Often when designing a logo, designers and clients often focus on what their logo should be. In this article, I focus on the exact opposite: What a logo does not have to be or do. A logo does NOT have to…
…be overly complicated
Often times when designing a logo we tend to think too hard and incorporate as much as possible into a logo, thus over complicating it. Instead, try simplifying the logo — yes, sometimes less is more! Here’s what a non-overly complicated logo can provide your business:
- Flexibility: your logo will be easier to read and interpreted at various sizes, especially when scaled down to smaller sizes.
- Recognizable: the more elements your logo has the more the brain has to remember various elements that make it the face of your business, in turn making it less…
- Memorable: overly complicated logos tend to be less memorable. Think about some of the most successful logos: Nike, Apple, McDonalds… I bet I could give you a pencil and paper and regardless if you are a great artist you could reproduce them.
…be accompanied by a mark or symbol.
Often when many of us think of a logo, we often think of a symbol or mark, but this isn’t necessary for every logo. Try using a quality typeface or designing your own custom type from scratch.
Examples of successful companies with text only logos:
- Johnson & Johnson
…have a tagline.
Sure it’s great to have a company tagline or slogan, but it’s typically best to leave it off the logo. Lengthy taglines typically require really small type to fit within reason of the logo size, making it illegible, while other times can make your logo appear cluttered and stuffed.
When designing any material that includes your logo, your logo does not have to be huge. When’s the last time you read an advertisement and decided to go with that companies product because they had a big ol’ logo that stood out more than anything else on the page?
If your brand message is intriguing enough a prospect will look for and acknowledge the logo that represents your brand. Here’s a funny (and very true) video for your viewing pleasure: Make My Logo Bigger Cream
…be neon colored.
Sure we all want our logos to be memorable and recognizable, but neon colors are not the answer! Effective and memorable logos are well executed and appropriate to your company’s message and brand. Use color to provoke feeling, not just to attract attention.
As a logo designer, you’d be surprised by how many clients approach me with their competitors logo and ask me for “something similar.” I usually follow up with the question, “Why? Why would you want to look like something/someone you are trying to compete against? Why would you want a potential customer to mistaken you for another company?”
The goal of a logo should be to differentiate, stand out, and represent your business.
When you think of trends typically the first thing that comes to mind is clothing and the fashion industry. Ask yourself this: What do you do with clothes that go out of style? You either throw them away or toss them far into your closet to never been seen or worn again.
A good logo isn’t cheap, so why would you want to reinvest your money into it next year? Good logos are timeless and should grow with your company.
…tell the entire story.
A logo is only the beginning for setting the tone for your brand. Your logo does not need to say exactly what your company does. Does Apple use computers in their logo? Does McDonald’s display cheeseburgers?
Recently I came across a great article on Brand Logic discussing content playing an important role in branding: “A symbol requires carefully constructed context for it to convey its intended meaning. Likewise, when seen under differing contextual circumstances, the same symbol can mean different things.” [Read the rest of the article] Another great resource on this topic is the book, Branding Gap.