9 Principles of Logo Design

by Seth DeMaio

on June 25, 2010

in design

Put yourself in this scenario.  You are invited to several job interviews, much of them for the kind of jobs you have only dreamed about getting.  The kind you jokingly told your friends about when you figured out what you wanted to be when you grew up. You want to impress your future clients.  Personally, you are filled with confidence for what you do having been to the best schools, and have spent many years perfecting your profession.  You eat, sleep, and breathe the job that you do.  Getting ready for the interviews, you realize you haven’t been to anything formal in a very long time.  Your old moth eaten clothes wont come back into style for a few more decades.  Money has been a little tight right now, I mean lets face it, schooling is expensive.  That’s why the thought of washing your dandruff salt and pepper hair, getting a haircut, and buying a nice quality suite are things you are more than willing to do, because if you get this job, it will set you free financially. And you know if you show up looking like old, smelly, Rip Van Winkle, you will get escorted from the party faster than it took you to find directions on Google Maps.  The only thing your potential employer is going to know of you is your lack of personal hygiene, not your outstanding qualities for the job he was going to offer you.

To most of us, we know the importance of first impressions, and going to a job opportunity under dressed is something we would never do.  However, did you know if your website is dressed with an ugly out of date, eye sore logo design, you are in fact showing up to many job opportunities like the man from the scenario?  Everyone who visits your website, could be that one contact that would be able to give you the job that you have always wanted, but at the same time could immediately be turned off from their first impression your logo gave about your business.  Whether your business is a multi-million franchise, or your basic ‘Ma and Pa’ family company, it always helps to look professional in all angles of your profession.  Here are some quick basic, yet vital tips to know about what makes an attractive logo design.  We will compare them with logo’s that don’t have these elements, you be the judge!

1. Clean

Sometimes less is more.  Most great logos are very simple.

2. Catchy

You want a design that will make an impression on people’s minds.

3. Dateless

Generations come and go, but you want your logo to be ready for any fad that comes.

The Coco-cola was logo was created in 1885, making it 125 years old.  Things to ask about a design; will it still be catchy and hip in 5, 15, 125 years?  What helps logo’s to stay trendy is that the style of it isn’t based on any fashion trend that is currently hip, but from the elements of design, and applying it to the logo’s product.  For example if Coca-Cola were to go back and use the logo they started out with in the late 1800’s then you would immediately be able to identify that product as being Coca-Cola. However what if I showed you the IBM logo they developed in the late 1800’s chances are no one would be able to identify the company. Granted there will be refinements in logos over time but they should be subtle. Do not get refinement confused with complete alteration of the logo.

4. Relevant

You wouldn’t show up to a wedding looking like you just came from a baseball game!  (Unless you’re going for Brad Pitt’s new look)

5. Adjustable

If its on a billboard, or scaled down to fit on a pencil, is it still recognizable? What if your design gets run in the newspaper is going to look good in just black and white?

6. Meaningful

High-class logos always have some aspect of their business hidden within them.

Can you see the “go to arrow” FedEx has put in their excellent logo?  There’s a saying, “You can’t go dressed looking like a 100 bucks if you’re dressed in 20 dollar bills!”  People are going to notice if you cheap out on your design or if it’s professional done.

7. Universal

Languages, trends, and other aspects that your logo will incorporate can change from place to place.  Your logo needs to have details in it such as the way the colors curve, or the general shape so that if your logo needs to be printed in another language everyone still knows it’s your product, and that you don’t offend to many cultures in the meantime.

8. Font or Symbol

If your going to use both a graphic and spell out what your business is, you need to make sure they fit with each other, and aren’t like two jealous girls fighting for attention.

9. Cleverness

The more popular interesting logos are designed with elements that you know what the name of the business is without literally spelling it out.  It can be a very hard thing to accomplish, and though you want people to interpret what you do from your logo, you don’t want your logo to be misinterpreted like this logo on the right.

Here are some simple things to look for in your logo design. Because your logo will represent you and the quality of work your company does, its important to make sure you’ve hired the best person for the job! What are your thoughts? Anything we forgot to mention?

About The Author
Seth DeMaio works at BOON Multimedia Design.

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About Seth DeMaio

Seth DeMaio is a graphic designer at a Graphic Design Denver company called BOON Multimedia Design. Seth DeMaio also leads the logo design Denver team in the creation and completion of logos for clients.