Elliot Taylor
etaylor@b3-marketing.com

What’s in a logo?

Sharing our experience and knowledge, and helping others understand valuable marketing concepts has become a passion for B3 leadership.  Why? Because we believe in giving. Period. These posts are part of that giving mentality, with the belief that shared knowledge is always valuable.   

Whether you choose B3 to design your logo, or another firm, we encourage you to understand what your logo should can do for you, what makes a good logo, and what the process to develop one is. Our Elliot Taylor shares thoughts ideas from his research and experience. 

What Is A Logo? 

B3 believes that logo development is a critical component of a company’s branding, helping to identify what it is. Ideally, the logo is recognizable, helps to inspire interest and loyalty,  and can even create an implied superiority.  As embraced by Paul Rand, known for his marketing advice, a logo does not sell (directly), it identifies. Ideally, the logo is very unique and not at all like a logo from others in the same type of business.  

What Makes A Good Logo? 

A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic and simple in form, and it conveys the owner’s intended message. A concept or “meaning” is usually behind an effective logo, and it communicates the intended message. A logo should be able to be printed at any size and, in most cases, be effective without color. A great logo essentially boils down to two things: great concept and great execution. 

As to the design itself, textbooks and references to effective logo design mention very common criteria related to the design itself.  Through our work, we strive to address these criteria:

Simple and memorable

Keeping a logo design simple helps the viewer recognize and remember it in the future. The logo should be something that catches the eye, without detail that is hard to remember. Remember the phrase “Keep it Simple Stupid…. KISS.”  The logo is often going to be a small component of something bigger, whether it is a business card or a billboard, and needs to fit all types of marketing.  The creator of the bird icon for Twitter, said about logos, “only do one trick.”

Creating a logo that is memorable is a must.  Doing so will allow a consumer to connect the company to the visual, and the company wants the logo to ‘stick in the consumer’s mind.’  It must be unique and stand out from competitors.  One designer suggests avoiding common typefaces, unique ones look more professional.  

Timeless

Timelessness requires thinking ahead. Does the design include something that will likely look different in the future? Using a telephone dial in a logo may have seemed clever 20 years ago, but today’s youth have no clue what it is.  On the other hand, the McDonald’s arches have been around since the company began and still work.  

Versatile

Can the logo be used in multiple applications and in different media.  Will it look as good on a billboard as a business card?  Can it be used in different colors, reversed colors?  Avoiding clutter, fine lines and details could make it difficult to be used in other ways.   

Appropriate 

The logo may be the first thing a potential client/customer sees.  It must clearly represent the product or company, although not necessarily spelling out what the company does.    

Relevant

A logo must be relevant to the company market, and help communicate the brands identity. Many experts take this further, calling for careful selection of: 

  • Colors, as some colors, can have meaning.  As an example, pink can be considered a ‘girl’ color and blue a ‘boy’ color.  Bright colors could seem child-like. However, color can be the aspect that results in a logo standing out from others.
  • Fonts/typeface, as this can also communicate the personality of the company.  As an example, curvy or serifed fonts might be great for an artist, while simple straight-line or sans-serif fonts might be better for a tech company. Researching what competitors use can help with selecting one that stands out.
  • Symbols, especially if the main focus of the logo, must be obvious.  A logo that can be interpreted as multiple things will leave the consumer confused about the company.  Consider that the symbol could be used by itself later, without surrounding words. 

David Langton, President, Langton Creative Group, Ltd. stated,  “Your logo should be capable of reflecting the values of your company, product, or service. You are the brand, you are the source of the authenticity, and the logo’s job is to be a vessel for delivering those qualities to your public. The logo is not what makes the company; in many ways, the company makes the logo..”