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There is no set definition of a “good” logo in the field of design. And the reason for that is because design is such a subjective thing; what appeals to one person may not even make the next person give it a second glance. There are some logos, nevertheless, that most designers would concur are universally appealing—much like puppies and pizza! They’re effective, slick, and professional, and they just do the trick.

So what features do these indubitably “good” logos share? They frequently use tried-and-true design ideas to establish a solid framework before adding their own special touches. Here, we explore the guidelines for creating effective logos and provide design pointers and examples to get you started.

What Makes a Good Logo?

Since it serves as the majority of potential consumers’ initial point of contact, a logo is an essential component of every company’s branding. Because of this, it’s crucial to ensure that your logo accurately represents your business and has the power to appeal to customers.

There are several factors that affect logo design, and they may change based on your requirements and the sector you work in. However, despite the differences that make each logo distinctive, the finest ones all share 5 key traits.

These 5 characteristics guarantee that people will connect with your business when they see your logo and make it easily recognizable.

1. Simple

Many of the most impactful and successful logos in history are surprisingly simple. From Nike’s single swoosh to Apple’s eponymous design, simple logos are easy to recognize and remember. Simplicity is a key ingredient for logos because most consumers only focus on a logo for a short time. A simple design can express your brand’s personality concisely and effectively.

Simple logos focus on highlighting the most important parts of a brand’s personality with limited real estate. This includes focusing more on aspects like colors and fonts as well as on distilling ideas into their simplest form. For instance, a symbol is a powerful way of creating simplicity, as it can instill a mental association with a particular set of values or ideas.

Other great designs for a simple logo include letter and word marks, which dispense with images and focus instead on communicating brand personality directly with fonts and colors. Overall, the most important aspect is to focus on using as few elements as possible to communicate your brand’s identity. 

2. Relevant

The first quality great logos share is that they’re relevant to the markets their companies target. More importantly, they clearly communicate a brand’s personality and identity. A primary component is the use of colors in your logo, which can trigger different emotions and show your brand’s personality to consumers. A company that sells toys for children may choose bright colors that communicate energy, fun, and excitement.

The second important component is the font used in the logo or word mark. Fonts help communicate your brand’s tone and its values, which ultimately help define your personality better. More angular and thin fonts are ideal for highlighting a company that works in technology while softer cursives are excellent for companies that work in jewelry or women’s products.

Finally, choosing the right symbol is a key aspect of establishing a visual anchor for your logo. Symbols are important aspects of a logo because they can be used by themselves as a simpler version of your logo. Symbols are also important when building connections between your brand and the ideas and values behind it.

3. Memorable

Another key aspect of a good logo is that it is memorable, even from the first time you see it. The goal of a logo is to create a connection with a consumer and generate interest in your brand. When consumers can easily recall your logo and brand, they are more likely to connect them with your company. Logos that are easy to remember and produce a strong impact are valuable because they help your brand stick in consumers’ minds.

Memorable logos combine many of the elements discussed above, but they find the right balance between the visual and textual aspects. More importantly, they clearly and cohesively communicate your brand’s personality and tone.

Finally, a memorable logo should always strive to be unique. Even in industries where there are standards and common norms for designs, your logo should always aim to stand out from the pack as much as possible.

4. Timeless

The best logos stand out from the pack because they remain relevant and effective over the years. It’s always tempting when you design a logo that incorporates current design trends and fads, but it’s not always the best decision.

These logos may look good now, but they will probably need to be redesigned later to keep them current. Instead, a timeless logo is one that will remain relevant and connect with users no matter when it is being used. For instance, McDonald’s golden arches have remained unchanged for decades, as has Coca-Cola’s iconic word mark.

Timeless logos focus on quality over quantity, removing many of the unnecessary elements and crazy ideas and focusing on what works. This means focusing exclusively on your brand’s core ideas and values to uncover the most effective way to transmit them without unnecessary clutter. Another important aspect of timeless logos is that they keep colors simple and basic, ignoring gradients and massive palettes in favor of more selective and unique colors.

Finally, a memorable logo should always strive to be unique. Even in industries where there are standards and common norms for designs, your logo should always aim to stand out from the pack as much as possible.

5. Versatile

Last, but certainly not least, a good logo can be used in a variety of ways, shapes, and situations. For example, a logo you can only use in one size online is not very good, as it limits the ways you can expose your brand to the world. On the other hand, choosing a logo that can be resized, printed, or placed on different media makes your brand significantly more visible.

