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What makes a good logo

February 5, 2012 | Posted in: Articles & News, Branding

With so many bad logos out there, it is easy for anyone who is not a designer (or not a formally trained graphic designer) to get the wrong impression of what a good logo should be!

There are some essential and ideal ingredients that go into making a good logo and I believe anyone who is instructing a graphic designer to create a logo should be aware of these so they don’t rock the principles of good design by asking their design to breach any of them! After all, most graphic designers want to proudly stand behind their work and not feel that they have been led down a path of creative destruction by their client!! I guess part of the reason there are so many poor logos around can be explained by “the client pays, the client says!”…but anyway, below are the main things I keep in mind from my formal graphic design training;

  • Must be simple (some of the best logos are the simplest – Nike tick springs to mind!)
  • Ideally logo should work in black and white first and then in colour (useful for newspapers or other mono media)
  • Ideally it needs to conceptually work in with what your brand stands for
  • Needs to be bold
  • Must work as a unit (i.e. a connection between any icon/symbol and the name/text)
  • Work in all sizes (from pens to aeroplanes!)
  • Appropriate for the business (e.g. if it is a construction company, then a strong font is needed, possibly in capitals to send the right message about what they do!)
  • Send a positive message (i.e. graphically should move in a left to right way as we read in the West)
  • Communicate instantly (shouldn’t have to think too hard to “get it”)
  • Be distinctive and unique (certainly within that industry/amongst competitors)
  • Be flexible (used on TV, billboards etc) – to this end it should be vector based – a logo produced in photoshop will be very pixelated if blown up to large scale, so special effects should be avoided too!
  • Ageless (colours, fonts, styles should not be too trendy unless the logo is for limited time/one off event)
  • Workable shape (not too wide or tall so that it can fit easily on letterheads or where there is not much space)
  • Never mess with your logo (e.g. don’t let a printer “tweak” it for you)
  • Never use a font that a secretary would use (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman!)

For some helpful and interesting websites on logo design, see the links for “logo design”  under the Where I jump to column on this website.

To read about who to choose to design your logo, click here. For tips on getting the most out of your designer when developing a logo, click here, And finally, to read about the difference between a brand and a logo, click here.

If you have any questions about logos or other graphic design matters, get in touch with Andrea at Flex Marketing & Design on 09 416 2209 or 021 952 324.

Flex Marketing