How is it possible that a single business logo makes an immediate impact – striking an emotional chord and becoming somehow memorable in the mind’s eye of its viewers? That seems impossible, and yet it’s precisely what you want to achieve when designing an effective logo for your company.
The marketing whizzes at Hubspot write, “Logos are usually the most recognizable representation of a company or organization. And with more information available to the average consumer today, logos also have to quickly and effectively communicate on behalf of their brand.”
That’s a tough objective, so we’re here to provide five essential logo design tips that will help your logo stand the test of time.
1. Keep the 5 Principles of Logo Design at the forefront
Logo designers always work within a five-point framework, aka, “The 5 Principles of Logo Design.”
- Simplicity. It has to be simple enough in color, font, symbol(s), and verbiage to be interpreted in a single glance. If you can’t capture the essence of your logo in an instant (test it on family, friends, or random passersby), go back to the drawing board.
- Memorability. Along those same lines, you want the logo to be memorable. That includes its message and general essence. People should only require a second or two to assemble some type of meaning – ideally, the meaning you intended. Again, test, test, and test some more.
- Timelessness. Think about the logos adopted by some of the most successful companies (Coca-Cola, Nike, Hallmark), and you’ll notice that while they’ve had updates or facelifts, the logos generally retained original shape, size, and coloring, such that you recognize it across the decades. This is the timeless element you’re seeking for an effective logo design. A timeless and translatable logo eliminates the need for expensive and energy consumptive rebranding in the future. The ideal would be to design a logo your brand uses in 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.
- Versatility. Your logo will appear on everything from marketing brochures and your website to vehicle wraps and large murals. Is it designed to look great across the spectrum of potential landing spots – from small– to very large format applications?
- Appropriateness. Does the logo appeal to your target audience(s)? Again, you’ll need to test it and find out. Designers often get so excited about designing a fresh and innovative logo that they forget the audience members they want to attract.
Anchoring in these logo design principles provides a strong foundation from which to launch the creative process.
2. Be intuitively unique and clever
So, your intuitive gifts must remain at the forefront, continuously feeling the pulse of the brand, its meaning and feeling, and its target audience. That being said, you also want to design something unique and/or clever so it is more striking and memorable.
It’s wise to look at your competitors’’ logos – both smaller fish in your local arena, as well as the big, corporate versions. Note what makes an impact, and take that to heart. But then think outside the box, so your logo in no way replicates or rides on the coattails of the competition.
In his book, Logo Design Love, David Airey reminds us of the importance of innovative creativity, stating, “The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an airplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer.“ Your logo is infinitely more meaningful than just products and services, which will evolve and change over time.
3. Never underestimate the power of font selection
Remember the first two principles of logo design – Simplicity and Memorability? If your logo includes letters or words, be extra careful of the font you select. Words can only be quickly scanned if they are easy to read, and that requires selecting an easy-to-read font.
The font that may seem the most clever, exciting, or visually flashy at the outset may not be the best in terms of simplicity, memorability – or versatility, for that matter.
Read, Top 10 Easy to Read Fonts, to begin exploring font options that will help your logo make a faster and simpler impact.
4. Wordmark, symbol, or both?
Another thing David Airey reminds us in his books and blogs is that a logo consists of two basic elements: a wordmark and a symbol. For many companies, a logo-worthy symbol can’t even be conceived of until they’ve advertised enough – and tested enough – to know what symbol makes the most sense for branding and resonates best with the public. For others, the logo may be inherent in the company name.
While Coca-Cola has the luxury of relying purely on a wordmark/logomark or logotype (as do Adidas, Ray-Ban, and IBM), that only works successfully for smaller- to midsize companies if your name is unique enough to get away with it. Finally, don’t forget about the power of using negative space when working with typefaces, and then specific fonts, before selecting the final winner.
5. Think in terms of both color and color-less
There are no words to express how vital color selection is. Complimentary and contrasting colors determine whether your logo is visually compelling or not. Plus, colors have emotional energy of their own, which are worth knowing and keeping in mind. That being said, it’s wise to keep a color-less perspective in the background.
You may find it wise to implement a black/white version of your logo for specific events, seasons, or future promotional opportunities. Sketch the logo in pencil or black pen to evaluate its color-less appeal and adjust accordingly. The simple edits you make here and there to perfect the black-and-white (colorless) version will amplify the effect of its colorful counterpart.
May these tips help you design a logo that will carry your brand into the next decade or two. Need help perfecting your phase 1 logo, or have no idea where to start? That’s what we’re here for. Contact the printing professionals here at SpeedPro EastBay to schedule an appointment, or give us a call at (510) 298-0699.