The 10 Rules of Logo Design

January 8, 2016

Logos appeared long before the opportunity of using Internet technologies and computer software to create and edit. The second half of the 20th century was a real logo boom, as the identity revolution enlivened the concept of uniqueness. That means today’s logos are not just soulless images, associated with a brand – rather they’re primarily marketing tools that with the right approach can increase your brand’s recognizability and profitability.
But we would have dissembled if we told that there is a universal recipe for a successful logo. Actually, there is no such algorithm, as each case is individual. You can never definitely know the reaction of the audience to this or that logo’s element.

“Should we add or remove that?”, “Does the logo look too bright?”, “Maybe we should have used different colour model?” These and many more other questions arise when you decide to create a logo. But don’t worry – although there’s no one hundred percent universal solution – there’s still basic rules and principles, by following which you won’t lose your face.

1. Uniqueness

The worst idea that may come to your mind is to copy the whole logo or some of its elements. And it’s not only because you violate copyrights by this: when copying somebody’s logo (especially when it comes to your direct competitors), you completely destroy the “identity” concept. As a result, all your efforts go in vain. Unique logo should tightly fix the audience attention on your brand’s name.

2. Simplicity

At present days thousands of brands hardly bombard customers’ minds. All this diversity overload buyers’ brains, so today you should stay as simple as possible. Simplicity is a key. If you still do not believe, recall Nike with its unsophisticated stroke. Of course, simple does not mean meaninglessness. Try to reduce your inspiration and creativity to basics: display only those elements which are crucial. Keep it simple. Keep it stupid.

3. Memorability

The first impression is made just in a few seconds. At this point you have two goals: 1) to “hook on” potential customer, i.e. somehow focus his attention on your logo; 2) postpone the picture in the customer’s memory that he could restore it again and again when meeting with your brand. Associating is a must. Twitter is a great example: small flying bird is linked with tweeting, so you instinctively make correlations between the logo and the action. In fact, associating is one of the strongest marketing techniques no one can ignore.

4. Adaptability

Talking about adaptability, we mean three concepts:

  • Versatility. You should suit your logo for a variety of media. The times when logos were used in print only have already sunk into oblivion. Today to promote your brand well you should present it on a website, on a banner, on T-shirts, on business cards, etc. Make sure your idea is appropriate for all media branches.
  • Changeability. Nothing is eternal, so sooner or later rebranding will knock on your door. The main point is that adding/removing/changing some lines/colors/fonts of your logo should be “smooth”, otherwise you’re risking to lose a part of the audience that won’t recognize your brand after such editing. Ideally, you have to provide the possibility of “painless” rebranding from the very beginning.
  • Scalability. Your logo should remain recognizable when viewing from any distance. Small or big, it should strongly present your brand.

So the adaptable logo is the one that could be used everywhere and changed anytime without any long-term negative consequences. Enjoy the examples at Design Contest.

5. Relevance

It’s not an easy task to present your business in just a few pixels. Before creating the logo, you should carefully analyze the audience and make sure about the chosen colours, fonts and graphics. Of course, your main activity is a backbone for the logo.

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6. Modernity

It’s the most controversial logo’s quality. How could you be up-to-date without making any changes? At first glance it seems impossible, but the main key of being in trend is to avoid those traits which are of the trend origin. Here is such a paradox: if you chase short-term benefits, you’re likely to lose in the long run. Try not to follow the current trends, but to create your own timeless trend!

7. Colour is secondary

It may seem surprising to you, but the colour of your logo is not something that you should strive first and foremost. Sure, colour is still incredibly important, but using the colour as the one and only element of cohesion for the entire image can cost you too much. The fact is that on faxes, checks, as well as on some other logos applications where black and white reproduction is used, the “colour-hold” pictures become a grey mess so that no one can figure out how to make them understandable.

8. Sketches as the basis

You simply have no right to neglect the preliminary sketches. Try and experiment. Visual display of your ideas is crucial, as nothing will give you the better chance to remove current shortcomings and see the potential of further improvement. You can make 2, 5, 100, 200 sketches – the only limit is your time and patience.

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9. A detailed action plan

You can’t operate effectively without a plan. Develop a strategy, including the approximate dates for each phase. Keep in mind that it should be feasible: don’t rush, don’t set unrealistic timeframes and goals. The quieter you go, the further you’ll get. Your main goal is the end result of well-representing and commercially attractive logo.

10. Overvaluation of your abilities is the shortest path to failure

Veni vidi vici doesn’t work here. Don’t try to solve all the problems in one night. If you have luck of experience or just not sure about your creative abilities, please ask for the help of professionals. Believe us – the cost of logo production is a drop in the sea compared to its possible economic effect. We do insist that logo design should be made by those who’re able to create a conceptual representation of your brand.

The foregoing is just a basis for logo design. To become a skilled designer – no matter how talented you are – you have to practice and develop constantly. Good luck and undying inspiration!

Thanks to Design Contest – Brian Jens for this weeks post!

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