We’re back to talking great logos today and I’m ready to share 3 more characteristics of a great logo. If you’re looking for the first three characteristics you can read about them here.
So lets get to it.
It’s easy to get sidetracked with making a logo unique because of the huge demand for being on trend, finding the blue ocean, and coming up with something no one’s ever seen before. However, it’s not worth sacrificing good design just to ensure you’re “unique”. Great logos are those that stand the test of time – they’re iconic. And if you take a look at some of these iconic logos – Coke, Target, UPS – you’ll see that even with small updates they’ve received over the years, the design is still essentially the same. They’ve stuck to traditional design principles that never go out of style.
In this day and age, anyone can be a designer. But great designers know what rules to stick to, which to bend, and which to break. Making your logo traditional means you’ve made it timeless – not out of date.
Design Tip: Implement trends by choosing a fresh new font, using color combos that are popular, or varying from the norm, say picking a vertical layout over a horizontal one. Stick to the “good design rules” when it comes to pairing fonts, including design elements, dealing with kearning, etc.
Making a logo distinct is different than making it unique. A unique logo is important because it helps it stick out from the crowd, a distinct logo has something that makes it truly memorable. Working to make your logo both is what makes it great. FedEx’s logo has an arrow created by negative space, Target’s bullseye is simplistic, and shows up in more than one place – tattooed over that adorable dog’s eye but it also subtly implies that Target hits the mark when it comes to what you’re looking for. McDonald’s has golden arches to represent the M in it’s name, but did you ever think why they’re golden? Could it be that it coordinates with their fries – which are touted as the best?
Design Tip: Consider what you’re client is known for while you’re working on design? Is there something that relates to their consumers? Tie it into the design. Think about negative space and how the logo can be incorporated so that it’s memorable. Thinking ahead into the marketing and branding will help you determine if the logo really “works” or not.
Usually, scalability is an oversight among newer designers. However, from a marketing perspective, it’s one of the most important factors for a great logo. How awesome is a logo really, if you can’t put it everywhere? Great designers keep scalability in mind as they design so the finished product looks as great on a billboard as it does on a business card. This versatility is what keeps branding consistent and it’s what helps logo designs stay on point over time – because they easily scale to fit the needs of a changing company and brand.
Design Tip: A good rule of thumb is to test your logo at different sizes. Try scaling it down to 1″. Does it keep it’s detail or become a muddled mess? Now enlarge it to a few feet in size on your screen. Does it still have it’s detail or does it become flat and blown out? If the design keeps it’s detail – you’ve got a scalable logo.
Not all great logos stick to these guidelines. Designers have fun seeing if they can bend the rules or even make their design the exception. But if you focus on the concepts of tradition, distinctness, and scalability, you’ll be off to a good start in creating a logo that will be timeless, memorable, and versatile.