10 Things To Look For In A Great Logo

While working with a team of students on a quick logo design, we developed criteria by which to evaluate the logo designs.

Logos are pieces of commercial art that are required to work with a wide array of styles, words, usage, and audiences. What works for one logo design may not work for another logo design.

The 10 things to look for in a great logo are not requirements. This is not a scorecard; the highest score is not the winner. These are the core elements of good logos. Good logos don’t need to have all of these things, but good logos have many of these things.

10 things to look for in a great logo.

1. Personality. Good logos are an extension of the brand personality. So the first step in designing a logo is to understand the brand. Know the brand personality so the logo has the right tone.

2. Simplicity. Good logos have one main idea. Good logos are easy to read and easy to understand… quickly. Don’t try to say too much in a logo.

3. Compact. Good logos tend to be all together. You should be able to draw a circle, triangle or rectangle around the logo, and there wouldn’t be a lot of white space inside the shape. Good logos don’t have things that stick out. Logos don’t take up much space.

4. Scalable. Good logos work when they are about the size of a nickel and the size of a barn.

5. Typography. Good logos have refined typography. Take care to pick the best typeface. Be sure to manage the space between letters, between words, and between lines of text. There usually isn’t a lot of variation in typefaces, weight of the type, color, baseline and alignment of the type.

6. Craftsmanship. Good logos are a piece of art.

7. Efficiency. There isn’t redundancy of thoughts (visually and verbally). For example, the logo for Oak Tree Realty doesn’t need a picture of an oak tree because that idea is in the words. If the words and the visual say the same thing (like oak tree), then the visual needs to say it in an interesting way (like show oak tree in a creative way).

8. Visual. Good logos don’t ignore the power of visual communication. Words are more abstract than pictures. People don’t remember abstract things as easily as concrete things.

9. Creative. Good logos are designed with a fresh, new, original look. They have a special magic that pulls the viewer into them. They are interesting.

10. Progress. Brands are growing things. Good logos help the brands grow by communicating good things.

Remember that not all good logos do all of these things. This is a list by which to judge your designs… not a list of must-haves for a good logo. A good logo might have only a few of these things, and a weak logo might have a few more.

Steps to designing a good logo:

1) Know the brand and how it stands out from the competition.

2) Think up many, many ideas. Get to about 75 ideas.

3) Review your ideas for the most interesting ones.

4) Doodle all of your best ideas on paper.

5) Explore the best typefaces for each design doodle.

6) Pick the best idea from the doodles, and create it in Illustrator.

Good logos are hard to make. The combination of simplicity, communication, and creativity makes it hard. Good designers make it look easy… but it’s not. Good luck!