Logo designing is the first step in the crucial process of building a brand identity that will carry the company forward. It is therefore no trivial matter or something you should entrust online logo generators.
Why not? First of all, your logo is the first visual association your audiences will have to your brand. If it doesn’t stand out, they won’t remember you. If it doesn’t look good, they will avoid you. If it carries a wrong association, they might get confused. So don’t brush over this step and talk to a professional branding agency about your company and your business goals. Based on that, they will provide you with a thought-through brand identity and strategy that will expand past logo design and work as a map that carries your company forward.
You still might feel unsure about the options and the advice you’re getting. Here are some tips from branding experts on what makes a good logo design:
1. Types of logos and why you should select the right one
What kind of logos are there? To start with your understanding of a logo, it is good to understand the elements it’s made of. There are several types of the logo out there, and each can be very effective when used smartly:
- Monograms/Lettermarks – they are a good way for people to remember the name of the company, especially if the full one is long. Just think of H&M or CNN
- Wordmarks – a straightforward way of displaying your company name with little distractions, they rely on excellent typography. When done right, they can make a strong brand statement, as is the case with Netflix
- Icons/Pictorial Marks – a very common type of logo that uses a symbol that represents a brand, often paired with a wordmark. Usually, the brand can choose when to use the full logo with icon and wordmark (combination mark logo) or simply the icon alone, e.g. a household brand like Instagram is instantly recognizable by the icon. These icons can be completely abstract and indirect, or as is the case with Instagram, very to the point
- Mascots – these logos include a character that represents your business, especially popular for family-friendly brands e.g. Chuck E. Cheese or Nesquik
- Emblem – On some logos, a symbol is combined with a wordmark for a unique logo in a way that fully integrates both elements
As you can see, there are good arguments to go with either of these options, depending on your company’s requirements.
2. Essential qualities of a good logo
A logo is a representation of your brand within the minds of your audience, the first step to a greater brand story and brand experience. Therefore it needs to be instantly recognizable and memorable. It also needs to have direct or indirect relevance to who you are, especially with the combination of imagery, colours, typography and look and feel that it creates.
Above all, a great logo is iconic and for that, it should be simple. Think of the Nike icon or Netflix typeface – their simplicity is exactly what makes the strongest statement.
3. Importance of scalability & versatility
This plays together with our advice about simplicity. A good logo should be easily scalable to different sizes and platforms. A good logo keeps its recognizable identity in different applications, meaning it should fit on a range of sizes and layouts. When developing your logo, the branding company will consider all of these various uses and build a system for you together with brand guidelines to explain how the logo should be used, and how not to use it.
When opting for a logo design shortcut such as an online logo generator service, you not only lose out on a meaningful logo but end up without these guidelines. This usually leads to members of your team or your partners taking liberties in how to apply the logo for different purposes, diluting the brand identity and looking unprofessional in the process.
4. Prime purpose of an effective logo design
A company logo, and the whole brand identity, serve to build brand awareness and brand loyalty with the audiences experiencing the brand. These factors are not always easily measurable in comparison with lead generation tactics, as their impact on your conversion rates is indirect, however, they are the foundation on which all other advertisement and sales efforts fall back on.
Therefore it is fair to say that a good logo fulfils its purpose. A gorgeous and intricate logo that doesn’t create brand recall or send the right message is simply not the right branding solution.
Branding and logo design agencies are therefore not just creative artists, they are strategists who use their branding experience and understanding of your audience to communicate effectively and design something that resonates.
5. Authenticity in logo design
Your logo needs to represent your company and tell your story. Your branding agency needs to spend time talking with you and get a good understanding of what you stand for, where you’re coming from and where you’re heading towards. Then they will be able to write a genuine brand story.
Audiences today respond to authenticity and honesty. They want to know whom they’re working with, your values and your social impact. They want to understand your brand personality and see if they like it or not. A good logo should be the face of your brand, carrying that personality across.
It should also make sense through all your other brand-building activities, future advertising and initiatives. Imagine a financial shark whose logo tries to evoke tender emotions, e.g. using heart or floral symbols – it will simply look dishonest and fail at all fronts. A good logo is a way to show that you’re proud of what your company is all about, so be honest, be bold, and be authentic.
6. Determine your target audience before designing the logo
While the purpose of the logo is to represent your brand and tell your story visually, the communication is only meaningful if it’s told in the language that your audience will understand and respond to. This means using associations that have the correct symbolic meaning to them, colours that evoke the emotions you want to evoke etc.
Each individual can perceive things differently, but an experienced logo designer is someone who spends a lot of time doing research focused on demographics, audience behaviours and trends. Remember that your target audience isn’t you, and they are the ones your brand needs to resonate with.
7. A good logo is a result of research and competitor analysis
A creative branding agency will not only have to have an in-depth understanding of your business and target audience, they also need to research your competition. It is important to know what your competitors are doing, especially the successful ones. That isn’t to copy but to understand the industry and find your leverage.
If there are common threads, they should be identified and understood. The existing brands in your industry have all been creating an ongoing narrative that your brand will fall into, so by completely ignoring any established, proven practices, you might fail to look relevant. On the other hand, your graphic designer can avoid falling into a trap of repetitiveness and cliches and find cleverer and better ways to visually communicate.
Either way, understanding your competitors’ decision-making process gives you the leverage to build on that and make even better choices.
