A poorly created logo can be less than effective. But a winning logo design stand the test of time. So what is it that makes a great logo?
The 5 logo design rules:
1. Simple designs work best
Simple, clean designs almost look effortless in their execution. Refined and clutter free with a strong single idea at there core.
The best chefs in the world create their dishes to look beautiful and display only a few elements on the plate. Much like an identity a winning dish has a lot of work done in the prep, but the final presentation is very simple.
Take the Apple logo for example. A brand that is recognized throughout the world. OK it has changed over the years, but it demonstrates that keeping things simple… works. Which is the best of the design rules in my opinion.
The apple logo-mark was originally created by the leading designer Rob Janoff. The ‘bite’ was added to give the apple image some scale. Otherwise it looks more like a cherry. Just imagine, we could all be working on Cherry Mac computers if things had worked out differently.
2. Make it distinctive
Designers tune their brains differently in order to constantly try to create a piece of artwork or product that is distinctive.
It is extremely difficult to design something that it truly original. Most designers tend to borrow from existing sources and add their unique twist. But if you can deliver something that sets your work apart from the competition, then you stand a good chance of getting noticed.
To quote Don Draper from Mad Men: “Do you want to stand out, or fit in?”
3. Versatility is the key
What I mean is, your logo design should be able to scale well. Look good on a huge advertising board or stay readable on the side of a pencil.
The idea may accommodate a pattern or image inside it. Or maybe it works in a range of different carefully chosen colors. Of course this isn’t always the case with every logo, but it’s worth thinking about.
Does your client need the logo to be used in social media? Is it a word-mark, logo-mark or a combination mark? These are all questions that will determine how the final design can be seen and used.
4. Keep it relevant
How the logo is styled to match its intended market is key. What to include and what not to include is also of value.
Take for example the FedEx brand, designed by Lindon Leader of Landor Associates and LeaderCreative. If the typography had resembled a multicolored hand drawn font, the logo wouldn’t have been quite as effective. Or if it had included a parcel or letter in it’s design it would have cheapened the brand. Just because you can add an element that is relevant or obvious, it doesn’t mean you should.
So it all comes back to how the business owner wants their company, product or service to be perceived with their intended audience.
5. Enduring to the end
If your design is well crafted then it should not require any further work for many years. Try to avoid trends in typography and color. Much like music or fashion people’s tastes change over time. So what might be cool today maybe uncool tomorrow.
Many iconic logos have gone under numerous changes over the years. Some have stayed fairly close to the original concept. An example is the World Wildlife Fund logo created by British environmentalist and artist Gerald Watterson and later drawn up by Sir Peter Scott, one of the organisation’s founders. Tweaked and further simplified over the years, it works even more effectively than the original.