As soon as you see the iconic swoosh mark, you know you’re looking at a pair of Nike shoes.
When those two golden arches emerge in the distance, you can almost taste McDonald’s trademark fries.
When you see that shiny apple with a perfect bite taken out of one side, a brand association with Apple is engaged and your mind makes an immediate assessment.
Logos are iconic. And they have the ability to conjure up emotions, positive or negative.
A good logo can make a brand relatable or hip.
A bad logo can leave people confused.
A forgettable logo can make a brand invisible to the marketplace.
As a startup or growing small business, designing a compelling logo is one of the most important steps in formalizing your brand and pursuing growth.
The question is, what makes a good logo design?
The purpose of a logo is to help people visually identify your brand and any assets that go along with it. But it goes much deeper than this.
A good logo is important for a number of other reasons, including:
These are just a few of the reasons. If you were to sit down and discuss the importance of logo design with any Fortune 100 company, their marketing and branding team would be able to explain the nuances of why their logo is so crucial to their respective brand.
And while you might not have a nine-figure business, your logo matters, too. Make sure you’re taking it seriously.
There’s no such thing as a perfect logo. There is, however, a clear line of demarcation between bad logo design and good logo design.
Here are a few tips to help you design a good logo for your brand:
There’s no reason to overcomplicate things by throwing together a dozen different elements and intricate details. Simplicity sells.
Think about it. What do logos like Nike, Apple, McDonald’s, Twitter, IBM, PayPal, Netflix, and Target all have in common?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any highly successful business with a complicated logo. They exist…but they’re few and far between. And that’s not a coincidence.
Keep things simple and your customers will find it easier to recognize your brand.
A good graphic designer will want to show off his skills and use as many different design techniques as he can. A great graphic designer understands that more is less and will simplify by cutting out the fat and focusing on the meat. Don’t get wowed by a designer with a complicated design portfolio. Look for the ones who know how to deliver a clear message with minimal visual interference.
It’s important to think about color psychology and the messages and emotions you’re communicating when selecting certain colors. Here are some common associations with basic colors:
The list could go on. But as you can see, every color has the ability to stimulate different emotions. And depending on how you use colors and which combinations you create, you can dictate how people feel about your brand.
A logo should never have more than three colors. And, if you want the truth, using just one or two colors is ideal.
If you decide to use two or three colors, there are some basic guidelines that you should follow. For example:
These are pretty fundamental design rules. So if you work with a professional designer, you can expect them to adhere to these principles. But if you’re designing your own logo or working with a relatively inexperienced freelance designer, it’s worth keeping these rules in the back of your mind.
It’s more important now than ever before to prioritize visibility and visual clarity in logo design. It used to be that a logo was only used in certain places and mediums. Today, it has to be versatile. Your logo might be displayed on a small mobile application thumbnail all the way up to a massive billboard. And it’s wise to consider how your logo will appear on both ends of this spectrum.
This is just another reason to love simplicity. A simple logo is always going to be more visually digestible than a complicated logo. The more complex your design, the more it gets distorted or misinterpreted from afar.
There are always trends in graphic design and branding. And though there’s nothing foolish about leveraging design trends to reach your audience, you have to be careful not to develop a logo that will soon become outdated.
Design trends are great for marketing. They’re less helpful in branding. Avoid cliches and instead leverage sound principles in creative and unique ways.
Here are a few cliches to avoid:
A design trend might give you a hot logo for a few months or years, but you’ll eventually have a dated relic that causes you to cringe.
Logo design is a highly opinionated endeavor. It’s a good idea to gather input, but you have to be careful not to invite too many cooks into the kitchen. If you have a dozen people involved in the process, there will always be someone who dislikes a particular element and/or wants to go in another direction.
The best approach is to keep a small team and to then slowly unveil the logo after its almost complete. This gives you a chance to gather some last-minute feedback without opening the floor up for a total redraw.
Once you have a logo, or a couple of options, gather some customer feedback. (This is far more valuable than the feedback you’ll get from people on your team. Customers are brutally honest and see things through a completely different lens.)
If you have the funds to run a focus group, then you can certainly pull out all of the stops and conduct an official test. Otherwise you can use social media as a pretty effective tool for gathering insights and design-related feedback.
When it comes to designing a logo for your brand, you have a long list of options. But it’s easiest to sort them into four overarching groups:
Every brand chooses their own approach to logo design. It’ll be up to you and your team to decide which method enables you to get the best possible design for your larger brand objectives.
Many people balk at the idea of investing in good design. They feel like it’s too expensive or a waste of resources. But do you know what’s really expensive? Bad design.
A bad logo isn’t just visually off-putting, it’s also quite costly. Consider the following:
Logo design isn’t some shallow, superficial, surface-level element of your business. It’s an integral component that influences every aspect of your organization. Take it seriously, or else prepare for the possibility of negative repercussions from the marketplace.
At DEV.co, we understand the importance of good logo design as it pertains to every element of your brand.
As the provider of premier custom development services – including websites, mobile apps, and customer-facing platforms – we’re committed to helping our clients maximize the value of their online branding at every touchpoint.
For more information on how we can help you cultivate an online experience that’s visually and functionally conducive to your larger brand goals, simply contact us today!
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.