5 Principles of a Great Logo Design

Web Design & Development
Let's see if I can be completely unbiased and give you my professional opinion. So.... instead of judging your current logo designs, I'm going to give you a few points on what ...
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Travis McAshan
Published Sep 2009
Table of contents

1. It should be simple. (timeless or classic)

I’m not talking about your company name in arial font from Microsoft word. But it should not be ornate or look like it should be a team mascot for an indoor football team. Look at some of the largest companies in the world. They literally have billions of dollars and millions to spend JUST on their brand. They have studied people, had focus groups, and tested endless variations. What did they come up with…

  • Shell Logo
  • Exxon Logo
  • FedEx Logo
  • Apple Logo
  • Dell Logo
  • Nike Logo
  • AT&T Logo
  • Playboy Logo
  • IBM Logo
  • McDonalds Logo

And so on…  by the way, I know these are some of the largest companies in the world, however, a great brand is clean and effective.

2. It should mean something.

Generally, there are design elements in the text or a design symbol that sits next to the text. The design elements should connect your potential customer to what you do. This one is pretty obvious but it really does help. If you have a mortgage company it might seam cliche to have a house but if you can be clever and figure out a way to incorporate a house in it that would be great. Check the FedEx logo with the negative space arrow facing right between the “E” and the “x”.

3. It should work at any size. (needs to be scalable)

This is a huge problem with designers that are not experienced with designing a company brand. Generally, most companies will never see their logo anywhere besides their website, stationary, and a few collateral pieces. This means it’s never larger than a few inches. Most amateur designers will show a client the logo at 5-7 inches. This is because they know what it will look like small and want to show all the fancy details and shades and shines they applied in Photoshop. If you can’t read the logo at 2 inches it’s going to be a pain to deal with.

4. It should work in black and white. (color is secondary to form)

This is also a problem that we face quite a bit. I still have problems with my own designers. I believe that a classic logo loses NO meaning when you remove the color. Take any of the above companies I listed above and remove all color until you have only black and white. You will still recognize all of them, and every logo still has a strong design and brand to it. Color SHOULD NOT be the thing that conveys the message of your logo. It should enhance and reiterate your brand.

A few other points to consider…

5. Appropriate aspect ratio.

The aspect ratio is a logo’s relationship between its height and its width. Bottom line, you don’t want a logo that’s too tall or too wide. Squarish is always best, as this allows the maximum adaptability of a logo.

Remember: Your logo should be unique.

This one is obvious, but don’t be a mortgage company that just uses an outline of a house with a chimney. Be creative. Wrist watches all have a band, a face, a minute hand, hour hand, and numbers. Yet people have, to this day, NEVER run out of watch designs. And if you started looking  you’d realize that there are an astounding amount of variations. Glide Design in Web Design Austin agency specialized in creative and storytelling design, contact us today for your next project.

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