Principles of Effective Logo Design

If you’re reading this list, you’re probably in the market for a new logo, but you’d like to know what criteria to use to judge whether your logo is the right fit for the brand you are aiming to establish.Here are some general guidelines from world renowned designers and CEO’s that can help you judge for yourself. However, keep in mind that a “good” design is relative to how you want it to function. We’ll explain that later on.

“Design is not just what it looks like and how it feels. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

1. Simple

When developing a logo, in most cases you want to aim for simplicity. Why? Because people are bombarded with information and have limited mental bandwidth. Your logo should be simple enough so that it’s recognizable at a glance.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”  — Hans Hofmann

2. Memorable

Your logo should be easily distinguishable from others in the same market space. This is easier said than done, but it’s possible! One way to avoid the pitfall of looking like everyone else is to avoid using overused icons. For example, “light bulbs” are typically known for ideas, or “globes” for international trade. Also, keep in mind that logos do not need to say what the company does. The McDonald’s logo is not a hamburger, and the Apple logo is not a computer. Instead, focus on the unique qualities of your company and the core impression you want to make on your audience. Then design your logo to support it.

“You want to move the viewer in a perception so that when they first look at ‘the logo’ . . . they get the idea, because that act between seeing and understanding is critical.” –Milton Glaser

3. Versatile

Good logos work well across various mediums. It should convey the same meaning on business cards as it would on a billboard. The design should also work well in black and white because businesses often print in black and white to save on printing cost.

“Ideally, your design should work at a minimum of around one inch without loss of detail.”  — David Airey

4. Timeless

When designing your logo, consider how relevant it will be over the years. Logos that experience dramatic changes can confuse the message of the brand. That’s why it’s wise to avoid elements in your design whose meaning can change over time, especially if permanence is your aim.

On the other hand, if you only plan to be in business temporarily to take advantage of a trend, then there’s no need for a timeless logo. It all depends on your strategy and objectives. Coca Cola’s logo is timeless and has not changed much since it was created in 1886.

5. Appropriate

Lastly, make your logo appropriate for your target audience and the market space you are in. Before you begin any design, always consider that you’re designing for at least two audiences: your client and your client’s client.

“Designing for a lawyer? Ditch the fun approach. Designing for a kid’s TV show? Nothing too serious.”  — David Airey 

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