We love logos. Designing logos can be a great deal of fun.
It can also be hard work. That’s because a successful logo has to do so many things and perform a large number of roles. Yet, at the end of the day, isn’t it just a logo?! Well, yes and no.
As with many things, the bad ones often stick in the memory more than good ones.
Think about customer service. How often do you tell someone about a great experience you had in restaurant, shop, or the like? Not often. But how often do you recall, without being prompted, ‘Uh, you wouldn’t believe the attitude of the guy who served me in Tesco today…’?
Well logos are just the same. The successful logos simply do their job. Without fuss. They simply fit and feel appropriate. Why? It’s often hard to put your finger on it. But there’s often a theme of why a logo is successful.
Here are just five things that successful logos have in common.
- They’re professionally designed by a graphic designer. Sounds obvious, but we can’t recall seeing a successful logo that has clearly been put together by someone ‘playing’ designer.
- They work across all media. The best logos work equally as successfully on a website (often one of the smallest instances of a logo) as they do in signage or an exhibition stand (often the largest). That’s no fluke. A logo may well have a couple of different variants (such as stacked versus landscape orientation) so it can be adapted to purpose, but for all intents and purposes, the logo is the same.
- They fit within their marketplace. For a logo to be successful it must feel and look appropriate within its market / industry. There’s never anything wrong with doing something different (see #4), but there are limits. If a logo really does go against the grain then there’s a chance it won’t capture the hearts and minds of the audience.
- They stand out. ‘Me too’ or ‘more of the same’ doesn’t often cut it when it comes to logo design. A logo is often the most visually recognisable element of an organisation’s external brand. So if a logo blends in with the competition you have to ask what that says about the company.
- They reflect something(s) unique or key to the organisation. A brand’s values and essence should come through in its marketing collateral. That means the audience can ‘get’ what the brand is about. A logo is one small part of that, but it must bring into it some of that feel and DNA. Not only so it sits comfortably within marketing collateral, but also, so it creates a strong emotional link with the company and brand itself.
Perhaps you are reviewing your own brand logo? Or looking to initiate the design of a new logo? Have these five truths about successful logos in your mind when reviewing your brief and the subsequent concepts your logo designer provides.