Tuesday, February 9, 2010

6 Characteristics of Great Logo Design

Being fans of logos like we are here at FYC, we wanted to do a post that served as a bit of a heads-up to the n00bs and a bit of an important reminder for those of us who have been in the game for a few. Knowing that it never hurts to reiterate the basics from time to time, we derived a look at logos that acts to identify some of the more crucial characteristics that take your logo design to the next level of greatness. Like the degrees of separation, we went with the number six when compiling our list of logo must haves, finding these six to play the most pivotal roles in the construction of a great logo.

Here they are in no particular order…


One major element to pay particular attention to when designing a logo is scalability. You can be as creative as you want to be in your construction, but if it does not scale well, it is over. A great logo will be able to be re-sized with ease, all the while maintaining its recognizable form and expressive imagery.

In the interests of scalability, you will want to make a habit of using vectors to create your logos. If you are not as adept with the vectors as you would need to be to make this happen, then you need to see to that. Vectors tend to provide for maximum scalability, putting the rest of the re-sizing capabilities on your design. Remember, you want your logo to look great at any size, from billboards to ink pens.

Looks good in Black and White

Another thing to keep in mind when designing a logo, is that no matter how you design and present it, you will not always be in control of how the logo is displayed once it is out of your hands. The client’s needs for the design are going to end up being multifaceted and possibly bounce between the web and print arenas. This means you will need to keep things fairly flexible on your end.

You can do this by making sure that the logo you design always shines in both form and function no matter how it is rendered. Be it in full color, gray-scale or even in pure black and white. This means that you will have to remain imaginative and yet keep things simple enough for the logo’s idea to transfer despite any less than flattering displays it may find itself in. You should never rely on color to get the message of your design across.

Make it Timeless

Another area to keep focused on while fine tuning your logo design is dating. And no we are not talking about the designer needing to cut loose and get out on the town, we are talking about keeping your design timeless. You want your design to always feel fresh and relevant, and you certainly don’t want anyone looking at it and being able to pinpoint the era in which it was created. The logo should always be without age.

This may be one of the most daunting tasks you will face throughout the process of building the logo, but you cannot let that deter you from making sure that you achieve the desired results in this area. Make sure that you steer clear of any of the current logo design themes that are circulating, and instead take the time to find the right design that will never go out of style. Remember that the logo should be just as effective 50 years down the road as it is today.

It is Memorable

One more may to separate your logos from the more mediocre stock would be make sure that you keep it memorable. This is not a Bob Hope moment, the memories are important but you can thank us later. You want the design to stick out, and basically just stick overall, because you want it to also stick with them.

What good is taking all the time to research the client and meticulously pour over the details as you work out the perfect logo, only to have people forget it mere moments after they have taken it in. A great logo will remain memorable enough that a person who has only seen the logo once should still be able to recall it enough to describe the logo to someone else. This is not the easiest of qualities to impart, but it is certainly a high ranking one so make sure your designs stays in their minds.


As with any design, you always want to keep originality in the forefront of your mind as you make your logos…or the backfront, or in whatever area of the brain controls that kind of stuff really. Make sure that the design you have created does not just blend in with masses of others that we are inundated with on the daily, failing to have the original qualities necessary to stand out.

Now being original is something that hopefully comes naturally to you as a designer, or just as a creative individual, but you never know. Furthermore, to that end, it should go without saying, but do not use any kind of clip art or stock images in your logos. Remember that the logo should be something created solely for the individual client and their business, and should reflect that individuality. Copy-catting is not the way to achieve that.

Clean and Clear

Finally, the last characteristics that we want to mention here that help to establish the great from the good are make the logo clean and clear. We figure if it works for skin care then it must be true of logos. Kidding. But once again, consider the point of making the design in the first place, to represent and embody the client’s business. If your design does not cleanly and clearly convey that to the viewer then it hasn’t been the biggest of successes, now has it?

For all of the above reasons, the best logos tend to be those that are the most simple. So take care not to overload and overwork the design by adding in too many elements to muddle up the message and ideas it needs to transfer to the audience. Abstract is good in art, but for the logo the best way to go, is concise and straightforward.


That concludes our look at logos and the characteristics to keep an eye on as you embark down the logo design road. What are some important ideas that you would make sure to keep in mind as you make your way through the process? Hit us up in the comments and let us know.

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