A picture is worth a thousand words, but a logo can be worth a lot more.
When you think of the ‘tick mark,’ it is highly likely that you might think of the Nike logo. Designed in 1971 by a student Carolyn Davidson, The Swoosh was initially created for $35, and is today worth millions of dollars.
Like the best of logos, Nike’s Swoosh has some feature’s that makes it stand out from the crowd and makes it instantly recognisable. And you don’t even have to be a multi-billion dollar company to have a good logo – all you need are some good designers, some creative ideas, and the willingness to take risks.
Let us break down the science and psychology behind what it takes to have a good logo, and get inspired.
One – Simplicity is Key
Quick, draw me the Starbucks logo, will you? Hmm, you seem to be taking some time with it. Let’s move onto something else. How about the McDonalds logo? Done already?
Starbucks is also a very recognisable logo, but consumers are likely to have a far easier time remembering the McDonald’s logo because of its simplicity.
The iconic yellow colour, the cursive M, and the consistency in logo display have made the Golden Arches one of the most (and perhaps even ‘The Most’) recognised logo in the world.
Like the Nike Swoosh, the Golden Arches convey an entire brand, image, and the identity in just a few centimetres of space.
Sure, elegant and formal logos have their own pull in the luxury segment (think Versace’s iconic Medusa head), however Chanel’s clever letter play of intertwined Cs is just as well-known, and far easier for consumers to remember and pick out from a haze of logos.
Two – Think Scales and Versions
If your brand plans to go all out on advertising, you need to have different and overlapping variants of your logo. Think about the Walt Disney logo. If you see it up on billboards, it will likely have the whole frills – the castle, the comet, and the cursive writing.
But when advertising Disney+ shows, the company often goes only with the cursive logo, or even just the cursive D. All of these are equally recognisable as being the same logo.
This is what effective space management looks like with good graphic design – in large spaces you can put your logo out front and centre, but let it have a more subtle and smaller presence in smaller screens and formats.
Three – Consider Color Carefully
Adding in unique colours can be a very good way of making a logo stand out, but what if a person is unable to see this colour clearly? This is most likely possible in print adverts, or even in low-quality digital displays.
This is why a good logo is one that looks good and recognisable even in black and white or greyscale. Hence, it all boils down to good design.
The smart way to approach logo making is to first sketch out a good idea, and then infuse in colour for something extra. If you do not follow this pointer, it might be likely that the logo inevitably comes out weird or faded-looking on some mediums.
With a good sketch, you can always switch to the greyscale version on low quality platforms.
Four – Get Creative
It is very important that you do not take the first passable idea that comes to your mind and run off with it. Remember that a logo will be one of the most visible aspects of your brand. So take time to brainstorm, and do not hesitate to reject ideas you think are not good enough.
The LG logo is one of the most well known example of a creative logo design. The iconic red circle with white lines conveys a smiling face, the letters L and G, and a power button – the core features of the LG brand that help convey its Life’s Good slogan.
Such innovative design, especially those with hidden meanings that consumers can discover, make your logos more fun and engaging.
Five – Differentiation is Important
This not only means that your logo should be different from those of your competitors, but this also applies for your in-house products and services. Of course, all of your different logos should have a coherent feel to them and indicate that they belong to the same company.
At the same time however, too-similar a logo design just muddle things up, and leave the audience asking – why not just use one thing?
Google has been receiving a lot of flak lately for changing the icons of most of its apps, which have now turned from distinct icons to generic mashups of red, yellow, blue and green. Many have cited confusion in differentiating these apps.
What’s even funnier is that the Google’s older icons were so well known that they were easily associated with the company. The flak is so intense that many believe it’s only a matter of time before Google rolls back.
Six – If Words, Then Careful Words
Most logo design tend to eschew words, and for good reason. Removing the font of the logo would mean that the words just become a phrase, rather than a slogan attached to the brand. However, if words are likely to be a part of your logo, you need to make sure that they fit in well.
For example, a funeral parlour will do scant business if it advertises itself which is followed by an elaborate cursive font.
What words become a part of the logo are also important. Most go for the company’s name, but small mottos and slogans are preferred, such as Nike’s ‘Just Do It’, or McDonald’s ‘I’m loving it.’
As you can see, both are short, to the point slogans that are directly tied to what the brands offer – momentum and inspiration for Nike, and fun and desire for McDonalds. Aim for something similar in your logo design.
Even before a consumer tries your product or service, they will see your logo. So, it needs to be more than good looking – it needs to convey psychological cues of trust, reliance, and quality to your consumers. Effective logo design is what makes this possible.
What are your views on what makes a good logo? How do you like the logo of Bridging Points Media?