Our blog post on the topic of bad logo design garnered quite the bit of attention, so we thought we should explore the aspects and characteristics of Great Logo Design!
Using examples courtesy of professional logo designer and Untapped Source artist Rob Snow, we’ll go in-depth and explain why a logo is more than a simple design and that a lot of thought and creative energy go into producing a high quality logo. Here are 5 keys to a great logo design:
Some of the most popular and recognizable logos we know are also some of the simplest. Examples include the Nike “Swoosh”, McDonald’s Golden Arches “M” and Canadian National Railway’s “CN” lettering. A great logo doesn’t have to be complex, in fact a simple logo is often much more memorable and recognizable. Simple logos are effective in giving a quick impression of your brand and are easy to remember. The logo below is a great example of a more complex collection of ideas and concepts that were refined into a more simplistic finished design. See designer Rob Snow’s comments below each logo to learn more about the process.
Designers Comments – “This logo went through several variations before coming to its final conclusion. All were based on more complex variations of using the mountain as a motif. However, again, trying to restrict the design to a more simplistic variation I thought about what they were trying to do in their work. It was about music. So, it seemed natural to combine the two. The result was a very stylish and simple logo that shows a sound wave and a mountain range in one.”
#2 Original & Unique
There’s something to be said for having a unique and distinguishable logo. Heck, even some of the largest companies in the world are guilty of having similar logos to others, take this article as an example. You can see how it highlights the importance of creating something original, authentic and why thinking out of the box can not only be a great asset – but is vitally important in making your brand stand out. The example below shows how a hand-written, or any customized lettering for that matter, can help distinguish your brand from those using stock fonts, images or icons and incorporating them into a so-called “logo”
Designers Comments – “Design for an accessories store. The process was vast on this logo design. Basically starting with a carte blanc and then being given direction toward hand written style. The logo went through many changes. This was the final outcome.”
#3 Versatile & Adaptable
It’s important when planning a logo design, to allow for variations or to give some thought into how versatile your design will be and how it will adapt to various scenarios. How does your design scale? Will your design look good in black and white, inverted? Can it be modified to fit specific formats and mediums? These are all questions you need to ask yourself in the design process. The example below explores variations in the ORSO CAPITAL logo design concept by Rob Snow. You can view the entire design process and get further insight into exactly what goes into a professional logo in this case study of the logo design process.
Designers Comments – “The concept was born out of their desire to have some influence from northern European culture, and especially Scandinavia. After much research the project revealed a connection in many countries with the bear; which ORSO also means. After some pencil play with sketches, etc. the concept was drawn to this conclusion. Having the bear grasping the globe in a market sense of global impact. The final solution is at the base, and was inspired by the old symbol for Wealth.”
#4 Appropriate & Reflective
Logo design should be appropriate for your target audience and reflect your brand’s image and values. A fun and friendly font with lively colors isn’t necessarily going to make sense for a corporate accounting firm, whereas a classic and monotone design isn’t going to compliment a children’s brand very well. A logo should reflect who it represents and be an extension of their character, culture and values. The example below illustrates this point. (see authors comments below)
Designers Comments – “This logo design was a spark of inspiration based on the author’s personal love for nature, and in particular trees and birds (red hawks in particular). Whilst sitting on my balcony the flash came to me of how to combine the two elements. With some work it came to reality in one of the best icons I have designed.”
#5 Classic & Timeless
Trends in style are great, but trends come and go. The last thing that you want going out of style is your logo or brand identity. A classic logo should give the impression of trust and confidence. This is reflected in a design that is not only memorable, but timeless and can be accomplished using elements such as simplicity, clean lines and symmetry. The example below draws on Victorian era fashion to represent the style of the brand. Classic looking fonts and a simple and clean image are incorporated to present a logo design that will age with grace. View the full case study of thePiccadilly logo design project here.
Designers Comments – “In June 2013 Kazakhstan based menswear company, Piccadilly, requested a redesign of their logo. Their brief was to follow closely their initial use of the London street sign, and also incorporate values of style, gentry fashion and the aspects of Piccadilly that may be appropriate to achieve the end goal. The process needed to evoke tradion and modern feels in one,to make the branding a little more durable in years to come.”