What makes a good logo? A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic, simple in form and conveys an intended message.
There are five principles that you should follow to ensure that this is so… An effective logo is (in no particular order): Simple, Memorable, Timeless, Versatile, Appropriate
A simple logo design allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile & memorable. Good logos feature something unique without being overdrawn.
Following closely behind the principle of simplicity, is that of memorability. An effective logo design should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple, yet, appropriate logo.
An effective logo should be timeless – that is, it will endure the ages. Will the logo still be effective in 10, 20, 50 years? Probably the best example of a timeless logo is the Coca-Cola logo… if you compare it to the Pepsi logo below, you can see just how effective creating a timeless logo can be. Notice how the Coca Cola logo has barely changed since 1885? That is timeless design.
An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications. The logo should be functional. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. The logo should be able to work both in horizontal and vertical formats.
Ask yourself; is a logo still effective if:
Printed in one colour?
Printed on the something the size of a postage stamp?
Printed on something as large as a billboard?
Printed in reverse (ie. light logo on dark background)
One way around creating a versatile logo is to begin designing in black and white only. This allows one to focus on the concept and shape, rather than the subjective nature of colour. One must also remember printing costs – the more colors used, the more expensive it will be for the business over the long term.
One should also familiarise themself with the commercial printing process so as not to come into printing problems further down the track. Learn to know the difference between the CMYK, Pantone and RGB color systems. When designing logos, the Pantone colour system is recommended.
How you position the logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose. For example, if you are designing a logo for children’s toys store, it would be appropriate to use a childish font & colour scheme. This would not be so appropriate for a law firm.
It is also important to state that a logo doesn’t need to show what a business sells or offers as a service. ie. Car logos don’t need to show cars, computer logos don’t need to show computers. The Harley Davidson logo isn’t a motorcycle, nor is the Nokia logo a mobile phone. A logo is purely for identification.