What makes a good logo?
Most logo designers agree that a good logo is simple (making it easy to recognize & remember), memorable, recognizable at any size, effective in black and white as well as color, and timeless (i.e. they won’t look outdated in a few years).
Jacob Cass says that the basic rules and principles of effective logo design are:
1. A logo must be simple A simple logo design allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile & memorable. Good logos feature something unexpected or unique without being overdrawn.
2. A logo must be memorable Following closely behind the principle of simplicity, is that of memorability. An effective logo design should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple, yet, appropriate logo.
3. A logo must be timeless An effective logo should be timeless – that is, it will stand the test of time. Will the logo still be effective in 10, 20, 50 years?
4. A logo must be versatile An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. The logo must work in just one colour too.
5. A logo must be appropriate How you position the logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose. For example, if you are designing a a logo for children’s toys store, it would be appropriate to use a childish font & color scheme. This would not be so appropriate for a law firm.
From How To Design A Logo by Jacob Cass
See Jacob’s article What Makes A Good Logo for more details.
Rebecca Bauer Ritz says a logo should be
- Easy to read
- Designed in Black and White first
- Relevant to your audience
- Part of a larger brand
From What Makes A Good Logo by Rebecca Bauer Ritz
The designers at The Logo Factory say that the benchmarks of a decent logo are:
3) Gimmick Free (No funky effects or filters.)
4) Adaptability (Works well in various situations – on invoices, checks, faxes, embroidered on hats or t-shirts, in ads, as profile pictures for social media, etc.)
5) Scalability (Works at any size from postage stamp to billboard.)
6) Color is Secondary (Your logo must look good in black and white.)
7) Appropriate Aspect Ratio & Footprint (See http://www.thelogofactory.com/logo-design-tips/logo-footprints-aspect-ratios/ for more about aspect ratios and logo footprints.)
From 7 golden rules of logo design by The Logo Factory
Angie Bowen says the characteristics of great logo design are:
- Looks good in Black and White
- Clean and Clear
From 6 Characteristics of Great Logo Design by Angie Bowen
Straight North says their top seven qualities of effective logo design are
- DO streamline your design.
- DON’T overcomplicate things. Because you want your logo to be easily recognizable, you want it to be simple—a lightning-fast way for users to notice and remember your brand.
- DO set yourself apart.
- DON’T look just like the competition.
- DO consider various applications.
- DON’T design for just one size or medium. A great logo can be printed at different sizes, across different mediums and in different applications without losing its power.
- DO think about your industry.
- DON’T feel the need to be obvious. As Patrick Winfield writes, “McDonald’s … could have went with a juicy burger next to the name, but instead they took the first initial ‘M’ and created an icon that was both simple and visually pleasing to look at as an asymmetrical element.”
- DO design for your intended audience.
- DON’T forget the customer. Whatever your industry, your logo needs to be able to connect with the people you are marketing to.
- DON’T be forgettable.
- DO leave an impression.
- DON’T be too trendy.
- DO aim for longevity. Graphic designer David Airey writes at his site, Logo Design Love, that “Trends come and go, and when you’re talking about changing a pair of jeans, or buying a new dress, that’s fine, but where your brand identity is concerned, longevity is key. ”
From 7 Essential Qualities of a Great Logo by Straight North
There you have it. While they sometimes use different words to describe the criteria, most designers agree that a good logo is simple, memorable, recognizable at any size, effective in black and white as well as color, and timeless.