Key Custom Design
Without aesthetic, design is either the humdrum repetition
of familiar cliches or a wild scramble for novelty.
Paul Rand

Principles of Great Logo Design

Janine Horak

Effective logos incorporate certain basic design principles. Discover why you may need a logo to represent your business, or reevaluate your existing company logo. A properly designed logo is one of the simplest ways to create brand recognition.

Effective logos incorporate certain basic design principles, discover why you may need a logo to represent your business, or reevaluate your existing company logo.

What is a logo?

The dictionary defines a logo as: a symbol or other small design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc. You may have heard other words like: emblem, trademark, brand, device, figure, symbol, design, sign, mark; insignia, crest or seal used in reference to a logo.

Why should I (or my company) use a logo?

Because everyone else has one. Just kidding, but think about it... Nike, Coca Cola, Swiss Army, UPS, Pepsi, Google, McDonald's have all adopted a recognizable symbol and/or font to clearly identify their product/service. Undoubtedly you could instantly describe at least 5 of the 7 logos mentioned above.

A visual symbol is more memorable than words alone. Your unique logo design attracts eyes on both print and web media, simply because it is a graphical image. A well-designed logo will help customers remember you later and attract potential clients. Good logos clearly communicate an aspect of your product/service and convey credibility and professionalism.

What are the best kinds of logos?

Symbol Logo
This is a unique graphical symbol that actually or abstractly represents a company. A national flag is a symbol that represents a country. Symbol logos are normally used in conjunction with the company name. Think Nike's swoosh symbol or McDonald's Golden Arches.

Text Logo
Words in their purest form are images! Specifically planned text renderings (using unique fonts, weights and styles) of your company name or initials can be effectively used as a logo. Think SONY or REVLON.

Combination Logo
The most common logos are combinations of a graphical symbol and text. Used in conjunction, a symbol and text provide the greatest clarity in image branding. Think AT&T's circle/globe and their name, or the UPS shield bearing their initials.

Be open-minded when choosing the best format for your logo. Compare different versions; survey your family, friends and focus groups. Be sure that your audience accurately perceives you/your company when "reading" your logo.

What are some (fairly) universal logo design tips?

Simple is Better
Your logo should be easily recognized in small sizes on a business card, or at great distances on a billboard.

Consistency
Use of your logo is as important as designing it. Use it consistently throughout all communications from your company.

Looks Good in Black and White
There are many business uses - such as faxing - where your logo will be shown in black and white, so it should look good in black and white as well as color.

Colors
The more there are, the more expensive certain printing processes are. Often a two or three color logo can be as effective as a full color one, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in printing costs. If you desire a full-color logo, consider having a black and white variation designed in conjunction for faxing (and other) purposes.

Unique and Recognizable
Firstly, when people see your logo, you want them to immediately associate that logo design with you and NO one else. Using common clip art becomes ambiguous, because someone might associate that clip art with your competitor. An overused image or typeface defeats the intrinsic purpose of a logo, and could be counterproductive, because an audience may perceive your company as unimaginative.

Secondly, a unique corporate identity/image branding is important because you don't want to violate any copyrights or trademarks of other companies. If your logo is too similar to another company's logo, it is in your best interest to modify or redesign the logo. Redesign costs in time, money and reprinting are minimal when compared to legal fees for copyright infringement.

If your logo is simple and unique, and if people frequently visit your web site or are repeatedly exposed to your print media, they will begin to associate your logo with your company. A properly designed logo is one of the simplest ways to create brand recognition.

Janine Horak is the founder of Key Custom Design http://keycustomdesign.com a premier online design studio specializing in web development, logo, print and corporate branding services.

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