People often ask me, What is it that makes a logo good? My reply is, Whatever makes it effective. You see, people judge a logo based on how it looks, which is important, sure. But that tells only half the story. My purpose here is to cover the visual aspects, yet not the branding work behind each good logo. Next month, I will explain some of the pitfalls to avoid.
Memorable – People are inundated with messages…5,000 per day, says a recent New York Times article. If your company looks like all your competitors, the brain quickly lumps it in that big, boring pile with them and ignores it. Be memorable to gain entry into the compartment of the brain that is relevant and focused on. When your brand identity stands out from the pack, people pay attention, which puts you leaps and bounds ahead of other businesses.
Concept – Does your logo communicate the essence of your business – the who, the what and the why of the business? Does it capture who the company is? Does it communicate the spirit and culture of your company? Does it speak to your intended audience, that is, your customer and prospect base? This is the most important factor in methodically building a brand as opposed to just sporting a piece of cool artwork as a logo.
Character – Creating visual interest can go a long way to being memorable. Character makes you interesting. Used appropriately, a little whimsy can make you stand out. The same, trite radial band looping around your company name no longer gets the job done.
Recognizable – A strong identity requires far fewer total impressions before people embrace and remember it. Thus, much less exposure is needed for people to retain your business.
Versatile – A logo needs to be simple in order to be versatile. It will be used on every communication piece and will interact at every touch point. It must live comfortably on every medium—online, print, social media, sign on the door. Can it read powerfully in full color and in black and white?…reversed out for dark background applications?…scaled small and large?
Concise – The more complicated your logo, the harder it is for people to take in. So the key is to remove extraneous elements until the logo reaches its simplest form but still communicates the brand. This is not unlike good writing—remove the fluff and stay on point.
Balanced – Your eye takes it in comfortably. The space between letters is adjusted and equal. The negative and positive space is balanced. The weights of the name, symbols and icons are visually balanced.
For brevity’s sake I cannot cover everything here. Just remember, as you research, explore, and develop your own business identity, to ask yourself, Are these guiding principles working? If the answer is Yes, you’ll have a powerful and successful logo rather than a cool yet ineffective one.