The Most Important Characteristics of a Great Logo
If you don’t have a solid logo for your brand in today’s competitive marketing world, then Houston, we have a problem. While some text and an image are technically considered a logo, it doesn’t mean that it’s a great logo.
A logo is a visual representation that serves as the first impression of your brand and business. Here are the most important features of a great logo.
If you think about some of the biggest brands out there, and you look at their logos, you’ll find simplicity in almost all of them. The Nike and Apple logos are great examples of this. Having a simple logo is always better than having a complex logo.
Too many colors and too many details can make your logo a distraction or even a deterrent to the human eye. It can also cost significantly more to print on promotional materials.
Now, keeping your logo simple doesn’t mean making it boring. Don’t confuse simplicity with basic or easy-to-make. Just because a logo is simple, it doesn’t mean it can’t capture artistic elements to represent your brand.
When designing a logo, consider a minimalistic approach. Don’t try and cram as much information as you can into a logo. Instead, brainstorm as a designer or a client, and come up with a concept that is simple but still well-rounded.
Scalability is a major factor to consider when designing your logo. Most professional designers will ensure that your logo is scalable to different sizes, but you should also be aware of or ask about what size your logo needs to be.
Are you printing on business cards and using your logo on websites? Are you mainly printing your logo on t-shirts or posters? Wherever your logo ends up, to ensure that it looks the same in any size it’s printed or presented, you need to consider scalability. And when it comes to your website, you want to make sure your logo stays responsive across all devices.
Images and logos can easily get pixelated at different sizes. A pattern or design that looks good at 1080 pixels might not be so clear when it’s shrunk down to 300 pixels. The more details, curves, sharp points, and hard edges there are, the harder it will be to scale up or down.
Be sure to communicate with your designer what size logo you will be using the most. This will help them plan and design a better logo.
Functionality and Versatility
The functionality and versatility of your logo determine how well you can brand your products and materials. A great logo will look good on a dark background and a light background. You may have two or even three versions of your logo to cover all your bases; one color logo, one black logo, and one white logo.
Having the same exact logo in these three options gives you a lot of versatility when branding your business. You can easily switch out which logo looks best depending on what it’s being printed on or where it’s being shown. Having a versatile logo can do wonders for your branding capabilities.
It may seem obvious, but making sure your logo is relevant to your business, brand, and industry is very important. Your logo needs to mean something, even if it’s abstract. Just like a country’s flag uses certain colors and symbols that represent something real, your logo should act the same way.
You should be able to explain why your logo looks the way it does. It shouldn’t be hard for the general public to figure that out either. Just because you think a shape or design looks good on its own, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your brand.
If you’re in the business of selling bottled water, for example, you wouldn’t want to use harsh colors like brown and you wouldn’t have your logo be rigid like stone. Instead, you would probably use cool colors like blue and have your logo flow like water. It seems simple, but sometimes people get caught up in the design aspect of a logo and forget to consider its relevance to their brand and industry.
You want your logo to be something people will remember. This doesn’t mean after a long day your customer will be sitting at home and suddenly remember how great your logo is. It’s more about being recognizable.
When your customer sees your logo, they’ll remember the product or experience they had with your business. Take the Coca-Cola company, for example. They have been around for decades, in part because their products and logo are so easily recognizable. So much so, that just seeing the color red on a soda can or bottle makes you think Coca-Cola.
In the same way that a smiling face is perceived as happiness, your logo should be easily recognizable and should hopefully spark some sort of emotion. Having a memorable logo will play a major role in your brand’s recognition.
While you want your logo to be easily recognizable, you still want it to stand out from the crowd. It’s okay to compare your logo to your competitors’ logos. But you should strive to produce something different than the rest of the brands in your industry. This distinctiveness will set you apart and make it easier for your audience to notice you.
Some More Things to Consider…
Target your audience. In almost every aspect of your business, you’ll be marketing to your target audience. The same rule applies when designing your logo.
You might have a drastically different stylistic taste than your target audience. While most businesses worry about how they think their logo looks, they rarely stop to ask what their customer might think.
As a business owner, you may be looking to brand your business to people of a different demographic or background than you. Don’t make the mistake of choosing a design or logo based only on your own personal taste.
In fact, you should make it a habit to show your logo to as many different types of people associated with your business as you can. This collective opinion is much closer to the reality of your target audience and the public as a whole.
A great logo can withstand the test of time. What’s trending today may not be tomorrow. You take a look at fashion and you can see how quickly something can go out of style.
Your logo should be like the blue jeans of fashion. Jeans have withstood the test of time for their simplicity and versatility. Parachute pants, on the other hand, were only popular for a short time. While it’s hard to predict what will and won’t be trending tomorrow, keeping your logo simple and versatile will help.
You also have to ask yourself when designing a logo: Will this work in 5 years? How about 10 years? How will your logo stay industry-relevant in the long-run? You start putting things into perspective when you add time as a factor.
Don’t overthink it. While you should diligently plan and design your logo as described above, just know that at some point you’ll have to come to a final decision.
The whole point of having a logo is so you can use it. If you keep making changes and modifying it for perfection, you’ll never get anywhere. It’s also true that the longer you stare at something, the more mistakes you will find. But these aren’t always mistakes. Usually, it’s your indecisiveness coming out to haunt you.
You want to aim for perfection, but just know that this is impossible. No logo is completely perfect and time is not on your side. This can also overwhelm the designer, which is important considering their responsibility. Communicate with them as efficiently as you can.
It’s good practice to go through rounds of changes — from the initial mockup to the final product. However, you should limit these rounds to 3-5. Try and express as much as you can in each round of changes so that you’re not going back and forth forever with your designer.
The Most Important Characteristics of a Great Logo
At the end of the day, your logo will feel like the most important thing on your mind. And while it’s crucial to your brand, there are many other aspects of your business that carry an equal weight of importance. Time is the one valuable thing that you can’t get back. So if you’re stuck on your logo, remember to keep it simple and keep moving.
Take your design from concept to fruition and keep in mind the following:
- Keep it simple.
- Ensure that it’s scalable.
- Make it versatile.
- Focus on its relevance.
- Make it easy to recognize.
- Be distinct or unique.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your logo won’t be either. Just be careful not to waste your time or the designer’s time. Have a solid plan, execute it, and put your logo out there for the world to see.
The great thing about just starting out with a logo is that you can make modifications in the future and possibly even rebrand your business down the road if you feel it’s necessary. While you don’t want to go down that route, it is always an option — nothing is permanent.
It’s also vital to hire a professional designer or marketing agency if you don’t have the software/design skills required to create a logo.
Do you know of any other characteristics a great logo should have? If you’d like to share them, leave us a comment below.