There are literally 1000s of options when it comes to getting your logo designed, so how do you know that you are getting something that’s best for your business?

How you approach a logo design project can depend on a lot of factors, but one of the main ones to influence the design is you.

If you are a sole trader or entrepreneur, it may be as simple as getting a logo designed that you ‘like’.

Conversely, a marketing lead for a charity may have a large group of stakeholders that all need to approve a new logo design.

Whether or not your logo is ‘good’ really does depend on the metrics by which you measure its effectiveness.

What makes a logo ‘good’ or ‘great’?

People often turn to designers for an opinion about how ‘good’ their logo is.

Whilst it might seem logical to ask several different designers to critique your logo, there’s one problem; all of them would probably have done it differently.

This is the main problem with looking at a logo design in isolation – how ‘good’ your logo is, is purely subjective.

Factors that make a ‘good’ logo.

If you remove personal opinion, there are lots of factors that can determine the quality of a logo, these can include:

  • Typography
  • Layout
  • Colour
  • Clarity
  • Usability & Accessibility
  • Appropriateness
Typography.

It’s easy to get all snobby about the type, but there are few people who would argue that Comic Sans makes the best choice for a logo design.

At the very least, your type choice should be a professional and respected font or something designed specifically for you (think hand-drawn logo designs).

 

Logo Font Kerning

Same font, same size, different kerning.

 

If you are using an existing font, a logotype should always be visually kerned to optimise its layout and legibility, never letting the math do the kerning on a logotype.

Kerning is the spacing in between the letters of a word – different words all need to be kerned differently. All fonts have default kerning which should never be used for a logotype.

Layout

Again, subjective, but careful consideration of layout, spacing, exclusion zones and visual balance all lend a lot to making a logo design great.

As logos are used across many different media and sizes, consideration needs to be given to how spacing and layout work at much smaller sizes.

Colour

Preference plays a part here too, but contrast and legibility should influence choices here too.

Colours should be appropriate and checked against colour theory to ensure you are not making any mistakes.

If you are going international, you may also want to look at what colours mean different things to different cultures.

Other considerations are for what colours work well together – you’ve probably heard the phrase red and green should never be seen, this is a direct reference to the fact that these colours don’t work well together in certain hues.

Clarity

This takes in font, layout and colour – is your logo easy to read, identifiable and needs no explanation.

We often use the phrase; a good logo should work on a golf ball. This refers to both the size and the fact a golf ball’s surface is uneven.

It’s not a deal-breaker, but it makes you consider your logo design properly.

Usability & Accessibility

Clarity leads us nicely into these two. Font, colour, layout and clarity make your logo usable and accessible to people with visual impairment or other needs.

Always consider everyone when it comes to the design of your logo – don’t make it so intricate that it’s not accessible to certain people.

Appropriateness.

This is the one we focus on a lot here at Toast.

Simply put, is your logo appropriate for your target market and your business.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s a very good sense-check if the design is getting a little over-designed.

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Keeping things simple.

Great logo designs are usually the most simple.

It’s important to remember that to most people, your logo will mean nothing in isolation, it will be seen (and judged) in tandem with other things, like your product, customer service or price point.

A logo should never be over-designed and you should focus on how you are going to make your logo great by making everything you wrap around it great.

There are three main types of logo design.

Wordmarks.

These are word-only logos like Google, Disney or Coca Cola. Whilst these are only words, this doesn’t mean that they are a simple off-the-shelf font; in fact, most wordmarks are embellished in some way or other with either custom typography or additional elements.

 

Disney logo

The Disney wordmark

Pictorial logos.

These logos are often pictures or icons only. You see the picture, you say the word.

The Apple logo is a perfect example of this, Target being another.

These types of logos require the obvious; there can be no ambiguity between what I am looking at (an Apple) and the name of the company, Apple.

 

Apple Logo

The Apple pictorial logo

Abstract iconography.

This is often the type of logo that everyone wants.

A simple icon or shape that is instantly recognised as a representation of the company.

Nike is a perfect example of this type of logo.

Again, achieving this type of recognition takes time, and these types of logos often evolve over time rather than starting out.

This approach also relies on some serious marketing, PR and branding to make it work.

 

Nike Logo

The Nike icon logo

 

There’s a fourth…

There is a fourth type of logo too, which is basically a combination of any of the above.

This is actually what a lot of businesses end up with as they feel it’s a good mix.

 

Dubtunes logo design

A recent design we completed – mixing the icon with the wordmark

You’ve still got to love it.

Logo designs can be quite divisive, and a logo only becomes great due to the hard work of product (or service), marketing and PR teams, so these people are going to need to be on board with any new logo design you select.

It’s important that you love your logo. It needs to stand for something and you need to be proud of it.

If you’re not, how can you expect your (paying) customers and potential customers to equally love it?

A good logo design is just one ingredient.

Remember that your logo is nothing without everything else you wrap around it.

A good (or great) logo can look like anything, so long as it follows the basics, but it won’t get anywhere if it’s all mouth and no trousers.

Logos are not magic bullets that make companies great – it’s the people that work for the companies which do that, so when you are working with a logo design team, just focus on the design and ticking all the boxes in regard to that, don’t try and base the success (or failure) of your company solely on the design of your logo.

Spend the appropriate amount of time and budget on your logo design. If you go cheap and end up replacing it every 12 months you are going to lose any equity it had and you’ll look like a different business all the time.

The real key to a great logo design is a great brief and a client that trusts the logo agency to deliver what they do best.

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Do you need help with your branding?

If you would like to discuss your branding, logo or identity project, call us on 01295 266644 or complete the form.

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