Logo Design – Do Great Logo Design 2

Do Great Logo Design

We here at Brand In A Can have a large collection of template logos but we ask ourselves, can a template logo be great, and for that matter, what even makes a great logo to begin with? Here we continue with the pointers we came up with for young designers. 

5 - To Icon or Not to Icon

There are companies that choose to represent themselves through symbols, while others choose to represent themselves through wordmarks.


Consider Starbucks and Mercedes, these companies used huge advertising campaign to get their symbols engraved in the minds of people. And their success means that now merely the appearance of the symbol brings recognition for the whole brand. On the contrary, consider other companies like Coca-Cola, Ray-Ban and IBM. They chose a wordmark because they knew that they could get recognition through the quality of their products (not that Starbucks and Mercedes produce bad quality products!).


Choosing which path, wordmark or symbol, is completely up to you, both will require design sensibility. And if all else fails don’t underestimate the strength of Helvetica. Helvetica became a dirty word when I went to art school, with all the young and eager designers seeking to put their mark on the world through nonconformance. However Helvetica, and similar typefaces, have been used by many successful companies such as, Crate & Barrel, Target, etc. and there is strength in the clean and simple.

Finally take care not to plagiarize if you go the symbol route. If the company takes off it can potentially cause great headaches later down the track when the plagiarized finds out and comes for blood with an office full of lawyers.

6 - Keep It Simple, Stupid

The last thing you want in a logo design is a puzzle no one can understand. Customers won’t spend their hours gathered around your logo discussing it’s intricacies, in fact your average consumer won’t give more than a few seconds thought to it. If you hit the 10-second mark of customer engagement with your logo, you’re doing well! You have to design something that is easy to understand and flexible at the same time because in this digital age, your logo will be used on many different platforms and devices.


Notice how FedEx has designed their logo. Besides the colour combination, there is an arrow which tells us that their services are fast, precise and directed towards further improvement. We don’t have to stare at their logo for a long time to notice these things. Another great example is the Amazon logo. Notice how they tell us that they have an extensive inventory of different things by pointing an arrow from a→z. Initially I saw a little smiley in their logo, which was good too, but then when I noticed the a→z, Amazon got extra ‘brownie points’ in my eyes.
Another thing that you need to remember is that your logo will be shared and used across different social media networks, and possibly also used on different apps. Flexibility is the key here, because no matter where it is used, your logo should still look stunning. 

Everyone wants a logo that will last through ages. Usually it’s not possible or extremely hard, yet we designers can give as much longevity to a logo as we can. To do this try to steer clear of fads in design. Drop shadows are a prime example, as too is embossed test and fluorescent colours. But remember, even the best logos require some alterations from time to time.

7 - What’s Wit Got To Do Wit It

When I was a young designer I thought that every logo had to be beautiful, clever and witty. I thought for a logo to be good, it had to be smart, and the smarter the better. However, when you are designing the two hundredth logo for your career, it can be hard to keep that stream of genius flowing, close to impossible. Furthermore sometimes the client has a clear idea of what they want and trying to fit in your own piece of something ‘clever’ is just not an option.

But over the years I came to question whether you even had to include wit in your design. Certainly it helps and can be memorable, but you needn’t try to make every single logo another nugget of genius. For some it will work and for others it is not necessary. ‘Clever’ is not a prerequisite of a great logo.

Take the Jaguar logo as an example. The other day I was discussing car logos with a designer friend and we both agree the Jaguar logo is amongst our favorite. There is not much wit in it. The car brand is called Jaguar and the logo has an icon of a jaguar. Yet it is memorable. Furthermore the smooth lines and motion you get from the jaguar stretched into a pounce, encompasses the company. It fits. Would an overly clever icon help sell more cars than it’s current icon? It may give the impression that the business is run by smart people and therefore their products are well built. But that is not the impression Jaguar wish to give. Owning a Jaguar is a status symbol, and so is their logo, wit or no wit. The logo is sexy, and if you own a Jaguar, well according to the message they're trying to give out, so are you.

8 - Don’t Expect Overnight Success

Not to discourage all the young and eager designer, but you won’t achieve instant success even after getting that perfect logo designed. The logo is just the representation of a company and the thoughts and authority that it will evoke in a person’s mind. The main thing that will make a company a success is the company - the products, customer service etc. And the logo will tag along for the journey.

All famous companies had to work hard to achieve the success that they have now. And that is the same journey that yours will have to go through. Just because you might not have received any traction or appreciation from customers, doesn’t mean that your logo isn’t great. Be patient, and if nothing else, use that awesome logo you just designed as a feature in your portfolio!


So that concludes our tips for young designers for creating a great logo. Hope it helps.

Happy designing!

August 12, 2014 by Paul Cattanach
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