Ever wonder why some brands have logos that are so recognizable while others fade into the crowd? Why some brands get away with just a logo on apparel while other brands need their full name in order for people to know what brand is being represented?
I’ve been a designer for over a decade and have put hundreds of logos on billboards, websites, brochures, letterheads, apparel and more. Throughout the years I’ve developed a 5 key considerations to design an effective logo that will work across a variety of mediums and stand out against competitors. Here it is:
1. Keep it simple and readable.
Keeping your logo simple is the most important and probably the hardest tip. We want our logo to tell a story, to represent what we do, and to look great.
But our logos aren’t always displayed large and in full color. There will be times your logo is tiny, black and white, and sent through a fax. Is it readable then? What about if it’s on a billboard where cars zoom past at 70mph?
Don’t try and do too much. A VERY simple image or just a nice text treatment works best. And, if you are lucky, you might be able to combine image and text into a single mark.
One of my favorite simple logos is the FedEx logo. At first, it looks like a plain type treatment, but if you look close, the white space between the E and the X makes an arrow.
2. Type treatment sets the tone.
Font choice is another important choice when designing a logo. The font style should match brand. For example, a frilly, script doesn’t work for a mechanic and a distressed slab font isn’t right for a cake decorator.
3. The wrong image can send the wrong message.
First of all, avoid clip art. In most cases, it makes your business feel small and unprofessional. If it looks like anyone could have pieced your logo together with images off the web, then potential clients might assume your services or products are sub par.
It is also essential to choose an image that represents your field. For example, the Nationwide logo is clean, simple, and easy to read (all good things), but does anyone else think it looks like a Polaroid picture? Nothing about that image conveys insurance or nationwide.
4. Consider the orientation.
It’s great to have a really unique mark, but there will be times when your logo will need to fit in pre-existing standard-sized spaces (like on a website, or sponsorship packet, etc.) So, consider a mark that will work in both vertical and horizontal spaces.
Some companies have a vertical and horizontal layout option so they can choose which one to use based on the space available. Here is one example.
5. Logo design is not the place to skimp or try to save a few bucks.
There are always those lucky companies who find a top-notch student, or a talented, hungry designer to design a killer logo. Nike was one of them. They paid a student $35 for the now famous swoosh logo.
However, most of us are not that lucky, and we get what we pay for.
One of the common things designers will tell you is there is good design, fast design, and cheap design. You can pick 2 (good + fast or cheap + good) but you shouldn’t expect all 3.
Since you are working so hard to develop a strong reputation for your company – you want your visual identity to be an accurate representation of the quality service you provide.
You will likely be using the same logo for years and years, so look at it as an investment and push your designer to get it “just right.”
Good luck making your mark!