Even the best-looking logos are not necessarily good if they become illegible or unrecognizable when you shrink them for packaging or become distorted when you put them on a billboard. One of the easiest ways to make your logo more versatile is to think about what format you create and save it in. Traditional photo images may pixelate when you resize them, but vector files are built to be scaled.

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On a design level, keeping the clutter to a minimum and opting for a simple design will instantly make your logo more versatile. Having too many lines, flourishes, elements, or colors can create a complicated design that will scale poorly. Instead, keep in mind that you have limited real estate, and focus on saying more with less.

Design Principles to Follow When Creating a Logo

Additionally, logos serve as the visual representation of your brand’s personality, values, and key messages. They act as the mascot of your business. This initial perception has the power to shape how the viewer views your brand moving forward. Additionally, logos act as the focal point for the rest of your visual branding, including your website and business cards.

The process of designing a logo can be greatly facilitated by using design principles. These components serve as the foundation for all different types of logos. The following are the five design tenets:

1. Choose an analogous or complementary color scheme

Your color palette can often be the deciding factor between your logo falling flat or leaping off the page. But, how do you know which colors work well together in logo design? A great rule of thumb is opt for either an analogous complementary color scheme.

An analogous color palette is when you use two colors that sit next to each other—or, at least very close—on the color wheel. For example, this could be yellow or green; pink and purple or green and blue. When these colors are paired together, it creates a harmonious feel that is pleasing to the eye. This color pairing is ideal for brands that want their logo to feel relaxing and grounding.

You can see an analogous color scheme out in the wild, in this logo for Green Fair Landscaping. It pairs yellow with green—a common color combination for landscaping brands due to its natural-looking aesthetic.

2. Opt for readable typography

You can have the most aesthetically pleasing logo in the world. But, if the viewer can’t read your text, it’s unlikely to leave a lasting impression! Using readable and web-friendly fonts is crucial for making your logo seem professional and polished. Plus, it ensures you can effectively get your message across. After all, if the viewer has to work too hard to decipher your logo, they’re going to quickly lose interest!

3. Use white space in your logo

Often, good logos are as much about what you don’t include as what you do. Otherwise known as negative or blank space, using plenty of white space in your logo is essential for achieving balance. These is simply the parts of your design that don’t have any visual elements in them. It gives your logo room to breathe and stops it from feeling too chaotic or overcrowded.

4. Make sure your elements are aligned

Your logo spacing and alignment can be what takes your logo from ‘amateur hour’ to ‘ah wow, did you design that?’ This involves making sure all the letter and word spacing, visual elements and margins are even and centred. Doing this brings your logo together in a way that feels balanced and harmonious.

5. Go for less over more

Great designers don’t look for what they can add to their logo—they look for what they can take away! While there’s certainly a time and place for loud, maximalist logos, it’s hard to go wrong with clean and simple design. The less visual elements you have in your logo design, the less that are competing for the viewer’s attention. This means you can make the visual elements you do have in your logo count.

6. Create a visual path that makes sense

Great designers know how to take their viewers on a visual journey through their logo. They do this not through luck, but by logic! When people look at your logo, they generally won’t scan it from the top-down. Rather, they’ll look at the most prominent thing first. So, think about what piece of information you want them to look at first, then structure your logo accordingly.

You can do this by simply making it the largest or boldest element on the page. From there, viewers will normally look for visual cues that direct them to the next most important piece of information—whether that’s through arrows, framing or visual contrast.

7. Use symmetry to create visual harmony

Whether your logo is bright and bold or monochrome and minimalistic, symmetry is key for creating impactful designs. This is when your visual elements are evenly balanced on each side. As humans, we love symmetry—it’s a huge factor in what we find aesthetically pleasing. When your designs are symmetrically balanced, they instantly feel more harmonious and professional.

There are various ways you can use symmetry to elevate your designs. It could be simply ensuring you have the same amount of space around your text on all sides. Or, you could include a symmetrical icon, as designer Siddhhant Sanu has in the logo

7. Use shapes and lines to create contrast

Color isn’t the only way you can create contrast in your logo design. You can also layer shapes and lines to create vectors and patterns or make a 3D logo. Not only can these give your logo extra visual interest, but they can also be used to direct the viewer’s gaze to certain elements in your logo.

This logo for Yellowstone National Park uses shapes, lines, and icons to paint a picture—literally! The stacked triangles on top of each other not only create a striking pattern but also serve as arrows from the ‘Yellowstone’ text to the mountain icon. This helps the viewers associate Yellowstone with nature and a sense of adventure.

You may design a logo that goes above and beyond simply being “good” by applying the guidelines, illustrations, and design advice in this article. You’ll produce a memorable one that accurately represents your brand identity and connects with your target market.

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