What Makes a Successful Logo: 7 Crucial Considerations

Lots of factors go into crafting a strong brand, which makes sense – your brand is the face of your business after all. And at the centre of your brand sits your logo, the linchpin to your company’s entire visual personality.

As such, a surprising amount of work goes into designing a strong logo.

We understand the temptation to shop on price alone when it comes to logo design – and indeed graphic design as a whole.. However, inexpensive providers are unlikely to create something that has real staying power. Due to their low prices, cheap design companies often “rattle through” numerous projects in a short space of time, meaning they’re less able to spend time getting to know the client, their market, and their customers. Understandably in these circumstances, the final result can be rather underwhelming.

Clients often turn to graphic design agencies like ourselves after taking a chance on a low cost provider. Once they realise that their inexpensive visual branding doesn’t help them stand out from the crowd, they tend to come to experts like us for help.

We’ve identified 7 essential considerations that go into crafting an effective and professional logo for any given organisation, so let’s explore…

1. Simplicity

Good logo designers always aim for simplicity above all else. Simplicity, recognisability, and familiarity all go together hand in hand. When a logo is too busy and intricate, it can become impractical to work with and inhibit the brand’s memorability.

Consider the simplicity of big brand logos like Google’s logo, the current Microsoft logo, AirBnB’s “Bélo” logo, and Facebook’s “F” logo – they’re all recognisable in a split second due to their simplicity.

As with a lot of things, achieving a level of practical, memorable simplicity actually takes quite a lot of work. Successfully conveying a brand’s whole ethos in a simple logo or wordmark is a real challenge. This is where the skills of a professional designer are invaluable.

2. Versatility

The simpler a logo is, the more practical it tends to be too. Think about all of the pragmatic places your logo might show up – not just now, but in the future as well. It may appear on your website, your printed materials, presentations, large-scale print, grand billboard screens – the sky’s the limit! Bold shapes and solid colours work well when scaled up or down – from big billboards to small stationery.

Simplicity in design can also help to apply your brand consistently across various media. For example, a logo that uses intricate design and colour schemes may look fine on your website and letterheads, but may not translate well to embroidered workwear or monochrome-printed corporate gifts. Unusual colour choices may not look as vibrant or impressive in print as they do on-screen. Fine typefaces may dissolve into nothingness when scaled down too far. This is where an experienced graphic designer can help you make truly practical design choices.

Depending on where and how the client intends to show off their logo, they may need separate colour and greyscale versions, or perhaps a line-art version of their logo. Good designers bear all relevant practicalities in mind when considering shape, colour, and typefaces.

Sports brands like Adidas or Nike instantly spring to mind in terms of versatility. Their logos are simple, bold, and practical – just as recognisable on a small child’s training shoe as they are on a massive billboard.

3. Memorability

Memorability is an essential component to strong brand awareness. When a logo is simple, unique, and consistently applied, it’s easier for onlookers to become familiar with your brand and recall it with ease. Look at logos that add a memorable flair to simple concepts – Apple’s current logo is simply a monochrome apple shape with a bite out of it. McDonalds’ golden arches are a stylised take on the letter “M” with a recognisable colour scheme.

The concepts behind these logos are simple, yet they have unique characteristics that make them totally singular and easily memorable. Crafting something simple, unforgettable, and unique is no mean feat; graphic designers need to be well-versed in the psychology of brand awareness as well as being able to create something that leaves a lasting impression.

4. Uniqueness

Hopefully this one should go without saying. Nobody wants to be “just another” provider in their field. They want to stand out and show that they’re distinct from other offerings on the market.

However, a scribble on a page is technically “unique”, but it probably wouldn’t make a good logo. Good branding conveys the company’s core ethos in an exclusively distinctive and brandable fashion. Professional designers are highly skilled at asking probing questions in order to get a full view of the organisation before they craft materials on the client’s behalf. Getting to know a company inside-out helps agencies like ours create something completely distinctive each and every time.

5. Relevance

In marketing, a little self-awareness goes a long way. Your company’s visual identity sets the tone for future dealings with you, so it needs to accurately reflect what you do, for who, and how. A good designer will painstakingly get to know your market, your competition, and your audience in order to craft a logo (and by extension, a brand) that perfectly aligns with your customers.

When looking for a solicitor for example, you’re likely to be drawn to brands who use simple, bold design that conveys dependability, professionalism and trustworthiness. But when looking for a toy shop, you expect primary colours, whimsical design, and overall childlike fun.

This is obviously a very basic example but it illustrates the inherent differences that relevant, self-aware brand design can convey in an instant.

6. Timelessness

You may think that graphic designers always have their sights set on current design trends. Though we do maintain an awareness of the fads that come and go, skilled brand designers aim to create brands that stand the test of time.

At the time of writing, colour gradients, geometric shapes, and curvaceous serif fonts are all quite trendy in graphic design circles. But if you base your brand identity too heavily around these styles, your look is likely to date quickly.

Designing in a timeless way is a real art, and one that’s hard to explain briefly. But relying on straightforward design elements and uncomplicated colour palettes can help to create something with lasting potential.

7. Meaning

This element is optional, but well worth aiming for if possible. Good logos are often subtly imbued with meaning – consider the Amazon Logo’s “smile” actually being an arrow from A to Z, and the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo. Are there any ways that your logo can hint at a deeper meaning?

Consider your company’s offering and overall brand promise. Are there any ways you can give a low-key nod to your product, service, or values? Adding this extra depth to your logo can make your brand seem more human and can aid its memorability.

The beauty of imbuing meaning into your logo is that it doesn’t necessarily need to happen during the design process. If you’re hit with a sudden realisation about an aspect of your visual brand identity, you can always add your interpretation afterwards without changing a single thing.

But as with anything that’s open to interpretation, it may be worth getting a second (or third, or fourth) opinion about any inferred hidden meaning. Just because you can see something positive reflected in your brand identity, that doesn’t mean everyone’s going to think the same. Additionally, the hidden element may be obvious when pointed out, but the message may not be to everyone’s taste. Put it to your team and ask if they feel the meaning and message is something worth pursuing.

So if you’re looking for a new logo, give the team at OLCO a call. Whether you’re creating a brand from scratch or injecting new life into an older identity, our designers are skilled in crafting appealing designs that stand the test of time. Get in touch today!

Leave a Comment

A web designers desk with a keyboard in the background, a sketch design pad with a fineliner showing a web design sketch and a smartphone on the desk