What Makes A Great Logo?

A logo is the face of the company it represents; it’s quite possibly the single most important piece of branding a company can develop. A logo generates the first impression for the customer—good or bad. So, what makes a great logo? Here are three principles that all great logos share.

A Great Logo Conveys the Company’s Function and Personality

As the element that creates a first impression, a great logo should convey its company’s function and personality. A logo can have a personality by using only words; look at the logo for ToyRUs.

The logo features a casual font and bright colors. The backwards-facing “R” gives the logo a childish, immature feel. It’s perfect for a toy store. There aren’t any toys in the logo; just words.

Conversely, the logo for Merrill Lynch conveys its company’s personality by using a formal font and a strong, stately blue-and-white color scheme. It also incorporates a famous icon of business

The bull on the left of the company name calls to mind the famous Wall Street Charging Bull sculpture in New York, which has come to signify the aggressive, energetic stock market.

Both logos are completely different, as are both companies. ToysRUS is a fun, happy place where little children frolic about...Merrill Lynch is a no-nonsense, icon of finance where you’ll feel safe knowing that the age-old principles of American investing are working for your money.


A Great Logo Creates Recognition

In addition to giving prospective customers an immediate idea of what the company does, a great logo leaves a lasting impression. Simplicity is the key for recognition.

A study in the journal Psychology and Marketing found that 93% of preschool children surveyed recognized the McDonald’s logo—a simple depiction of the famous golden arches. Even though the children couldn’t yet read, they quickly identified the arches.

The golden arches are simple icons that are easily recognized by anyone. Even in foreign countries, visitors quickly recognize the hamburger restaurant by its logo. Since McDonald’s restaurants can be found in over 100 countries, logo recognition is critical.

A Great Logo Endures the Test of Time

A versatile logo is a timeless logo. The logo should look good in an array of sizes so that it can be used on a large billboard or a small piece of stationery. It should be functional in black-and-white as well as color. An enduring logo uses classic design features and avoids trendy logos, colors and designs. A great logo enables a company to change its overall corporate identity without the need for a redesign.

The Coca Cola logo is a great example of an enduring logo.

The company’s prominent logo hasn’t changed since its inception in 1885. With its classic cursive font and red-and-white color scheme, the logo is timeless. Since it hasn’t ever required a redesign, the logo has become recognizable: Business Insider reports that 94% of people world-wide recognize the Coca Cola logo.

You don’t have to be Coca Cola or Merrill Lynch to have a great logo; make sure that your logo design includes these important three principles and you’ll be well on your way!