8. A good logo should look nice & be easy on the eye
As much as we want to stress the importance of so many other essential strategic factors, aesthetics will always matter. Simply, an ugly logo will fail no matter how good the concept behind it is. Execution is everything, and the final result should be easy on the eye, grab attention without being jarring, and simply look good.
A creative graphic design agency will be able to help you combine strategy with genuinely beautiful and creative artwork.
9. The role of proportion & symmetry in logo design
To elaborate more on the aesthetics of the logo, balance and symmetry is something even a layman will respond to without necessarily understanding the detail that goes into it. Many graphic designers work with a grid system and plan carefully how to balance their logos and apply golden ratio into it, even if it seemingly looks asymmetric.
They also think about utilizing the negative space cleverly and creating a balanced, well-proportioned result.
10. Choose the right design style for your logo
To make the logo look good, you need to be clear on the design aesthetic you think is right for your brand. If you keep in mind the other factors here, educated graphic designers will be able to identify the best style for your company.
Classic, trendy, vintage, art deco, minimalist, quirky, artsy, handcrafted … all these directions come with specific implications that will be woven into the brand story you’re telling and add a whole dimension of meaning. It is just important to get it right so that the stories told by all elements of the logo build on each other instead of clashing.
11. A good logo should tell stories & evoke emotions
When a branding agency works on a logo, they think about the entire corporate identity, the story and the future objectives. For the logo to resonate, it needs to inspire emotions in your clients, e.g. if you are an insurance company it should feel trustworthy, if you’re in the luxury industry it should spark the desire for luxury & opulence, and so on.
This emotional storytelling doesn’t always have to be achieved directly and being too literal can end up confusing, therefore a lot of nuance and experience is required to do it right.
12. Your logo should convey your business philosophy
Do you know about the subtle arrow in the Fed-Ex logo? You might, because this straightforward logo cleverly incorporated the symbol in its typeface, and people who saw it ended up sharing their observation. Right now it is a common feature on different forums when people discuss interesting observations, giving the brand free advertising.
And what about Airbnb’s logo? A cute symbol that stands for so much the company made a full video about it, connecting with their audience on so many levels.
You don’t have to have a complicated logo to spark the curiosity, emotion or intellect of your audience and get them to pay attention to it, think and talk about it. You just have to be clever, while also not going over their heads. A single fun detail or a smart concept can go a long way.
13. A good logo leaves a good impression
Continuing on the previous point, but taking it a step further, the message your logo conveys must be a strongly positive one. When creating a brand strategy, after identifying your audience, your branding specialists need to outline the exact emotions, associations and perceptions they want to evoke.
There isn’t always a clear right or wrong, a brand can succeed by looking extremely professional or extremely playful, but this entirely depends on the industry and audience. Either way, an inconsistent, undecided identity that tries to stand for too much usually ends up not standing for anything at all. You and your team must be in an agreement from the get-go on what kind of image you’re looking to send out, take the advice of your branding professionals, and then the graphic designers will have solid goals in mind when creating your logo and brand identity.
14. Get feedback and reviews on your logo design
Like we mentioned earlier, perceptions vary, which is why a good logo needs to be thoroughly based on research. But the individual creative spark is always present, and a good graphic design agency will know that their designers have their visions and style as well. That creative vision is part of what makes a great logo inspired and helps it to stand out, and it can’t be captured by any formula or algorithm.
This also means that it is important to test the logo, both through an internal review within the design agency, the client, and other members of the client’s team, as well as by showing it to the target audience for feedback.
Feedback is good and sometimes one small change is all that was needed to make a good logo iconic. Other times, a fresh eye can spot a mistake or unintended but unfortunate connotation and save the day.
15. It’s important to choose the right colors for your logo
When graphic designers and branding strategists work on a logo, they also tend to develop your brand colours and typeface (see more in the point below). Brand colours are especially important because colours correspond with emotions and tremendously affect the impression the logo leaves on your audience.
An experienced branding agency knows the meanings behind colours as well as how they work in combinations and bounce off each other. It takes research too to best understand your industry, competitors and audience and be original and fresh while remaining relevant – the colours need to connect to your industry & business, but also help you stand out.
16. A good logo uses a unique typeface
A typeface can sometimes get overlooked, especially if the logo includes an interesting icon, but finding the right typeface for the brand is a special skill. A unique typeface doesn’t have to be weird looking or complicated, it can be anything from prominent to discreet depending on what works best for the logo. However, to do it right and have it still leave a mark takes a good deal of familiarity with typography and various fonts.
Further, while developing your logo, graphic designers and brand specialists consider your brand colours and typeface right away and with all of that together create a core of your brand identity.
While many laymen don’t consciously understand what makes a typeface good, it is a distinction that makes a great difference when leaving a professional impression. A good designer will be able to identify the requirement and find the best solution for your brand.
We hope we gave you a good overview of what a good logo should be and what it should consider. Here is also a very short summary of what not to do:
- Don’t be cliche
- Don’t overcomplicate
- Don’t be trendy
- Don’t settle
As you can see, a lot of skill goes into creating a good logo, which is why we strongly recommend contacting a professional branding agency in Dubai to discuss your requirements and work on your logo.
After all, the work should not stop with your logo, from it you will develop your entire brand identity and get brand guidelines you can use in the future to ensure consistency and professionalism that will build brand awareness and generate brand recall.