8 tips to achieve great logo design

1   Keep it simple
2   Make it memorable
3   Make sure it’s timeless
4   It must be versatile
5   It must be appropriate
6   It can be abstract
7   Size matters
8   It should be effective in monochrome


A good logo translates the essence of your company into a graphic. If you or your company are not clear on the direction you want to take, who your target market is, what your USP is or your vision – no designer will be able to capture that “spot on” graphic because you are not clear yourself on what you want the world to see you as. A marketing person, such as Brand Heart, can help you work through this before briefing a designer.


In logo design, the principle of simplicity is closely linked to the principle of making it memorable. This is achieved by making it unusual yet simple and appropriate. It should be a clear, bold image that remains in the mind’s eye even when details of text might have been forgotten. Your design studio will know how to achieve such memorable images.


An effective logo should stand the test of time. Will the logo still work in 10, 20, 50 years? Ignore fashion trends and try to find a design that is inspired by your vision, mission, USP or business concept – strong ideas are typically less sensitive to fashion than the “pretty pictures”. Strong conceptual logo’s are also easier to convert to a new fashion without losing too much recogniseability.


An effective logo should work in a variety of media and applications, i.e. you should be able to print it at different sizes and on different materials. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size (the alternative is raster format, i.e. pixels, which is prone to looking grainy when enlarged). Ensure your designer provides you with all file formats and keep this in a safe place.


The logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose. For example, if you are designing a logo for a children’s toy store, it would be appropriate to use a childish font and bright primary colours. This would not be so appropriate for a law firm. Consider your likely customers and target market, and find a design which will appeal to the kind of people you want to attract and create the right impression for your business.


More often than not, business logos don’t actually portray what the company does. A simple logo design is more likely to stand out and be recognisable. The most common mistake is to try tell the full story in one image – and call this a logo. This is not the purpose of a logo, the logo is a symbol of your company, not the illustrated version of your marketing plan. The Nike swoosh shows no sign of sneakers or golf shirts. Sometimes a logo that portrays an element of what the company does is appropriate, but it’s often better to have a corporate logo that is graphically void of detail – a logo that can be adapted to whatever direction the company takes.


You will need to be able to reproduce your logo at a variety of different sizes, especially on the smallish side. You will probably want to include it on business cards and in letter headers. You may also want to produce branded office stationery or accessories, like key rings and pens, in which case your logo will need to work on a small enough scale to be reproduced on small items. Consider once again the Nike ‘swoosh’; it may not be a very dynamic logo, but it is recognisable on a shirt sleeve on the television where a complex logo wouldn’t be. Bear in mind also that you may want your logo to appear in very large formats as well, for example on a billboard. Knowing how your logo is going to be used, both in terms of size and on which media it will be printed, can help your designer to create a logo that’s appropriate in terms of versatility.


This goes along with simplicity and versatility and makes your logo more practical and easily reproducible. Bear in mind that you may need to be able to photocopy it without it losing its impact, so bold colours that render well and still stand out in gray scale are important. Colour printing is also cheaper when you only require one or two standard colours, rather than a variety of different subtle shades. Logos printed on ballpoint pens and other small accessories are also often best printed in just one colour. Your designer may use special software to design your logo, but before signing off on it, check that you can reproduce it easily with a pen and paper (like many other well known logos, e.g. Nike, LG, Coca cola); this is a good test of whether it is sufficiently simple and whether it will work in monochrome.