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Web Design & UX

Choosing A Company Logo

A business logo is more than just a part of a brand. It is the public face of a company. Your logo is how customers and potential customers identify your business.

graphic designer works on logo for client

A Good Logo

A good logo is simple, direct and easy to identify. Ready Artwork takes a look at the top 10 logos of all time. Each one is recognized around the world. Here are some features shared by each one of these great logos:

  • Simplicity. Each has spare lines and not a lot of detail. This makes the logo easy to reproduce and easy to recognize at a distance.
  • Limited colors. A rainbow of colors can be attractive, but the logo gets lost in the swirls. One or two colors is enough.
  • Compact design. Each one of these logos is compact. Coca-Cola is the longest and the Starbucks emblem is the most complex. At that, both are still easy to reproduce.

The One-Second Rule

The best logo is immediately identifiable in one second or so. As complicated as the Coca-Cola logo appears, the swoops and curves with the red or white color are immediately recognizable as Coke. The Apple logo with the bite from the side is known everywhere.

A quality logo must be recognized quickly. A good way to judge a logo is put it on a piece of paper. Glance at it and look away.

Can you remember it? If you can, it is a good logo. If you cannot remember it, then it is too complicated and must be simplified.

The Elements of a Great Logo

The elements of a good logo versus a great logo are:

  • Color. Good has color. Great has a simple color, one or two primary colors. Pastels may be pleasing and work for a good logo. Great logos have color with depth. A great logo needs a color that stands out. In the top 10 list above, the yellow in the McDonald’s arches is the weakest of the colors. It still works because it is paired with a bright red.
  • Art. A good logo has an art element that is attractive. A great logo has an art element that is attractive and easy to draw. If a kindergarten student can draw it well enough to be recognized, that is great logo art.
  • A short name. This is not an absolute, but it helps. The Mickey Mouse head has no words. Everyone knows what it is. Several of the top 10 logos have the company name. Coca-Cola is again the longest and most complex. The Federal Express logo, written FedEx, shortens the name to fit. Keeping embedded names to four syllables or less is ideal.

Choosing a Designer

Graphic designers have a portfolio. When choosing a designer, ask to see their portfolio. Use the above items to judge the work.

Designers also have a personal style. Is the graphic artist’s work appealing to you? If so, that is a designer to consider. If your style and the artist’s style don’t dovetail, you have a good chance of wasting your time and money and the designer’s time.

Ask for thumbnails. A thumbnail is a rough sketch, done in a few minutes. It is the basic idea, like the skeleton of a building. It just gives you a basic idea of the finished product.

Securing the Rights

When you have someone create a logo, you need to buy all the rights to the image. You must have all the rights because the logo is your company. You do not want the designer coming back later for more money or a demand that you stop using it. Graphic designers expect to sell all rights to a logo.

When you get those rights, file a copyright and a trademark to protect it. These important actions prevent someone from stealing it.


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