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What Makes a Good Logo?

May 18, 2018 10:00 am Published by

Logos are commonly misunderstood. People look at the most recognisable logos in the world like Nike, McDonald’s, and Ford, assuming that they are popular and well-known because they are great logos. This is not exactly true.

All of these logos are ‘good’ in their own right, but to say they are popular because of this is letting the cart get in front of the horse. They are successful because the brand is successful.

What Makes a Good Logo?

Consider, for example, the Pepsi logo. We all know it because we see it everywhere. We see it in films (think the Pepsi Crystal from Back to the Future 2), we see it at sports events, we see it on television, we see it on their countless celebrity endorsements, and we see it in supermarkets. However, none of this exposure is a result of the logo itself; it is a result of the brand.

Having a good logo certainly helps for successful marketing, although it only really has to be, at minimum, inoffensive and straightforward, anything else is just a bonus. I mean, consider Ford, can anyone really say they have been massively impressed by that logo?

However, for an unknown brand, the bonuses that come with an excellent logo can be incredibly valuable.

What Makes a Good Logo?

In order to find out what makes a good logo, it is perhaps helpful to start by considering what makes a bad logo. Let’s have a look at Apple’s first logo:

What Makes a Good Logo?

Even if you don’t know precisely why it is bad, I bet you aren’t surprised that Apple changed it very quickly, and there is apparently a reason as to why you have never seen it before.

Despite the fact it says “computer on it”, at a glance it is not instantly obvious what the company sells. It looks more in line with a label on a beer bottle, or perhaps some old-fashioned food packaging.

While many people will recognise the image of Newton under his apple tree and recognise it as a scientific image, that does not mean you automatically connect that with computer science. In short, there is a lot to take in, and it is not in line with the ethos of the company.

Now consider their new logo, which I’m sure I don’t have to include an image of, but let’s do it anyway:

Apple Current logo

It is still true that the logo, when out of context, does not conjure up an image of a computer and phone manufacturer, but unlike their original logo, it does not summon an image of anything. It is simple, inoffensive, and as has been proven has the potential to be instantly recognisable.

This is in line with the other successful logos we discussed at the beginning of this article; when it comes to logos, simplicity is (generally…) king.

Evocative Logos

However, discussing logos that do not evoke any one particular image only tells half the story. There are countless clever logos out there that represent exactly what the company does with varying levels of subtlety. Let’s take a look at this logo for the Spartan Golf Club:

Evocative Logos

As you can see, this ingenious logo is simple yet manages to evoke precisely what it represents. Upon a glance, it is inoffensive and could represent anything. However, upon even the slightest bit of inspection, it is clear that it has to do with golf and Spartans… the Spartan Golf Club.

This logo is not ‘out there’ enough to put anyone off, but is well-designed and smart enough to pique interest. Whether this interest leads to further attention for your advertisement, product or business is another thing, but either way, attention is never bad and can always lead to a conversion.

So, What Are the Fundamentals of Logo Design?

As we mentioned at the start, logos are often considered ‘good’ because the popularity of the brand they represent has made the logo successful. However, if we had to pinpoint three fundamental features of a good logo, they would be as follows:

  • Simplicity: The more complicated your logo is, the more work you are giving any viewer. You are also giving consumers more space to misinterpret what the logo actually represents – in essence, what your company actually provides.
  • Quality: Regardless of what your logo is, one thing must always remain the same; the logo must be good quality! Whatever you decide to go with, it has to be good quality. You do not want potential customers to spend time counting pixels instead of buying your product.
  • Evocative: A general logo that could represent anything is ‘fit for purpose’, but it isn’t meeting its potential. A great logo should represent what your brand does, your brand values, and what your philosophy is.
Do You Need a Logo?

Designing a logo isn’t easy, and you don’t want to be stuck with a dull and poor-quality image that could represent anything from a lawyer to a tennis club while showing nothing about your brand or its values. Luckily, we have a full team of in-house designers who have made a profession of creating perfect logos and branding!

By having a chat with our designers, they can get an idea of what you do and how you do it. A professional logo makes the difference, and we can craft a bespoke image that represents exactly what you do along with your brand philosophy.

Give us a call now 0141 429 2942 or send us an e-mail to [email protected]



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