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WHAT MAKES A GOOD LOGO – A CHECKLIST


The logo is the thing. Perhaps the most requested design brief I receive is for a logo design – the first design consideration for many businesses. A logo is an important mark and signifier for your company, whether you are working with a graphic designer or putting something together yourself, your logo needs to fulfill certain criteria. I've compiled a list of tips for what makes a good logo design.



A GOOD LOGO IS:


LEGIBLE

Simply, this means that if your logo contains any words, numbers or letters, it can be read clearly, even if the logo is very small. To ensure this; avoid very scripty, distorted, complex font choices, avoid elements overlapping with the text and avoid faint colours on a white background.


CLEAN & CLEAR

You want your logo to be instantly recognisable and the elements clear. Avoid overlapping details, avoid using opacities, steer away from effects such as watercolour (regrettably somewhat in vogue at the moment, see my point below re. trends) any textural elements should be punchy and sharp. If these softer elements are desirable, use them in your communications, but NOT in your logo.


An example of a logo with legibility issues:

  • The name is unclear in the selected typeface

  • The name appears on top of a watercolour layer which 'muddies' its standout (imagine viewing from a distance)

  • The subtitle 'Wedding planner' is barely visible and would not size down well


VECTOR BASED

A practical yet important point. Vector based logo designs (such as eps and ai files) will be able to size up and down without losing quality of resolution, there should be no need ever for a logo to appear blurry. As a general rule of thumb, logos should not include photography.


SCALABLE

As well as being able to size up and down with a vector based logo, your logo needs to also work at various different sizes, small details will be lost when sized for a business card, or may not print correctly if details are too fine. It is acceptable to have a secondary simplified version of your logo produced if the original has too many small details, a good designer will be able to create a simplified version which fits and compliments the main design if necessary.


ADAPTABLE

Your logo needs to work across a range of different sizes and spaces. Think about how it could best fit a pull-up banner at an event, or sit comfortably in the footer of a presentation, your logo should work in these extreme portrait and landscape spaces. Again, it is acceptable, and often advisable, for a designer to create alternative logo versions to fulfill this criteria.


An example of a logo which is adaptable. My logo design for Cabaret Copy Co.

  • As well as the core logo, an extreme landscape version was created for use in web banners, or any space which is long and narrow.


A CHAMELEON

Well, unlike a chameleon, you don't want your logo to blend in, in fact you want the opposite – for it to stand out! Your logo should be able to change colour in order to achieve great stand out across a range of backgrounds and scenarios. At the very least, you should have; a full colour, a black, and a white version of your logo.


SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY

Of course, your logo also needs to work in social media profile pictures. If the main logo design is too tall or wide to fit comfortably in the circles and boxes of profiles pages, it is a good idea to use a shorthand version of your logo here. Remember, with social media the company name always appears next to the profile picture, for this reason, if necessary, it is ok to drop the brand name from the logo for these social media shorthand logos, think of brands like; Apple, Nike and Starbucks, they often use an icon only based logo in these instances.


NOT TRYING TO SAY EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR COMPANY

This is an important one, so often clients want to say everything about their product or service through their logo. Whilst it's good if the logo can express something of the company, it should not (and cannot) say everything. Much of the messaging should be communicated subconsciously through the design choices as opposed to the text and pictorial ones. You have all of your other communications to tell your story and more time, space and a direct audience to do this there.

An example of a logo which is a chameleon, social media savvy and does not try to say everything. My logo design for Orna Rosenfeld – housing advisor.

  • Several colour versions of the logo were created; full colour with the gradient blue (as pictured), black (as pictured), white and grey (to be used as a watermark).

  • A logomark version was created for use across social media. The negative space 'O' was turned into an icon based logo safe in the knowledge that it would always appear besides the full brand name 'Orna Rosenfeld'

  • With; strong graphic devices, a bold font and confident colours, Orna's logo communicates the strength and reliability of the buildings for which she advises. The logo is not being literal in its messaging.


NOT TRENDY

Perhaps it seems counterintuitive, after-all you want your logo to look good, you may even what it to look modern, or to appeal to a trend conscious audience, but my advice is for your logo not to be too trendy. As with anything in design, whether that's an album cover or an item of clothing, design trends come and go and nothing will age your logo faster than a logo that is too 'on trend' today as it will look naff* in a few short years. A good logo should be (relatively**) timeless. Think of some of the world's most iconic brands – they tend to have a classic simplicity to their logo design. You can and should use your other communication touch points to express your design aesthetic. *Naff – an excellent example of a word that illustrates my point about trends.

**I say relatively, as it is common practice for logo designs to tweak and adapt with the times, but they are very rarely drastically transformed.


If you have a logo project that you would like to discuss, please get in touch.


A further guide around branding 'Brand guidelines – the style bible for your company' is available here


watercolour logo credit: <a href="https://www.freepik.com/vectors/logo">Logo vector created by BiZkettE1 - www.freepik.com</a>