To succeed in this highly competitive environment, you need a well-designed logo. Here at Rebus, I explore the four basics you need to get right in order to have a successful logo design.
What a logo actually is
A logo is not your brand. Before we get stuck into the basics of logo design, it’s important to understand that although a logo is an important part of your brand identity, it is not the same thing, rather a tool to identify your company.
A logo is a visual representation of your company’s character and personality. It’s a way for your customers to identify and connect to your company. A well-made, suitable logo can successfully represent the functions of your company, whilst differentiating you against your competitors.
The 4 basics
Whilst it’s very easy to get consumed by the details when deciding on a logo design, it’s important to take a step back initially to ensure you get the basics right to make sure the logo design achieves all its purposes.
If you’ve already started looking at inspiration, you’ll find many of the best logos have certain features in common. All accomplished logos get the basics right, namely versatility, simplicity, timelessness and appropriateness. The logos that come to mind are individual, and very recognisable, think Starbucks’ Green woman, Nike’s ‘tick’, Google’s 4 coloured font or Audi’s rings. All of these companies have created a logo which you can picture right now, and therefore have an effective logo design.
So, let’s explore these logo design basics and help you at the start of your logo design journey.
To ensure your logo is impactful, it’s important to have a logo design that’s not too cluttered. In most cases, a great way to know if your logo design is too complicated is whether someone can recall and describe the design. This indicates the design is easily recognisable and gives a clear idea of what your company is about.
Keeping the logo design simple means sticking to a limited number of colours and sticking to just a couple fonts. To illustrate this, Jazzfit’s logo just uses a energetic colours, but just sticks mostly to two colours.
Keeping the design simple leads into this next basic; logo versatility.
Your logo needs to look effective on a variety of formats. It’s likely to appear in print on a menu, brochure, or on products such as T-shirts, but also must work in digital forms like your website or as an app icon. This means the logo needs to be high enough quality to be scaled up and should be suitable for any medium. Take a look at an example of good logo versatility here with Harrogate Fitness Formula, whose logo appears equally well on business cards, tops and digitally.
There are many reasons why you should aim for a logo design that stands the test of time. A logo can easily become dated if you fall into any trend traps of the time. A logo that becomes dated quickly will then need a redesign and may confuse your customers as they will no longer be able to recognise you as easily.
This is not to say your logo won’t adapt over time, as your brand becomes more popular, or your focus shifts, but the initial design should be carried forward. For example, McDonald’s have had the golden arches for years, but with increased popularity and instant recognisability, they updated the logo to no longer include their name, making the arches the timeless logo we admire.
A logo can be a great way of representing both your businesses products and services, but also the company values. The appropriateness of a logo design helps branding and a clear purpose, like the camera on Instagram’s logo or the cursive fun font of Beers & Banter.
Your logo should relate to the nature of your business and attract your specific audience.
What not to do
Now we’ve looked at the basics for a successful logo design, it’s worth exploring some of the easy mistakes which can ruin the impact of a logo, even if you’ve followed these basics.
Do not replicate others’ designs. A logo is an opportunity to distinguish your brand against your competitors, and a logo that is too similar means you’ll no longer be memorable or effective and may lead to legal problems.
Do not be too predictable. Using a design that is too literal for your product may just make the design obvious and seem boring and not thought out. Although this would be appropriate, it can appear very mundane, and you will struggle to make an impact.
Do not rush. The process of exploring and developing designs often takes patience, and although it can be easy to settle on a premade logo generated on the internet, a truly valuable logo requires patience and an expert hand.
Bringing the basics together
Now you’ve explored the logo design basics, it’s worth considering using a specialist logo design agency that can ensure your logo has the best impact possible.
Choose a designer who listens to your company’s needs and objectives, and develops a design that matches your company’s overall brand and vision.