When it comes to logo design, looks aren’t everything. It’s important, but it’s not at the top of the list. That spot, instead, belongs to effectiveness because at the end of the day, logos are expected to say so many things without actually being too many things. One look at it and the customer should immediately know what brand it represents, what that brand stands for, what it does and who it does it for.
So what exactly makes a logo effective? Well, there are five traits that experts seem to look for:
An effective logo does not need too many elements to get the message across. Think Apple. It’s literally just an apple with a bite in it but it evokes a feeling of sophistication and class. The same goes for Michael Spitz’ “Cloud Bed” above. It doesn’t have a whole lot of design elements – in fact, it’s just two horizontal “I”s with a negative cloud in between – but you immediately get just how comfortable that bed is.
So, why is simplicity so important when it comes to logo design? Well, pretty much any branding-related activity is done to communicate something to an audience, and an overly complicated piece is rarely the best way to do that.
You know how Nike’s swoosh has been the same way for as long as you can remember? That’s timelessness right there. It doesn’t use any elements that can be attributed to a specific time period so it can, in theory, work forever.
Now, while George Bokhua’s work above is fairly new so it hasn’t been time-tested yet, its use of pretty basic shapes and elements could very well also make it relevant for years to come.
By why should you strive for timelessness? Simply put, your logo is usually the first thing that people use to identify your brand. Constantly changing it would make it harder for your customers to forge that association. Also, an overly contemporary logo could quickly make your brand feel dated.
A simple logo like Gert van Duinen’s “Hippo” can easily be rendered in various color schemes and sizes and then applied to all sorts of marketing collaterals. This is what versatility means – and you want it because it allows you to mark everything that comes out of your manufacturing facility and marketing and communications department with your logo, which ultimately helps strengthen your branding.
Take Dalius Stuoka’s work above, for example. It looks pretty simple at first glance, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the “U” is actually a person that has his hands up. Little things like this make a logo so much more interesting and work to add talk value to it, ultimately making it easier for people to remember it and associate it with your brand.
Of course, another way to make your logo more memorable is to simply make it always visible.
The thing that makes a logo appropriate is its ability to resonate with a specific audience (i.e., the target market). In the case of Mackey Saturday’s “Armory,” it took the classic army font – which captured its armory aspect – and made it more hip and modern so it connects better with a younger and more commercial audience.
How about you? What’s your favorite logo? Share it with us in the comments!