So, you're interested in having a logo designed and you are wondering what you should look for in a logo. The following are a few guidelines when looking to have a logo designed.
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Simplicity is vital. It seems that the larger and more successful the company is, the more simple the logo. Take a moment and think about some of the brands that are successful and famous. Companies like Nike, Apple, Volkswagen (most auto logos), Target, McDonald's, Sony, etc. all have the most simple logos.
Why is this important? All of these companies have logo designs that are simple and easily recognizable. Their logos are easily recognizable at a glance. They don't need to be studied to figure out what is intended to be displayed. Remember that too much abstraction can be dangerous because your message can be lost.
Another reason simple is usually better is because of printing issues. When printed by themselves and when printed in solid black and white, a more simple logo can still be recognized.. A complex logo will be difficult to print and reproduce and may not fully engage your audience.
A logo does not always need to visually describe what a business does to be memorable. Have you ever seen a car manufacturer with a picture of a car as their logo? Have you ever seen a shoe manufacturer with a picture of a shoe on a shoe?
When using icons in your logo, consider icons that could communicate your brand without the company name, simple and memorable. This will allow you to use the icon as a stand-alone image (for example, on package graphics). Again, go back to the examples of simplicity. Ask anyone to describe the logos of Nike, Apple, Volkswagen, etc., they are very simple and memorable.
For a person to retain and identify with a logo is should be unique, simple, and memorable.
Trends and fads are short-lived, ephemeral. Innovation is eternal, timeless. A logo should be able to span time. It can evolve and change over time, but still hold its original intent. The longer it stays the same at its core, the better brand recognition you will get over time. For example, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Rolex have evolved but held their initial core image has remained. A good logo design will have a sense of timelessness about it.
A logo that feels anchored or specific to a time period or fad the more likely it will become outdated or need substantial repurposing fairly quickly. The best logos change very little yet feel fresh and vibrant though time (Nike, IBM, Apple).
A logo should stand out among the clutter of the crowd, in a unique way from the competition.
There are many overused images and fads in graphics design. It is quite disturbing when you start noticing elements of your logo and things that look like it on many other people's brands. That's the quickest way to look low-budget and second-rate.
With thousands upon thousands of fonts, billions of color combinations, and an infinite flow of design ideas, it is not difficult to have a logo that is unique. Even though certain styles are preferred by companies, those styles can be altered enough to offer a unique product.
A company should not compare their desired logo to already famous brands in the world. Those brands are famous not because of their logo, but because of the companies behind those logos. A business can have an incredibly crafted logo, but not stand up to its competition.
Always remember that the branding behind the logo is very very important.
A logo should be visible and distinguishable from any distance, on a highway billboard or on stationery in your hand. It should also work well in different size formats as on business cards, brochure, t-shirt design embroidery, stamping, embossing, etc. A good logo will work well in one or two colors colors, many colors, or in black and white. A good logo will work well on light backgrounds as well as dark backgrounds, even on multicolored backgrounds. Many start-ups and smaller companies use their logo on a few marketing materials but use something else on other materials. Be sure that you use your logo consistently and be sure that your logo design allows you the flexibility to do so in multiple formats.
To see some examples of bad logos, click here.