Everyone knows what a logo is, but few people understand what a logo does. Iconic American art director and graphic designer Paul Rand once said, “a logo is a flag, a signature, an escutcheon, a street sign. A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies.”
Rand’s words are as relevant as ever in the age of Snapchat, Instagram, and QR codes. Logos are more than just symbols; they represent an intersection between a company’s character, its visual identity, its values, and its overall goals.
Qualities of an Effective Company Logo
The world’s most memorable logos share a number of qualities which make them brilliantly simple statements that embody a company’s values and strengths.
4 Qualities of a Brilliant Logo:
Simple logos are memorable. The easier it is for your target audience to remember your logo, the better your brand awareness will be.
Each company will need a unique logo style that reflects the nature of their industry. For instance; tech businesses and restaurants can afford to be playful with their design, whereas professional service companies and law firms require more straight-laced approaches.
Apple does this better than most brands. No matter where you see it or what size it is, their iconic logo of a bitten apple is easily identifiable.
The best logos look great no matter where they’re found. Whether it’s in print, digital or featured in a television commercial, a great logo makes a strong impression.
It’s also worth considering that effective logos are targeted. They’re designed to appeal directly to the company’s customer base.
The most common types of logos are abstract symbols or a logotype, which is a stylized rendition of your company’s name. An example of an abstract symbol logo is Target’s eponymous brand mark, whereas Coca-Cola is a perfect example of a logotype logo.
Each approach has its own merits, but many companies use both types of logos for different purposes. Companies like Ferrari and Kraft Heinz maintain both an abstract logo and a logotype for use in marketing initiatives.
Designing a Logo That Works For Your Company
The best way to start designing a logo for your company is by closing your computer. That’s right. log out of your email, close Facebook, and shutdown your laptop. If you want to design a logo, you have to start the old-fashioned way; with pencil and paper.
Pencil-and-paper drafting allows you to experiment with your logo ideas without getting caught up in the minute details of your design. No color palettes to swap, no vectors to draw, no resolutions to worry about. Just the free and simple process of allowing your mind to creatively translate ideas onto the page.
Once you have the basic idea down you can log back on to your computer. As you fire up Photoshop, remember there are three best practice logo design rules you should follow:
1. Use a maximum of two fonts (if any)
2. Select a palette of strong, memorable colors
3. Clearly indicate your company’s name in a way that emphasizes its visual identity and branding
The best logos take time and resources to develop. Rome wasn’t built in a day after all. McDonald’s famous golden arches didn’t even appear as their logo until their third iteration in 1961. It’s also essential to keep in mind that logos are just one aspect of an overall brand identity for your company. You should always work to ensure that the final logo fits seamlessly alongside your organization’s name, slogan, mission and overall marketing presence.