This article from Entheos gives logo design tips on making your logo memorable, simple, using color wisely, making your logo bold and clear and making your logo effective in black and white/single color.
A logo is a vital part of a brand’s identity, especially for a new brand. It is the face of a company, product or service to the world. A logo, derived from the Greek word “logos” meaning “word”, could be a word or a combination of a word and an image.
Logos in communication
Your logo is the key element that is used in association with brand messages, taglines, advertising and promotion, packaging, transport, shopping bags and point-of-sale materials, to identity your product, service, company, or community.
|See how the Time Warner logo with its distinctive eye and ear graphic symbolizing “communications” and “customer focus” is effectively used in various media – including the “@” symbol on the email address on a business card, and even forming a smart lapel pin! Times Warner Cable is the second largest cable provider in the U.S. and its logo is immediately identifiable.|
While designing a logo, keep the following in mind:
1. Make it memorable
An identifiable and memorable logo can convey unique brand values such as strength and confidence, youthfulness, trust, action, health, trendiness or other positive attributes. Think what your customer will recall after he sees your logo, perhaps on a billboard while he’s whizzing by in a car, or in a tiny ad in a newspaper. Would he be able to remember the colors, the shape? Would he be able to roughly draw it? Simple shapes like McDonald’s yellow arches, Shell’s well-known logo or Nike’s swoosh (which recalls the wing of Nike, the goddess of victory) or the bell of Taco Bell have become synonymous with their brands.
Unique characters in a logo such as KFC’s founder Colonel Sanders and Quaker Oats’ Quaker man also add valuable brand recall and make a brand stand apart.
Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken,
Colonel Sanders personifies the KFC logo and brand
|The Quaker man on the Quaker Oats logo has evolved over time, but is widely recognized as the face of the cereal brand and of the company.
The Quaker man was chosen to project the values of honesty, integrity, purity and strength.
2. Use color wisely
When you study the logos of successful brands, you will find that many of them use a single color - like blue (much used by corporate to represent for trust and dependability) or red (for energy and boldness), or both. Most use all caps or highly readable typefaces.
See below the logos of the world’s most highly regarded and recognized brands for examples of strong, simple single color and two color logo designs.
Shown below are the Caterpillar logo for the Company, and the CAT logo for Caterpillar's well-known brand of earthmoving products. The bold black and yellow CAT logo conveys the idea of power, energy and vigor and stands out prominently from a distance on hundreds of construction sites all over the world, on the company’s most public-facing earthmoving products.
The classic and well-loved logo of Coca Cola; the striped blue logo of “Big Blue” IBM - conveying trust, value, quality and advanced technology, and the contemporary Pepsi logo with its all-American red white and blue logo, are world-renowned.
|The founder of Kellogg’s, Will Keith Kellogg made a sketch of his signature and a stylized version became the Kellogg’s logo in 1906. It remained unchanged for over a hundred years.|
Some notable exceptions to the single or dual-color principle are these colorful logos for successful brands like NBC, Google, Ebay and Joomla.
|This is the present NBC peacock logo, simplified from the original eleven feathered one. Read the interesting history of NBC logo redesigns.|
|The Google logo with its simple, stylish fonts is one of the world’s most highly recognized logos. Google has remained true to its original logo, just simplified it still further by removing the drop shadow and making it lighter and brighter to accommodate various icon changes and changes on its website.|
|Whoever thought that an online auction store would revolutionize the world marketplace? Ebay with its striking and distinctive logo speaks of innovation and appeals to all kinds of buyers and at different age-levels with a huge range of online offerings.|
| The Joomla logo is symbolic of a networked open source CMS community that puts power in the hands of the users. With colorful ‘J’s and people interlocking, Joomla provides a universally likeable logo.
3. Keep it simple
Avoid clutter. Let one concept stand out and imprint itself in your customer’s mind.
Apple’s 1976 logo featured a rainbow-colored apple with a bite taken out of it. The play is on the word “bite” to resemble computer “bytes”. The logo was later modified to silvery chrome, more suited to the company’s latest range of stylish computers.
Did you know that the world-famous Apple logo originally evolved from a rather complicated logo/crest showing an apple falling on Sir Isaac Newton’s head while he’s deep in thought? Read the story of Apple logo redesigns here.
4. Make your logo bold and clear
Today there are a huge number of brands crying out for a customer’s attention. Let your logo stand out from the rest with clear, bold typefaces and symbols. Learn from the leaders!
Big brands lay out clear design guidelines for specific ways to use their logos. Protect your brand’s identity by doing the same.
Some design guidelines from the Microsoft site are shown here: “The Microsoft logo should appear in white letters on dark backgrounds, and it should appear in black letters on light backgrounds.”
5. Make your logo effective in black and white/single color
Often a logo must be used in black and white or monochrome, for purposes such as packaging, watermarking, imprinting, labels and so on. Your logo should stand out even when it is used in a single color. So when you design a logo, it makes good sense to design in black and white first and add color later.
|The Volkswagen logo with a 3-D look is a simple V and W neatly placed within two circles and readily lends itself to an impressive metallic feature to adorn the front of a car. The logo is equally effective in black and white.|
A logo is an investment in a brand. Before you design a logo, think about it, research the competition well and study long-lived logos to discover factors that worked. Your effort should be to design a logo that could become a brand or company’s most valuable asset!
For inspiration, take a look at the best global brands here.