A business logo is more than just a part of a brand. It is the public face of a company, and it’s how customers and potential customers identify your business.
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 of which is recognized around the world. Here are some features shared by every 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. Even so, both are still easy to reproduce.
The One-Second Rule
The best logo is immediately identifiable in approximately one second. 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, then 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 should be simplified.
The Elements of a Great Logo
A few elements separate a great logo from a merely good logo:
- Color. Good has color. Great has a simple color, like 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, there’s a good chance you’ll waste your time and money.
Ask for thumbnails. A thumbnail is a rough sketch, done in a few minutes. It is the basic idea of a finished product, like the skeleton of a building.
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 with 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 and ensure your new logo will be uniquely yours for as long as you want it.