10 Elements of a Good Logo

An amazing community of creatives works on crowdspring.

They come from more than 195 countries, speak hundreds of languages, cover all age groups, demographics, experience, religions, etc.

They’ve designed logos for companies in virtually every country of the world and in most languages spoken on Earth.

Here’s what we’ve learned over the past 10 years working with our community of designers, about great looking custom logos:

1. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE STRONG/BALANCED

A logotype is an icon, whether it’s made up of just text or just a graphic symbol, or both of those elements.

It should reflect your company – its heart and soul – its personality. Keep your audience and products/services in mind because you want your logo to reflect your business.

Favor logos that have a strong, balanced look.

2. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE SIMPLE

Simplicity is vital.

A complex logo will be difficult to print and reproduce and may not fully engage your audience.

Take a moment and think about brands that are successful and/or famous. Most likely, you’ve thought of companies like Nike, Apple, Volkswagen, Target, McDonald’s, etc.

What do they all have in common? They all have logos that are simple and easily recognized when printed by themselves, and when printed in solid black and white.

3. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE MEMORABLE

Your logo does not always need to describe what your business does. Have you ever seen a car manufacturer with a picture of a car as their logo? How about a shoe manufacturer? It would look silly to have a picture of a shoe….on a shoe.

When using icons in your logo, consider icons that could communicate your brand without the company name.

This will allow you to use the icon as a stand-alone image (on packaging design, for example).

For a person to retain and identify with a mark (your icon), a little mental tennis match must be played with it. If an icon is too blatantly obvious or easy to ‘read,’ the viewer often feels no sense of discovery or personal equity with it. But remember that too much abstraction can be dangerous because your message can be lost.

4. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE FLEXIBLE

A logo should be visible and distinguishable on a big billboard from 100 meters away or on a small business card from to 20 millimeters away. It should also work well in different size formats like for example on stationery, brochure, t-shirt design and other marketing materials such as embroidery, stamping, embossing, etc.

A good logo will work well in many colors and in just one or two colors (yes, black is a color). A good logo will work well on light backgrounds as well as dark backgrounds, even on multicolored backgrounds.

5. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD USE COLORS INTELLIGENTLY

If you are looking for a color logo, consider the messaging that color sends to your customers. Do the colors reinforce and strengthen the intended core message/personality/mood you’re trying to communicate through the logo, or do they distract or neutralize?

For example, blue often communicates trust, loyalty, and freshness. The color blue is common in banking or finance.

Also, consider colors that work well with dark and white backgrounds. Because logos are often printed in black and white, chose a logo design that is viable and as strong or stronger in black and white.

Although gradients provide an aesthetically-pleasing effect on computers, consider possible future uses of the logo such as on letterheads, business cards, and merchandise.

Will the logo provide ease of printing and reproduction in and on all types of media?

A logo for a website or a band or a one-off project can be more rasterized and colorful than something that’s going to be printed in many different ways.

Think twice about including more than 3 colors in a logo – too many colors will increase the cost of production when printing and may make the logo more difficult to reproduce. Although such costs have decreased considerably, this remains good advice.

6. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE TIMELESS

Trends are good but innovation is better. (And fads are often deadly). A logo should have a long life expectancy. It will evolve and change over time, but the longer it stays the same at its heart, the better brand recognition you will get over time. Examples: Coca-Cola, Dior, Rolex.

A good logo will have a sense of timelessness about it. A logo that feels anchored in a certain time period is more likely to feel outdated or need substantial repurposing fairly quickly.

The best logos change very little yet feel fresh and vibrant every time. (Nike, IBM, Apple).

7. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE UNIQUE

Will it stand out among the clutter and the crowd?

Does the mark distinguish itself in a unique way from the competition, or is it predictable / default / bland — and thus unmemorable and ultimately invisible to the intended audience? With thousands upon thousands of fonts, billions of color combinations, and an infinite flow of design ideas, choose the logo that is most unique.

Try to avoid common logo cliches like “swoops,” “wooshes,” and “pinwheels;” these techniques are perhaps the most commonly used practices in the logo industry (just look around your house, you’ll see).

Avoid clip art like the plague, unless it’s significantly modified by the artist. It’s quite disturbing when you start noticing your logo, and things that look like it on many other people’s brands. That’s the quickest way to look low-budget and second-rate.

8. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD USE TYPOGRAPHY WELL

Depending on the type of application; typefaces with serifs convey a sense of dignity & power, sans serifs are often more clean looking and offer either a sense of stability or whimsy (depending on thecleaner of the face).

Will the font work with what you currently have? Can it be read at small sizes? Is the letterspacing/word spacing well adjusted? (the larger the wording gets, the more obvious the flaws will be)

9. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE SUPPORTED THROUGH OTHER BRANDING

Don’t compare the logo you will be choosing to already famous brands in the world. Those brands are famous not because of their logo, but because of the people/vision behind that logo. So, always remember that the branding behind the logo is very very important.

10. A GOOD LOGO SHOULD BE VECTORIZED

Always request vector-based graphics. It’s often tempting to ask for complex illustrations in a logo. However, unless you plan on never using your logo outside of an on-screen/online application, a JPG or PSD isn’t going to cut it.