If image is everything then your company’s logo is its first impression.
Before any knowledge of the company has been acquired, perceptions have already been formulated based off of the logo.
Have a look at the logo below:
- What things come to mind?
- What adjectives did you think of: clean, conservative, tech-savvy, conventional, boring?
- What type of company do you think would use this logo?
- You likely wouldn’t assume this logo for a restaurant, but you might assume an automobile company.
What makes a good logo?
While it may be difficult to pin down what it is that makes a great logo there certainly are some common characteristics that all great logos share. Let’s look at some great logos:
What characteristics stand out?
Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that are common throughout these logos:
The majority of logos consist of but a single color, typically a primary color. Some may have two colors, but rarely do you see more than two colors. This makes it easy to attach an emotion to a logo.
Together the eyes and brain produce a cognitive and emotional response to each color. Because of this, colors themselves take on meanings. The exact meaning is often a cultural understanding and can have mulitple meanings across cultures. In the UK, white is considered pure and positive where in China, white is used in mourning, symbolizing heaven. Red is often used to symbolize strength and life, but is taboo in financial communities.
Some color meanings in the North America, Canada, and Western Europe include: Blues are said to be calming, loyal and trustworthy, greens are healthy, wealthy and natural while reds express passion, excitement or danger.
Finally, it’s also advantageous to use a single color for your logo as it will save you money when it comes to placing it on different medium; this can be a real bonus for many small business owners.
Case Study: Virgin
“If you can’t explain the idea in one sentence over the telephone, it won’t work.” – Lou Danziger.
You will notice in the above logos there’s nothing overly fancy, no gradiants or drop-shadows, just clean and simple lines. This helps to make the logo easy to recall on demand and pick it out from the many other logos you are bombarded with on a daily basis.
Case Study: H&R Block
Design for multiple media in mind
One thing remains constant – change. The constant evolution of media and information delivery systems of today’s times means that a logo will likely take on more than one form of medium in its lifespan. Because of the likeliness that the logo will be found on more than just print it’s best to use clean lines. You don’t see drop-shadows or beveling being used. This allows for the logo to be easily placed on billboards, on business cards, on black and white fax copies, mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads and all the rest.
It’s recommended that the logo be developed in a vector program to keep the logo scalable and easily transferable across different media.
Case Study: Federal Express
A logo should be able to convey its message over a prolonged period of time and it must be able to adapt to cultural changes. It might be exciting to design a logo that is influenced by a trendy typeface, but it will become outdated and need to be replaced in later years.
Logos designed with a focus on current style and trends are often outdated in a short amount of time and soon become “quaint.” I don’t know of any clients who would like to be perceived as either outdated or quaint.
Case Study: ABC
This article has looked at some of the characteristics that make up a good logo: color selection, simplicity of design, support for multiple media and design for the long term. Hopefully the next time you have to design a logo these characteristics will come to mind and aid you in development.
* Much of the info in this article comes from the ‘Logo Design Workbook – A Hands-On Guide To Creating Logos’