Rochelle Weiner Carr - 01/20/2011 - Branding & Design / Creative Process

Most business owners these days recognize the need for a company logo. Your business card, your shop signage, your website, your packaging - all of this is your company branding and good branding starts with a good logo. Many times it's your first impression and we all know how important that is these days. You may not get the chance to make a second impression.

So... what makes a good logo?

Any seasoned graphic designer can tell you that a really solid logo should hit on all six of these points:

  1. Focused - a logo should focus on the most important point you want to make about your company. There can be secondary messages - sometimes that double meaning is what throws the logo over the edge from good to great. However, the primary message should always be clearly understood.
  2. Simple - The concept must be distilled down it's most simple and clear graphic representation to maintain focus, memorability and functionality.
  3. Memorable - A good logo makes an impact. It is distinctive and memorable and leaves the viewer with a clear feeling about your company.
  4. Functional
    1. Scalable - a good logo should work just as well at 1 inch high as it does when it's 10 feet high.
    2. Not dependent on color - a good logo works just as well in black and white as well as it does in full color. The meaning or clarity of your logo should not be dependent on color.
    3. Flexible - a good logo works in all mediums from print collateral to your website to being embroidered it on a cap. Some elements that make a logo non-functional are photos, gradients, soft drop shadows or too much small detail.
    4. Relevant - A solid logo should be meaningful and appropriate for the company it represents, and it should not follow the style of any trend or era. A logo that looks dated is a detriment to your company's image so be sure your mark has longevity.
    5. Unique - Your company logo must be unique unto itself. You want to stand out as distinctively different from your competitors.

    Your best foot

    Overall, your logo should help you make that great first impression. Your best foot forward should be unique and memorable and functional in all potential usages. If you start out with a great logo, you shouldn't have to redesign your branding for a long time, if ever. Think of Coca-Cola or McDonalds. They've had the same basic logos forever. They've made small changes and adjustments but since they were solid designs from the start they've never had to go back to the drawing board. That is what you should strive for in developing a solid and successful logo for your company.

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