There are many things to consider when designing and developing a good logo. You might be surprised at what goes into creating something as "simple" as a Nike Swoosh or the iconic Apple. I want to share three things for you to keep in mind no matter if you are designing a logo for yourself or a client, with a budget big or small—is it legible, is it scalable, and is it usable?
Logos serve a very distinct purpose, to establish a landmark in your mind for any given brand on the market. Nike has the swoosh, FedEx has the hidden arrow, Target has the...target—we form bonds with this iconic imagery and the brands for which they stand every time we interact with them. How might you think our relationship with Nike would be if the Swoosh was accompanied by three other symbols? Or if FedEx was written in a hard to read script, how might that effect the way we see the naturally hidden arrow in the negative space of the capitol E and lowercase X? Keep these questions in mind as you continue reading the remainder of this post.
Is it legible?
Because your logo serves as your brand imagery it is important that any graphics or text are clearly and visibly defined. If text is unreadable it might as well not be there, find a way to enlarge it or set it apart. It may be a cliche, but it's a great rule to follow when it comes to design—less is more. If you can say the same thing with fewer words, why not do it? The less words for our brains to read, the quicker we can process the information we are seeing.
Is it scalable?
Your logo is most likely going to be placed in many different areas, some that you may not have control over. It is important to make sure that is is legible and easy to read at poster size as well as the size of a postage stamp—you still remember what those look like, right? If your resources allow, it can be beneficial to create variations of the logo for different sizes and applications. For instance a lower case letter G is used as the emblem next to the URL in your browser when you visit google.com. There is no way all six letters of the Google logo could fit in that small 16x16 pixel square. It's not the Google logo, but within the right context the lowercase letter G holds the same meaning.
Is is usable?
A logo is not the place for ornate and flashy graphics. There will be plenty of other promotional materials for which you can get creative with. In order to keep your logo legible and scalable it must be simple. Fewer the colors, fewer the text, the better. After all, the last thing you want is to create an amazing logo and not be able to use it on anything because it either doesn't fit or is not legible when printed the size of a postage stamp. A logo should be easily usable on a bottle cap, website, social media avatar, and business card (virtual or physical).
There are many details to consider when creating a brand mark, but imagery and text that is easy to read, easy to resize, and easy to use will most likely provide you with an effective logo now and for years to come!
Endnote: A logo is only as strong as the brand or product it represents.
If you have questions or comments about making effective logos for yourself, for clients, or for your grandma—email me firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to hear from you!