Once, when talking about logos, the legendary logo designer of IBM, UPS, Enron, Morningstar, Inc., Westinghouse, ABC, and NeXT said this:
A logo doesn’t sell, it identifies.
To be the most comprehensive and representative identity for your brand, every feature in your logo design must be there for a reason. Each aspect must be telling something about your brand. The shape you choose, colors you select, and fonts you select, must be part of cohesive and concise brand storytelling.
To that end, we have identified six characteristics that make a logo design compelling, memorable, and related to your brand.
1. Simple & Distinct
Simplicity is the key. As complex as the human brain is, it prefers simplicity. Patterns and repetition are their things. Since it processes information at an insanely fast speed, the simple design doesn’t make the brain work hard. And because it likes the simple design so much, the brain remembers it amazingly well, can process it easily, and understand it perfectly.
Creating a simple logo design is difficult than creating a complex one. Your thinking needs to be completely clean and receptive to arrive at simple ideas. Think of Microsoft, Nike, and Target, etc. Simple ideas, no fanfare, and perfect representations of the thought behind the brand.
What makes a logo effective in conveying the brand is not the many design elements built-in it. It’s the lack of it, yet have the ability to say just as much which makes it an effective logo.
Zaheer Dodhia, Founder of LogoDesign.net
Additionally, your simple idea should be unique. It must belong to that brand and that brand alone. When people look at it, they should think of nothing else but your brand.
To create such a design, your research needs to be thorough. Learn about what your competitors have done and avoid repeating their designs. Also, learn as much as you can about your brand. Understand what it is all about and then bring it to the canvas.
2. Appropriate Business Cues
Every icon, color, or font choice you make when designing a logo, conveys a message. The triangle shape conveys leadership and dominance; the circle timelessness and entirety. In colors, orange is cheerful and active whereas blue is calming. And these meanings change when you change the shade and hue. So, choosing what features to add to your logo needs to be a very thoughtful and conscious process.
Let’s say, you want to create an advertising firm logo and you want to convey creativity and leadership but also a fun brand personality. You can decide to assign different features to take care of different business cues. For example, your ad logo shape can convey leadership while your font choice can be about creativity. The fun aspect can be sent through your choice of color, and so on.
Basically, you need to remain aware of why you are making the design choices you are making and ensure they each are telling a unique aspect of the brand.
3. Relevant To The Industry And Brand
What may be a good logo design for one industry may be a total disaster for another. When creating your design strategy, think of the industry your brand belongs to. Then choose your design essentials that are relevant to that industry.
For example, if you are creating an engineering logo, use icons and symbols that are mechanical. Straight typography that feels imposing, and color choices that are either neutral or convey a sense of grittiness. Your design idea must also be relevant to the brand personality you are going for. Your design choices for a simple brand and a disruptive brand would be starkly different.
4. Scalable For Branding
A logo design is displayed on multiple marketing platforms for maximum exposure and effective brand perception. From tiny spaces like on an app icon tray to massive canvases such as a city billboard, your logo can be anywhere. Therefore, create a design that is simple enough and distinct enough that people have no trouble spotting or understanding it no matter its size or where it’s displayed.
In other words, it should be scalable and responsive. If you have hired a graphic designer for your brand logo, ask them to send you the original design files so you can have complete freedom to scale your logo up or down. If you are getting the logo from an online logo maker service, make sure to choose a design package that gives you the vector file of the logo. The vector format keeps the quality of the design intact when you are scaling the logo.
5. Versatile For Marketing
An effective brand logo needs to have variance. If you pick apart its features or change its colors or layout, it should still retain its distinct design. Consider the Apple logo again. To celebrate Pride Month, the logo sheds its usual earth tones and adopts the bright colors of the rainbow. But the shape of the apple icon is still distinct – so we know which brand it is.
When you design a brand logo, think about whether the different features can work independently or when they switch places. Logo variations allow you to celebrate important occasions, signify a milestone, or be a part of a bigger movement all the while extending your brand reach and never letting go of your brand identity.
A professionally crafted brand identity design must contain logo variants such as an icon-only design, a black-and-white color option, a single-color option, a name-only option, and so on.
6. Memorable For Better Recall
When a logo design is simple and distinct, it increases recall. The simplicity makes it easy to understand while a distinct look gives us something unique to focus on. When they come together, we end up with a unique design that is easy to recall. All the famous logo designs in the world have this quality.
Creating a memorable design isn’t easy, but it’s critical. You do not want your brand logo to lose itself in a sea of brand identity designs. Through the conscious balance of colors, shapes, fonts, and styles, create a brand look that stays in people’s minds long after they’ve seen the logo. It should make an impression in the first few shreds of a second.
What Do You Think?
For me, it’s these 6 key characteristics that must be there in a logo design to make it effective. What else would you add? Timelessness is another great feature that keeps your logo relevant for years to come. And when you have strived to fulfill these 6 top commandments of good logo design, chances are you’ve already created a timeless image.
So, shout out in the comments about which feature you think is the most important and drives a brand identity forward.