should be flexible, it should be versatile and adaptable. You have to consider the variety of uses for the logo. But you also have to consider what will happen if you only have a single color to print with or if it might need to be embroidered onto a polo shirt for example. A great logo that is adaptable will also be scalable. That means, it should be just as recognizable and look just as good on a business card as it does on the side of a truck. If you keep this in mind as you create, you will be more mindful of font and line weights that could disappear when the logo is reduced.
You want your logo to be interesting enough that people will want to try to figure it out, but not so clever that they never will without seeing your creative brief/explanation. Incorporate some “secret” things that aren’t overtly obvious (like a building block for a preschool, etc.). Think about the logos for FedEx, The Bronx Zoo, or Baskin Robbins; they all have something just a little bit clever about them in a fun and quirky way. Many times this requires utilizing the negative space in creative ways.
If you follow my blog at all you will know by now the passion I have for color use in design. This becomes even more important in a logo design. A great logo will make great use of color, it will incorporate colors that convey the kind of company that is being represented. Color choices are last but certainly not least. Because if chosen poorly, this step could really derail an otherwise very effective logo.