4 Steps to a Good Logo

By Holly Kosec on June 26, 2012

By Holly Kosec on June 26, 2012

Every business has a logo, or should. It’s the identifying symbol of your entire company. If you get this wrong, the reputation of your company could be at stake. So how can you make sure your logo isn’t sending all the wrong signals? Here are four steps to follow in your logo-making journey.

Keep it simple

A logo should be simple. Effects like embossing, shadows, glares, and photo realism are cool in the right circumstances, but shouldn’t be used on logos. Why? Well, a logo should be able to translate to many mediums, sizes, or colors. You have to consider all of the mediums you may be using your logo on. Does it need to look good small in the corner of a postcard? Will you be making shirts for your company? Will your logo primarily be online, or will you have printed media?

Take the logo to the right, for example. While it did stick to just a few flat colors, the logo is busy and overpowering, and it definitely wouldn’t pass the resize test. Your logo should be more of a symbol than detailed drawing.

Make it unique

Nobody likes a copycat. Why should your business’ logo be just like everyone else’s in your market? Set yourself apart from the rest of your competitors with something a little bit different. Just because Nike uses a swoosh symbol, doesn’t mean you have to.

You also should be wary of following all of the latest design trends. While some trends can inspire some great new ideas, following them too closely will just make your logo look like everyone else’s. Trends come and go faster than new cell phone models can be released, so you don’t want yours to be the next throwaway phone.

Set the tone

Your logo sets the tone for your company, so make sure it is still appropriate for your business. For example, if you’re in the business of selling children’s toys, your logo should probably convey some sort of childlike feeling. It would be weird if the Toys”R”Us logo was in a script font, right?

All that being said, your logo doesn’t have to be a literal representation of what you do, or what you sell. The important thing is to consider your target audience, what it is you are selling, and what kind of an attitude or atmosphere your business has when deciding on the tone of your logo.

Go for timeless

Your logo should be able to stand the test of time. Look at Coca-Cola, for instance. Although their logo has gone through a few minor overhauls (with a few hiccups), it is still basically the same logo. It is also one of the most recognizable logos around the world. At one point, Coca-Cola tried to go a different route with their logo when they launched a new formula for their drink. They were met with backlash, and eventually changed back to their tried and true formulas, in both their drink and their logo.

If you’re doing things right, your logo won’t need to be revamped every few years. Having to establish new branding can weaken your company. You’ve already put a lot of time and effort into the first round of branding, and all of that goes to waste if you start over.

Paul Rand, a designer who was well known for his logo contributions to the corporate world, sums it up pretty nicely,

Design, good or bad, is a vehicle of memory. Good design adds value of some kind and, incidentally, could be sheer pleasure; it respects the viewer-his sensibilities-and rewards the entrepreneur. It is easier to remember a well designed image than one that is muddled. A well design logo, in the end, is a reflection of the business it symbolizes. It connotes a thoughtful and purposeful enterprise, and mirrors the quality of its products and services.

Paul Rand
Logos, Flags, and Escutcheons


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