What do we think of when we read about company names like Apple, Twitter, or Nike? We think of a glowing apple. A bright blue bird. A distinct checkmark (or swoosh). All of these companies possess eye-catching logos that are easily identifiable and symbolize the quality of the product they produce or services they provide.
Creating an eye-catching logo that resonates is essential to establishing a brand identity. Before starting this design process, have a clear understanding of what a logo is, why it is so important, and the principles to follow (as well as avoid) that can lead to successful logo development.
What is a logo?
A logo is the face of the company. Logos serve as the visual connection to your brand and inspire trust, recognition, and admiration. They are an empty vessel that consumers use to associate meaning with your brand based on the quality of your product or service.
Why is a logo important?
Logos establish a connection to the company and its products. They are your first impression on customers, a way for people to remember you, to distinguish your brand from that of competitors, and to foster brand loyalty.
What types of logos are there?
There are several varieties of logos. Let’s examine three core types, according to this Vox video:
- Wordmark – The easiest and most familiar logo. This focuses on developing a creative expression to display the name of a company. Google is an example of this type of logo.
- Pictorial/Logomark – This would be a picture that can directly or indirectly identify the company. Target’s logo is a pictorial logo.
- Abstract iconography – This a logo like the Nike swoosh. Over time, its checkmark has gained significant meaning through association with the company’s products.
The component of logos
Now that we understand the basic types of logos, we can dive into their components.
- Color – Color is critical. It should go beyond an “aesthetic appeal” and communicate an intended message that is consistent with the brand positioning and identity of the company. It is best practice to stay within 2-3 color combinations.
- Typography/font – Logos can be built around a single letter or the full name of the business. Typography should be customized in some way.
- Image – An image can range from an arrow to an abstract rendition of an animal (WWF’s panda).
- Taglines (optional) – Taglines can be used as clarification for what a company does and can be combined with any type of logo.
Principles of designing a logo
It’s foundational to understand the composition of a logo, but how do you ensure that you end up with a quality logo? There are five key principles to remember, according to Smashing Magazine.
Create an eye-catching logo that is simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate.
- Simple – Simplicity makes it easier to remember a logo, but simple doesn’t mean avoiding something unique.
- Memorable – Steer clear of symbols that have repetitively been used and are more commodity than unique expression. Look at some successful companies. The Mercedes logo isn’t a car and the Apple logo isn’t a computer. Logos don’t always have to precisely match the content of the company.
- Timeless – Will this logo still be effective in 5-10 years?
- Versatile – Does the logo still work when it’s printed in one color or reverse color? Does it work at the small size of a stamp and the large size of a billboard?
- Appropriate – Create a logo that fits your intended audience. A child-like font and colorful typography is appropriate for a toy store, but may not be the right choice for your brand.
When you begin designing your logo, it’s best to concept in black and white before adding color so it’s easier to identify what works. Try not to blindly follow industry standards but instead distinguish yourself from similar brands. As you design your logo, remember to use geometric shapes, which are pleasing to the eye, and to utilize negative space (the FedEx logo).
What to avoid in a logo
Bad logos tend to be too bright, too loud, and confusing. Resist being too busy, with too much standing out in a logo so that it doesn’t divert from a main point of focus. Poor spacing and using fonts that don’t pair well together can also be detrimental.
Examples of good logos
Let’s look at some well-known logos and identify the aspects that make them so memorable.
The General Electric logo is simple and resembles a washing machine, which is one of their most popular products. It combines this subtle imagery with a unique font for its initials.
Facebook enables a viewer to recognize their brand immediately. The company has only slightly altered its logo over the years.
The arrow on Amazon’s logo goes from A to Z. It imitates movement and implies the range of Amazon delivery, as well as customer satisfaction.
Nike has a symbol that establishes a company’s reputation and turns it into a reliable brand. Though it started out as abstract iconography, it has been reinforced throughout the years through advertising and market-leading products to gain its significance today.
Create your own eye-catching logo
It will take plenty of time, research, and renditions before finding the right fit for your company. However, by following these key practices and understanding what goes into an eye-catching logo, you will be left with a distinct face for your brand that conveys its quality and intended message. This logo will appear anywhere your product, company, and brand are represented, creating a memorable impression on customers for years to come.