What makes a good logo?

When you see a logo that makes you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” – or it gives you the warm and fuzzies about the brand – it’s almost certainly a good logo. So what is it about the design that makes some logos work so well?

logo designThe 5 design elements your logo needs:

There are many theories on good logo design, but let’s stick to what we think are the 5 most important design elements when it comes to brand identities.

Great logos are:

1.  Describable

2.  Memorable

3.  Effective without colour

4.  Scalable, i.e. they work when just a couple of cm in size

5.  Relevant to the industry in question

Points 1 and 2 kind of link together; if you can’t describe what a logo looks like, how will you be able to remember it?  Point 3 is important because colour is secondary to the shape and form.   Point 4 can be a trap for logo designs with fussy details that look good on a trade show banner but are totally lost when used on stationery or in thumbnails, etc.  And point 5 is achieved through careful analysis of the industry, making sure to differentiate from competitors’ identities.

 What about colour?

Many designers make colour the last step of their design process, because if the mark doesn’t work in black only, no amount of colour will save it.

So what about some examples:

Above are some examples of logos that we think illustrate our 5 design points.  Looking at the Nike logo, this ‘swoosh’ as it’s commonly referred to has become one of the most powerful and easily recognised brand logos in the world.  It’s hard to imagine someone struggling to describe the logo once they’d seen it – therefore it’s truly memorable.   Only black is used in this design and the logo is easily recognizable when it’s as small as only 1cm.  And finally, the logo is different to any other in Nike’s industry and evokes a sense movement and maybe even speed – ideal for a logo in the sports industry.   So Well done Nike, why didn’t I think of that…?

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