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What makes a great logo and why do you need one?

Updated: Aug 6, 2019




If you are here it means that you are either starting your own business/company or you are a new designer. In both cases, this post will cover a lot about the meaning and importance of logos. Also we will discuss about the characteristics that make a logo great for your business.

Let’s take it from the start.


What is a logo?

A logo is a mark, symbol or image that identifies a brand. It works also as a way to promote public recognition. There are 5 popular types of logos, the ones that are most used:


1. Wordmark logo



2. Lettermark logo



3. Icon logo



4. Combination logo



5. Illustrative logo



If you want me to talk in more detail about the types of logos, feel free to get in touch.


For those of you who are reading this because you are starting a brand, trust me there is no doubt that if you are serious about it, you NEED a great logo. For designers that are looking at their screen now, this information will give you a better understanding of what and why your future clients need an awesome logo from you.


Why do you need a logo?

How do you feel as a consumer or customer when you come across a good business logo? You trust it. And you definitely trust it more than a non-professional, generic, barely-there logo, am I right? Take a look at the logos below and tell me you don’t trust business No.1 more than No.2! A good logo is one of the ways that a customer remembers and recognizes your business too. Last but not least, your logo is the first point of contact with your target audience.



What makes a great logo?

There are many qualities of a great logo, but I will mention the most important ones. A logo needs to be:


  • Relevant

  • Clear

  • Versatile / Scalable

  • Timeless

  • Memorable

Now let's dig a Little Dipper into these. Relevant

A good logo has to be relevant and appropriate for the brand it's designed for. For this to be successful, the designer have to read about colour theory and psychology, shapes, type and many other things. There are colours that inspire certain things, fonts that look more professional or playful.

A logo doesn’t need to say what a company does. Restaurant logos don’t need to show food, dentist logos don’t need to show teeth, furniture store logos don’t need to show furniture. Just because it’s relevant, doesn’t mean you can’t do better. The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an airplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer. Etc. — David Airey


The designer has to take under consideration the type of business he/she is designing for. The client has to know about these qualities so that he can look at the designer's proposals with an open mind.


Clear

We've all seen logos that are "too much" or "too cluttered/complicated" and we usually look away. It looks like either the designer is trying to hard or that the client hasn't read this post. A good logo has to be simple and clear. Small details in it can look cluttered, too many lines or curves can be confusing to the eye. Whatever concept you have in mind for your logo, try to find ways to implement it in its most simplified form.

To ensure simplicity and clarity in the logo design, consider these:

  • Use no more than four words (or 30 characters)

  • Stick to three or fewer colors

  • Don’t use more than one design trick or effect

  • Avoid thin elements for type and artwork


Versatile / Scalable

This quality feels like a twin sister to the one above. A logo has to be easily scalable without losing its shape and clarity. When you design a logo, zoom out and see if you can still see everything and it is recognisable. As a client, when you receive a logo proposal from your designer, do the same, or distance yourself from the screen and check its versatility.

If you think of a few of famous brands/companies around the world you will see that their logos are quite simple with very clear shapes and no matter the size of them or the distance you are looking at them from, you still know which company it is.




Timeless

If when you are sending a brief to your designer you are mentioning words like "trendy" or "fashionable" as characteristics of your ideal logo you are doing this all wrong. And if when you are brainstorming, you are concerned of the current trends you are doing the same. Think about it for a few moments, your brand's logo is the symbol that will be attached to it for as long as it's active, right? What if the current trend is fluorescent and snakeskin patterns? By creating a logo based on trends you will end up with a logo that is outdated in 6 months. Of course there is the opportunity for brand refresh and rebranding but if you keep on doing that it would have a negative impact on your credibility towards your market and audience. Make sure that either as a client or a designer you communicate that with the other end so that your logo will still be remarkable in 10 or 50 years time.



Memorable

This is probably the hardest quality to achieve but definitely the most rewarding. In most cases, if all the above are applied, then the logo sticks on people's minds. But to do so it has to have a distinctive character and a unique sense. That logo would communicate the business values and speak for itself. While you are at the end of the logo process, both clients and designers can conduct a survey with friends/family/colleagues to see if they have achieved that.



There is also a truly great post called Branded In Memory that it's worth your time.


Conclusion

A great logo is not an easy thing or a process that can be complete in 24 hours. Allow time to yourselves and the designer to research properly, brainstorm, suggest, brainstorm a bit more and discuss a lot about your ideas, visions and concerns. Always have an open mind and trust me, listening to the reasons why your designer did (or didn't) do something would probably have to do with the qualities mentioned above.

Watch the video I made here:


If you learned something from this post, send it to a friend or share it with the world. It will help more people out there.


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