November 6, 2015

What makes a good logo?

Logos have several key components, all gathered into one cohesive object. A good logo should be appropriate, simple, aesthetically pleasing, practical, individual and a strong reflection of your brand values.

In no particular order, the ideal logo is:

  • Simple
  • Unique
  • Timeless
  • Adaptable
  • Memorable
  • Appropriate


A simple logo allows for easy recognition, therefore it contributes to the logo also being memorable. Your logo can have elaborate or complex features but as long as it can be interpreted quickly, you’re on the right track.


It is important to stand out amongst the vast array of competitors in your market. A good way of achieving this is to steer clear of over used elements in your industry. It is also important to keep in mind that a logo does not need to portray what a business does. Take Microsoft, Amazon and Coca-Cola, 3 of the largest brands in 2015. Microsoft’s logo is not a computer, Amazon’s logo is not a shopping cart and Coca-Cola’s logo is not a beverage. It is also important to remember that there is no need to be different for the sake of being different – always evaluate your audience. Take a hardware store for example; your target audience is probably 90% male. Creating a logo in pinks and magentas to differentiate you from your competitors is more likely to alienate you from your consumers, than it is to be a successful attempt at being unique.


Let’s take a look at the comparison between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Between 1900 and 2015 Coca-Cola has made one major change to its logo whereas in the same time period Pepsi has made 8 significant updates to theirs. Creating a timeless logo, which will endure for many years to come, is a perfect way to ensure your logo has great market penetration.


A great way to test the adaptability of a logo is to ensure it translate across different mediums. Will the logo you create evoke the same feelings on a website as it will on a billboard? This brings us back to our first point, simplicity. If your logo scales well, it will be legible at its minimum size and its largest. It is also important that your logo is adaptable to grayscale and sometimes single color.


While it is true that it often takes repeated exposure to your logo to attain recognition, some logos are easier to remember than others. Again, simplicity comes back into play. The more complex your logo is, the harder it will be to remember.


Your target audience will most often determine the style of your logo. An appropriate logo will be geared towards showing a relationship between your logo, the goods or services you offer and your potential customer. For example, lets say we are creating a logo for a kindergarten. Let us then think about who we are targeting. We are not really targeting the children, as much as we are targeting the parents. Now that we have established our audience we know the attributes for this logo should be friendly, safe, educational and probably most importantly, fun.

As Paul Rand stated on this topic, It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. A logo derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes.” This statement is a good reminder that a powerful logo needs a strong and stable foundation. Your logo is your business’ face but your brand is what they buy.