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5 Features of Fantastic Logos

Logos can come in many forms, from the complex detail that is found in Ferrari’s Horse to the single “F” of Facebook. Some logos commonly appear with logos (“Just Do It.”), while others stand alone. It could be easy to assume that there are no rules when it comes to logos - that anything is possible and what you eventually choose will have little impact on your brand.


This is definitely not the case.

While Graphic Designers draw on many concepts and ideas to form logos that best represent businesses to the right markets, we can be sure that there are five things that will always be on their mind. Five things that every logo must be able to do for them to truly work in business.

1. GOOD LOGOS ARE MEMORABLE

There is no point to having a logo that a potential customer sees and immediately forgets. A logo is the simplest expression of your brand, your business, and what you stand for. A quick glance should fill a person with confidence in what you do and even offer subtle information as the purpose of your company.


If we took up a pencil write now and had to draw the logo for Mercedes Benz, we could. The three prongs in the circle, often seen in that metallic grey, bring with them connotations of simplicity and style, while telling a story of the goals of the company, “to motorise the world, land sea and air”. The logo is so memorable that it has barely changed in over 110 years.

Of course, logos don’t necessarily have to be simple to be memorable. The logo for Paramount Pictures, for example, is detailed to the point of the mountain being textured with lines. It is still memorable, however, for its representation as being the peak of film-making.


A memorable logo can be simple or detailed. What is important is that the logo represents the company, it’s goals, and can be deciphered in a single glance.


It also helps if it has the other four aspects of a good logo...

2. GOOD LOGOS WORK, LARGE AND SMALL

Sometimes a logo is used as the centrepiece for the front page of a magazine. At other times, it may be used as that little icon in the tab of your browser. A good brand strategy involves a single design, so the best logo is one that works just as well on the head of a pin as it does written in the sky. Graphic designers keep this in mind when they develop the design of our logos. They call it “scalability”.


Skilled designers are able to come up with designs that are recognisable by outline alone, and can use techniques such as “Vector Graphics” to produce logos that can even be resized easily just by a click and a drag on your computer. When you talk with your graphic designer, you might like to discuss what you think will be the biggest and smallest ways your logo will be used, but the experts will already have you covered.

3. GOOD LOGOS ADAPT

Logos that last centuries have all had one thing in common - they could change while remaining the same.


This sounds like a fantasy. For a logo to have enough change to have an impact on customers today, while maintaining enough of a look that people associate it with the same logo decades earlier? To pay a lot of money to both keep what you have AND have something new at the same time? It should be impossible.


Not for Graphic Designers.


As we look through the history of graphic design, we see time and again how a great logo can be “updated”. How a graphic designer can take that memorable logo and modernise it, helping rejuvenate a brand without compromising the history of a company and the values it has always stood for. It almost sounds like cheating. Time and again, however, companies have seen an increase in engagement with their markets by building on the brands they have already created. Even companies as old as Coca-Cola regularly find ways to update their look while maintaining the aspects of their logos that make them most memorable.

4. GOOD LOGOS LOOK SEXY IN BLACK

Having a logo look good in black is about far more than saving money at the local printer. A logo that stands out as well in black-and-white as it does with any colours proves itself on lines alone. It is an image that represents a company in its most simplest form, one that can be used to signify a brand in ways we might not even consider at the time. A logo that works in black-and-white then also works embossed in leather, written in the sky, tattooed on a body nor hidden in a magic eye. Logos that work in black-and-white are appropriate for watermarks and suit letterheads. Colour may give them vibrancy, but the image itself is what provides life.


A powerful example of the “logo that works in any colour” is that designed to represent “Recycling” the world over. A universal symbol developed in 1970, it is often seen in green (to represent the environmentally-conscious purpose it indicates), but can more often be seen now stamped into plastics to indicate they can be recycled. The design, the three arrows in a mobius strip, even has minor changes that can indicate if something can be recycled or has been made from something recycled, with faint watermarks found on some recycled papers.

5. A GOOD LOGO MAKES YOU GRIN

When it comes down to it, the most important role your logo should play in your brand design is this: it makes you proud to be a part of what it represents. This is why graphic designers don’t simply take a company name and go off to draw figures for themselves. They work with us to develop a brand strategy that reflects our company’s values and goals, they learn who we are, where we come from and where we want to go. They take all this and create a logo that reflects the passion we have for what we do. If we don’t look at a logo and feel a sense of ownership and pride, it is NOT a good logo.


At a glance, someone is going to look at an image and hopefully they will say “I know those people, they are good people.” They might remember a more complex version of it, or a past version of it, and are reminded of the quality of the service or product they received. They will definitely think, if only for a moment, about how good an organisation that little (or big) image represents. That image will stick with them. They might use it in a game of pictionary (even if it’s against the rules). They will catch themselves doodling it on the back of a notepad while they are on the phone.


THAT is a Good Logo.

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