What Makes a Good Logo? The 5 Stage Plan

Updated: Oct 12, 2017

What is a logo?

A logo is a mark of identity presented in such as way that it can be quickly and easily recognised as a graphical representation of a company, organisation product or service. For a logo to be effective it should always be simple, memorable, enduring, versatile and appropriate. It needs to convey the correct message about the company, organisation product or service that it represents. In my view a good logo is:

1. Simple

Often the hardest part of designing any logo is maintaining its simplicity but it’s a vital part of any logo. It’s always important to keep the logo as simple as it can possibly be. It needs to be something that can be recognised instantly especially if the viewer might see it at speed or distance, perhaps whilst driving or whilst it drives past them. I will counter the simplicity factor very slightly though, because ultra-simplicity is aided considerably when you have a huge marketing and advertising budget. The Nike logo is an incredible logo and as simple as simple can be, but would it have become as memorable without it having the assistance of a multi-million dollar marketing and advertising budget? I’m not sure?

2. Memorable

The logo needs to be memorable and this can also be very tricky, but for me it helps if the logo has a clever twist or a hidden meaning among the simplicity. Maybe an element that isn’t instantly recognisable but appears after a few seconds. This will help embed it in the viewers mind and help them remember it. Think of the arrow contained within the Fed Ex logo or the bear that appears on the Toblerone logo. Do you see it yet?

3. Enduring

A logo needs to last it needs to stand the test of time. Try not go down the route of using a colour, font, or any kind of graphic that’s fashionable at the time but could quickly date. This goes back to the simplicity factor a little bit. A logo will be redesigned many times throughout its life, but you’ll notice that with each redesign the logo will become simpler to help the logo last longer. A good example here is the American Airlines logo.

4. Versatile

Throughout the process of designing a logo it’s important to keep versatility on your mind. Remember that the logo probably needs to work on a whole number of applications from the website and the business cards right through to clothing and vehicle livery and it needs to work just as well on each application. That’s why I always tell my clients: “Forget about the colour for now, the colour doesn’t matter. Think about the design”. A builder doesn’t think about painting the walls before the foundations are set.

5. Appropriate

A logo should be appropriate and by this I mean the McDonald's logo wouldn’t be quite right for the UN. The Toys R Us logo probably wouldn’t sit quite right on the front of the podium as the Prime Minister makes their speech. Give some thought to the environment that the logo will live in and make it appropriate, but a little different from the rest. Visit to the shop where the logo will appear or go and see the client. Take a look at the design work that they have had before or that they like and consider the future direction of that company.

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