logo design principles

Telling signs of a good logo

The logo is the most seen asset of a brand identity. Does yours show all the 5 principles of a good logo? Read along and find out. And if not, we can help!

Almost every business, be it a small, family owned bakery shop or a big corporation commissions a logo. They want to get a logo that stands out from the crowd and that they love.

They want to visually distinguish themselves from the competition. And want to ensure that they are recognized easily by their loyal fans.

Before going into details what makes a logo stand out, let’s clarify the difference between your logo and your brand.

Logo vs Brand

'Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.'

Marty Neumeier

Your brand is the sum of all experiences and impressions your customers and clients gained over time. When they interacted with your business, that is:

  • bought your products and services,
  • contacted you with customer service issues,
  • checked you out on social media.


 

If they get the same positive experience again and again, they will associate your business with certain values. And will seek it out to solve their pain points.

They’ll start

  • talking about you,
  • spreading the word about you,
  • recognizing you

whenever they see your logo.

But you see, they don’t do it because of your logo.

If you’ve launched your business recently, you don’t have a brand yet. You’ll get there, but it takes time and effort and commitment.

Common misconception about logos

People often think that the logo is their brand. They put enormous pressure on it and see it as something that should solve all their business issues.

  • I don’t have any clients. It must be that they don’t like my logo.
  • I don’t sell enough of my products. Probably my customers don’t like the logo on the packaging.
  • There aren’t many clients popping into my beauty parlor. The logo on my salon’s front door/window must be off-putting.


 

And if it’s not bringing the increased sales, they scold the designer who made their logo saying it’s not good. And start thinking about rebranding.

But here is the thing: Your logo is not your brand itself. Your logo is only an asset of your brand identity. One that can have a significant role over time contributing to instant brand awareness.

Think about it: your logo is the piece of the puzzle that is seen most of the time by your clients and customers. It is on your:

  • business card
  • product packagings
  • advertising materials
  • free product samples
  • downloadable digital documents
  • social media handles
  • website.

 

This small piece of design acts as a silent ambassador on your behalf 24/7, day-by-day.

And it’s often not love at first sight

Design, and especially logo design may not be love at first sight.

And that’s fine.

You should focus on the end goal and look at it from a long term point of view. It’s not a fling, but a long term commitment.

A logo gains its power and meaning not by the instant likes on social media after you’ve announced the go-live of your business. But over time.

If you tend to fell in love any time you see a nice logo design on Pinterest, well, then you’ll have a hard time when it comes to your own logo and identity design.

What looks nice in isolation and without a real business context, may not work at all when it comes to practical applications for your own business.

Yes, that logo looks pretty good on that Pinterest board. I’ll give you that. It’s pleasing to the eye.

  • But would it actually be appropriate for you?
  • Would it give you a distinctive edge over your competitors?
  • Or would it just make you bland with a familiar, safe design?


So what is a good logo anyway?

There is a lot of debate about this among designers and laymen too.

Sagi Haviv said in an interview with The Futur, that there are a lot of misconceptions about logos. That people think a logo should say a whole lot about them/their business. That a logo should be pretty or that we should love our logo. But none of these matter actually.

An interesting thought when you see so many logos nowadays with the pattern of something like this:

  • If it’s for a moving company let’s show that there’s a guy moving a box or a car that’s moving fast.
  • If it’s for a dental health clinic, let’s add a tooth to the design concept.


 

To answer the question of what makes a logo good, first of all we need to understand what a logo is and is not:

A logo is not for communication. It’s not for explicitly saying what and who you are. A logo is for identification. So when customers and clients see only the logo, they clearly know it’s you/your business and not someone else.

The logo shouldn’t be overburdened with too much communication about your brand. You can say a lot about yourself

  • in advertising and marketing,
  • on your website,
  • on social media,
  • with the help of your branded collaterals.

 

For the logo itself, the less it says the better.

logo design principles

A good logo should be five things

#1 Appropriate

And appropriate doesn’t mean expressive. It shouldn’t try to say a whole lot.

It should be appropriate for its intended purpose. It should be appropriate in the feeling of it, like a personality thing. It should be appropriate for the core idea.

You’ll consider a completely different look and feel if your audience are children, teenagers or an architect firm. Also if the logo is meant for a sporting event you’d expect something bold and dynamic in the design. If it’s used in fashion you look for something that feels elegant.

#2 Distinctive and memorable

People often will only take a glimpse at your logo when

  • browsing through your website,
  • reading your brochure or
  • buying your product.

 

The logo should be unusual enough to persist in our mind and it should be easily recalled and remembered. That is if you see it once or twice you should be able to describe it to somebody or sketch it on a piece of paper.

#3 Simple

It’s maybe the most important one: it needs to be simple. Logos are used on different platforms and in various formats and sizes. It has to be simple in a way so it can be reproduced everywhere in tiny sizes and pixel formats and so on.

The more complex a design, the greater the chances that fine details will be lost. Even if you’re tempted, go for the simpler design solution.

#4 Timeless

A good logo should be modern and timeless. Modern does not equal to trendy in this context.

Though the latest trends are modern, but they do come and go. They don’t prove timeless. Which again doesn’t mean that over the years your logo can’t evolve. But well composed logos usually change little over time. They are only tweaked a bit to make them more modern and contemporary. Their essential (timeless) elements are kept intact.

#5 Versatile

Where do you come across logos in everyday life? You see them on

  • clothes,
  • business cards,
  • websites,
  • small pens,
  • big billboards,
  • horizontal and vertical banners
  • and the list could go on and on.

 

A good logo will maintain its integrity and will look well in all situations.

How does your logo fare?

Now that I’ve cleared up some myths about logos you may have started to look at your own with fresh eyes.

But before you’d jump to the conclusion that a new logo design and a complete brand refresh should be your top priority, pause first. And objectively think over if it’s really your logo that’s underperforming.

  • How well does your business represent and stand for its core values?
  • Are you constantly delivering on your promises?
  • Do you show the same business mission on every platform, be it your website, social media or printed advertising?
  • Do you even advertise?


 

If after careful evaluation you decide that your business has changed over the years and that you are by now on a different path, that makes your current logo and brand obsolete and not appropriate for its purpose anymore, I’d be happy to assist in rebranding of your business.

Ready to have a lasting brand that attracts your dream customers?

Let’s have a non-binding chat about your needs and expectations.

And before we part for today, let me emphasize again: A logo does not need to show what a business sells or offers as a product. Research into the top 50 brands & logo designs in the world showed that in 94% of the cases a logo is used to identify a company and not to describe what it does.

Just take a look at the best global brands and you’ll see.

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