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What Makes a Good Logo?

logo design tips
Think of Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola. Even without looking them up, you already know what their iconic logos look like. Such is the power of making the right logo design choices. But what makes a good logo?

More than being a visual representation of your brand, it can help you stand out among your competitors, improve brand recognition, and represent your organization’s values.

And since this will be present in all your marketing collateral—from your products, website, social media accounts to your business cards—getting this right early in your business is key. So here are a few pointers you need to remember when you want to know what makes a good logo design, whether you’re the one designing it or if you’re working with logo designers:

1. Choose The Right Visual Elements

What makes a logo a good logo depends on several elements that it should get right:

  • Typography — If you want your logo to include your brand name, you need to know how fonts impact thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Understanding font psychology can tell you whether serif, sans serif, or script fonts, will better fit your business.
  • Shapes — Similar to typography, different shapes also convey different thoughts and emotions. Circles, for example, are often associated with femininity, continuity, and protection. Rectangles and squares give feelings of reliability and stability due to their edges.
  • Color — Colors also evoke certain emotions. Learning color psychology can help you pick the right palette for your logo. Make sure that the color combination will not affect legibility and that it’s flexible enough to still appear good when the logo is rendered black and white.

2. Be Timeless

The elements of what makes a good brand logo doesn’t always necessitate following what’s currently all the rage in the design scene. Jumping on the latest design trend can actually hurt more than it can help. Remember: Fads die out. What looks good today can be outdated in as little as five years. Being distinctive should not come at the cost of needing to rebrand each time you need to update your logo.

Source: Consumerist

Since brands naturally evolve over time, design a logo that can be flexible enough to keep up with the changing times. Look at the case of Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Pepsi changed its logo (and brand colors) several times since its inception, but Coca-Cola’s font and colors generally stayed the same. Brand recognition can be better established over time if the heart of your logo is timeless.

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3. Choose Simplicity

When making decisions, the human mind is wired to choose what is simple, as opposed to something that’s complex which requires more time and effort. Scientists call this cognitive fluency.

The same principle applies to your logo. Do away with complexity. Simplicity, however, does not mean boring. It’s possible to come up with a simple design that still packs a punch.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ old logo
Source: Wikimedia

Back in 2018, The Chicago Sun-Times worked with Ogilvy to come up with a new identity for the paper. The result is a cleaner sans-serif font which makes it a lot easier to read.

The visual hierarchy also works better with “Chicago” getting the same font and size as the other words. Finally, the redesign project brought a stronger identity to the organization, as it included the red star that’s also present in the state’s flag.

The newspaper’s new logo following a 2018 redesign
Source: The Chicago Sun-Times

4. Be Memorable

If you ask us what makes a good business logo, we often tell our clients that it has to be at the top of the mind of your target market, it needs to strike the balance between its visuals and what it stands for.

Source: Wikimedia

A siren may not be what you would initially think of when drinking coffee, but Starbucks started in Seattle—one of America’s busiest ports. Its close relationship with water led to the founders using the “Starbuck” name, a major character from the novel Moby Dick. This nautical theme then led one of their early creative partners to use the image of the siren as their logo. 

5. Reflect Your Brand’s Story or Values

What makes a good brand logo? It has to communicate the meaning of your brand. What do you want your business to mean to your customers? What is your brand story? What problem do you want to solve? Know first your company’s direction, then create your logo.

Source: Wikimedia

Take, for instance, Sony Vaio. The “v” and “a” were created to look like the analog wave, while the “i” and “o” represents the binary 1 and 0 in digital signals. From left to right, the logo represents the progression of technology as well as the company’s move from analog to digital. Their logo cleverly incorporates the company’s history, the progression of technology, and their future.

Your logo sits at the foundation of your company’s brand identity. It shouldn’t be treated like a random image that can be changed anytime, as you will carry your logo for as long as your business is alive. It takes time to create a good logo, but the payoff is well worth it, especially when you leave a good, memorable, and lasting impression to your customers.

What makes a good logo can be subjective, as creating one involves both art and science. If you need help with building your brand, our world-class designers offer on-demand brand asset designs that will help your business advance its competitive edge. Get in touch with us today.

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