Logos that are too busy, as in many things in branding and design, can hurt your brand, which transfers to your sales. As a designer, I know sometimes we all get the urge to add extra elements to our logos. We want to make it
fun and unique, but adding more than 2 colors and several design items make it hard to focus and to remember it in the future.
This principle is tied to #1 in the sense that the simpler the logo the easier for our brains to recall them when needed. Some people think it’s the opposite but science proves them wrong. This is exemplified in hundreds of the world’s most famous logos such as Pepsi, McDonalds, Coca Cola, Apple, Subway (hungry much?). One thing that makes it memorable is that it needs to be your friend. You need to trust it and the only way a brand can be trusted is by evoking feelings. The McDonald’s logo for example uses the colors red and yellow, which evoke feelings of hunger, but the roundness of the M and the color yellow evoke feelings of fun and friendliness. At the very least it will make you think of ketchup and mustard.
People might not realize it but over time, just like in fashion, there are “fads” in the graphic design industry. And just like the top fashion houses know, the best graphic designers know not to follow fads. Why? Because you want your logo to be unique and timeless. You want your logo to be relevant and cool for decades. What’s the point of investing so much time and resources into branding and marketing, just to start all over with a new logo in a few years? NBC Universal’s logo is a perfect example. The symmetry, the classic font, clean lines and modernist structure of this logo render it timeless. The simplicity and neutrality has allowed for the logo to be altered over the years but the timeless elements remain the same.
If your logo can be successfully placed across various platforms, you’ve got yourself a good logo. One key “thing” is to make sure the logo’s colors can be changed without affecting the general design. Even though the McDonald’s logo’s colors are part of the marketing scheme, if changed to black and white it remains the same logo. Using too many soft colors or strong colors can render the design useless when the colors are changed, which is sometimes necessary to do for marketing purposes.
Does your logo represent your company’s service and values? It’s important for a design firm to do a great amount of market research to determine what design will attract your target customers the most. Are you a law firm? Toss out the fun stuff. Are you a toy company? Make sure it isn’t too serious. Balance and target market are key. A designer should know where and how to do market research and do it well.
It’s important to set yourself apart from your competition in your marketing but also in when it comes to your branding. Part of a design firm’s research includes thoroughly researching the competition’s branding. Looking for design elements that could be useful in your logo’s message that hasn’t been taken advantage of yet by other companies. If choosing a product based solely on the logos, would you choose your company amongst all the other competitors? Ask yourself and others around you this question.
#7 Rules are Meant to be Broken
Many great logos have successfully broken the rules and excelled in their branding efforts. It’s important to know when it’s ok not to apply these principles. In the end it’s your drive and your perseverance that will make your company successful, not your logo. However, you can be delaying or even working against yourself when you have an awful logo. One example is when Tropicana changed its logo a few years ago and their sales went down by 18%, prompting them to return to their original (much better) logo. But if you started out with a bad logo and excelled, by all means continue using it. Google is one of the best examples of a successful company with a bad logo. But they ran with it and it has been redesigned thousands of times in fun and creative ways making it one of the most successful logos in history.
Do you guys agree with this comprehensive list? Talk to me about your questions and concerns.