5 Keys of Successful Logo Design

The best logos make an impact. They are memorable and they instantly evoke images of the brand with which they are associated. Think of the Golden Arches in the McDonald’s logo or the classic script in the Coca-Cola logo. Think of the peacock feathers in the NBC logo or the swoosh in the Nike logo.

On the other hand, bad logos are forgettable. They look unprofessional and they don’t tell you anything about the brand.

Creating a successful logo can influence the overall success of your brand. Whether you are a logo designer yourself or if you are looking to hire a designer to create your logo, it is important to understand the qualities of a great logo so you can get one that encourages the success of your business. Here are 5 keys to successful logo design:

Simplicity

One of the most important aspects of successful logo design is simplicity. There should be clean lines and few details like shading or other artistic touches. Colors should be limited to a few choices. Text should be limited to the brand name. Some great examples include the Nike swoosh, the Google logo, the Target bull’s eye, and the Twitter “T.” In logo design, less is more.

Target

Recognition

Your logo will be synonymous with your brand. Therefore, it must be instantly recognizable in any format or medium. No matter what color, no matter what size, no matter what format, your logo should be identifiable as the image for your brand. Think of social media icons such as Facebook and Twitter: They use the logos for the most prominent social networks, but they are often manipulated to fit the theme of a blog and so are presented in different colors, different shapes, and different formats, yet they are always recognizable.

Twitter


Uniqueness

If your logo is to be recognizable, it should also be unique. Otherwise, what is to say that the star in your logo is not actually the start in another company’s logo? Common shapes may be used, but they should be altered to create a unique logo for your brand, such as through special coloring or other details. However, it is a much better idea to create a unique logo that uses a unique shape or item that is not likely to be used by another company. The Nike swoosh is another great example, as is the apple with the bite taken out of it for Apple electronics.

Apple

Tone

Your logo must tell your audience a bit about your company. What are your values? What kind of products or services do you provide? While a simple logo may not be able to convey all this information, it should create a certain tone that reflects your brand. For example, a logo with a comic sans font and bright colors will convey a sense of playfulness and irreverence. If you have a toy company, this may be totally appropriate. (Think of the playful font in the Toys R Us logo.) However, if you have a financial services company, this may make you seem unprofessional. Be sure that your logo creates the right tone for your brand.

Toys R Us

Transferability

Your logo will be used on every item associated with your brand, including print materials, your website, your social media, and your e-mail list. It is important that your logo can not only be easily transferred to any of these mediums, but also that it will be recognizable in each of them. For example, an animated logo may look great on a website, but you won’t be able to use it in a print campaign. Will it look as good as a static image? If not, you may want to consider a new logo.

Nike

Some successful examples include the Nike swoosh logo and the McDonald’s arches. Those logos are recognizable in almost any format.

There is a certain amount of creativity and plain old luck required to create a successful logo. However, ensuring that your logo has each of these elements can help you to create something special that will help you to brand your company and connect with your customers.

Does your logo have these qualities? What do you consider the key elements of successful logo design? Share your thoughts in the comments!

About the Author:

Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site projectmanagementsoftware.com, where she has recently been researching pm software. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.

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14 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Tariq Rajj, February 20, 2013

    ALL are nice keys , and i agree with you unique design with simplicity and show artistic touch make the brand most popular.

  • Vicky B, February 21, 2013

    Considering the numerous trademark disputes over the Apple logo, I’m not sure this is the best example of ‘uniqueness’ but I get your point :) nice article!

  • Julian, February 21, 2013

    While I agree that simple logos are nice, sometimes a more complex logo with shading, flourishes, etc… are better suited for certain markets. Imagine using the nike logo for a wedding planning company. Complexity in logos can give a different feel, IMO.

    The simple design is great for a corporation, hands down.

    Thanks for the article, I love the content on this site.

    • Steven Snell, February 21, 2013

      Hi Julian,
      I would agree with you that there is a time and place for other styles of logos. There is no solution that would be right for every business. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Sierra, February 22, 2013

    To Julian: I agree that simple logos aren’t always the best solution but when your logo isn’t simple you lose the important attributes that this post is about, i.e. transferability, tone, etc. It’s somewhat of a catch-22.

  • Ben Nafi, February 27, 2013

    thanks .. i’m learning about logos here now.. :)

  • Dinier, March 12, 2013

    IMO this companies and their mega money campaigns make these “great” logos. If any of these companies hadn’t made it soooo big, none of their logos would be considered Memorable by the masses. To me the more your company grow the more recognition your logo will get. It’s nothing magical about any of the big corporation logos.

  • adam, April 18, 2013

    logo plays important role in branding of any business. logos help to put brand name in people’s mind. logo speaks about brand and people remember the brand with it’s logo. logos are nothing but special designed images by using icons, pictures, alphabets.

  • Craig Allen, April 19, 2013

    Designers often forget to perform a little bit deeper interview with their customer than just asking about their company name and market area. Especially I would suggest that asking about target audience, tone of company and logo design style (character, emblem etc.) is a key point to develop something that wouldn’t need 100 re-draws in order to make customer happy. Nice and factual post.

    C.

  • OOHLOGO, May 24, 2013

    I will also add Logic to the list, Clever Designs always impress.

  • Alice Josh, June 5, 2013

    A good piece of information regarding logo designing. according to my point of view making your logo simple and accurate is not a bad idea it requires lots of experience and practice to make such kind of logos but one should also avoid to make our logo complex which are more difficult to understand and demonstrating so many thing that you cannot figure out the exact message which they actually want to deliver

  • Brucemorris, June 11, 2013

    I agree with your all point if any one follow them . They will be succesfull.
    i like your blogpost it’s very informative and resolved my problems..

  • disenotech, June 13, 2013

    I think it is vector design …

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