Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash
Put simply, a logo is a distinctive graphic design, stylized name, unique symbol, or another device for identifying a company, product, or service. Today, logos are often synonymous with a company’s brand. It’s important to remember though, that a logo is a representation of the brand and not the brand itself.
Logos are everywhere. Businesses use them as part of their brand identity. In addition to the business’s primary logo, they may also have individual logos for each product or service. Individuals use logos to promote their personal brand. In print, on television, and on the internet, if you want to be seen, it seems you need a logo.
A great logo should:
- Not be trendy, you want it to stand the test of time. One of the world’s most famous brands, Coca-Cola, uses a wordmark that was designed in 1885 by Frank Mason Robinson for its logo.
- Align with your industry’s standards but be unique enough to stand out.
- Be visually appealing and uncluttered. Simple and clean is best.
- Make a lasting impression.
What Style Of Logo Suits You?
There are many different styles of logo, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Before we look at crafting a better logo let’s define some of the major styles.
- Pictorial Marks: use literal imagery (from simple line drawings to complex illustrations)
- Abstract Symbols: use nonliteral marks to relate a concept or idea representative of the brand
- Emblems: consist if a surrounding shape that encloses the brand name. Emblems can be rather simple or intricately illustrated
- Wordmarks: display the brand name in text only. The style of type used (usually created from scratch) helps represent the brand
- Monograms: use two or more, combined or overlapping in some way, typographic characters for the logo
Choosing Your Style
Every logo is different and a professional designer can help you determine which is right for you. When discussing your new logo with your designer it is helpful to know some of the advantages of the different styles.
- Improve recognition for brands whose name isn’t particularly memorable
- Can be used in smaller applications
- They aren’t dependent on language
- Typically stand the test of time
- Work well for unique brand names
- Remove ambiguity that can arise from the interpretation of a symbol
Creating A Great Logo
There is no one way to create a great logo, but all great logos have certain characteristics in common. Your logo might not contain every characteristic, but the more your logo draw upon (pun intended) the better.
The old adage, “less is more” has never been more appropriate. Simplicity is likely the most important characteristic of successful logos. Think of well-known brands and you’ll realize that their logos are extremely simple. The easier it is for the audience to remember your logo the better. Plus simple logos are recognized more quickly.
A simple logo design improves how well the logo will work at smaller sizes, like on a business card or product package. Intricate detail will be lost at smaller sizes. Which brings us to:
A great logo will remain legible regardless of the size in which it is reproduced. Of course, there will be a point where every logo will lose its level of recognition. But the smaller that size is, the more flexible the logo.
Great logos are designed for every medium; screen or print, large or small. In addition to size, logos should leave room for a brand to grow. Your business should be able to grow, adding more products or services without the need for an entirely new logo redesign.
Originality and Timelessness
Of course, another characteristic of great logos is originality. When designing a logo it is a good idea to first look at the logos of your competitors. But not to copy them—to do something different. If your logo looks like someone else’s, or worse, is a knock-off, it will not be successful. You want your logo to be unique, but not so different that it no longer aligns with your industry’s standards.
When looking at other logos for inspiration remember that trends come and go. Great logos completely ignore current design trends. Ignoring trends will go a long way to helping your logo stand the test of time.
Your logo is the cornerstone of your brand identity and should help support it. The style must be harmonious with the brand to avoid communicating conflicting messages
Avoiding Common Logo Design Mistakes
Now that we know what goes into making a great logo, let’s look at some of the things you want to avoid. Hopefully, you see how much goes into a logo design and realize how valuable a great logo can be to your brand identity. That means working with a professional designer who can help you avoid these pitfalls:
- Using stock art: this mistake is often made by business owners and amateur designers. Remember, your logo should be unique and if you use stock graphics, the image is likely being used elsewhere
- Being too complex: great logos are memorable and keeping things simple is the best way to achieve that. Besides, complex designs do not reproduce well at smaller sizes
- Using too many or the wrong typeface: The standard guide is to use a maximum of two typefaces. More than that and logos become confusing and hard to read. The wrong typeface is the downfall of many a logo. The typeface should compliment the style of the graphic elements of the design.
- Not thinking in black and white: is a mistake that often happens with a logo design that relies too much on color. There will be cases where your logo will need to be reproduced in one color. Plan for this during the design process.
- Using raster graphics can cause problems. Remember that your logo needs to be able to be reproduced at various sizes. Raster graphics do not scale well. Standard practice is to design a logo using vector graphics software.
Let’s craft a great logo
This is not an “Ultimate Guide to Logo Design,” but now you know what to look for when crafting your logo. I strongly suggest you work with a professional designer when creating a logo. Every designer works differently and by reading this article you’ll know how to work with them to craft a great logo.