Most of us understand the power of a great logo from our personal lives. When we see one we recognise, like the McDonald’s golden arches or the Nike swoosh, it immediately tells us everything we need to know. We know what we’re going to get.
However, creating a killer logo that emulates these world-leading examples is challenging for any business. The majority of symbols end up looking uninspired and generic because compelling designs are hard to find.
The Principles Of Killer Logo Design
Fortunately, we are here to help. This post’s purpose is to help you tap into the power of these small graphical images. We explain how to craft the perfect logo using fundamental principles, allowing you to tailor it to your business. Learn more below.
Make It Simple
First, you’ll want to make your logo simple. Over-complicating makes it challenging for the viewer to detect your message in all the design elements.
Too much information in a logo dilutes the messaging and increases how much processing consumers need to do before they recognise what they are looking at.
Brands that fall into this trap include complex images, text, descriptions, and telephone numbers in their designs, which is not advisable. While incorporating these elements might seem practical, it confuses consumers and makes the brand less recognisable. Creating something with simple ingredients that communicate your brand presence at a glance and providing additional information elsewhere works better.
Make It Memorable
Another fundamental principle of a killer logo is to make it memorable. It should be straightforward for people to recall.
Again, this requires keeping the logo simple. Companies that excel at this use only one or two colours and one word at most. Good examples include Pandora, Apple, Google, and Burger King.
Avoid overly stylising logos or trying to make them look artistic. Wiggly fonds and detailed images with numerous colours will only confuse most of your customers.
Make It Original
Our third principle for creating a killer logo is to make it original. Avoid doing the same as everyone else in the industry.
For instance, technology firms always include images of electronics in their logos, while dentists use teeth. These approaches communicate what your brand does but don’t make you stand out from the competition. Everyone is doing it.
To ensure your logo thrives and serves your business, focus on creativity. Design something welcoming and recognisable while differentiating yourself from the competition.
You can quickly find examples of what not to do. For example, the AT&T logo of a globe with blue swirling patterns around it isn’t particularly original. It doesn’t say anything unique about the brand compared to T-Mobile or any of its other competitors.
Make It Timeless
You should also make your logo timeless and not a product of the current era. Consider how it will look in ten years and whether it will keep pace with the times.
UPS is an excellent example of a brand that created a logo that stands the test of time. The company’s old black-and-while version is proportionately similar to the new brown and gold updated version.
Starbucks provides an even better example and proves the value of simplification. The brand began with a grey logo with the mermaid in the centre and “Starbucks Coffee” around the edge. Over time, it changed the logo to green and eventually dropped any text once consumers universally recognised its symbol.
Other brands didn’t age as well. For instance, Google’s original logo looked like something you could make on Microsoft Office 95’s Word Art feature. And Uber’s sophomore logo was nothing like its U-shaped design.
Another fundamental principle of exceptional logo design is balance. Logos should be proportionate and symmetrical, using mathematical concepts like the golden ratio and pi.
The reason for this need is simple: the human mind craves symmetry. Unconsciously, we prefer logos with mathematically beautiful proportions.
Google, Apple and Twitter use various geometries and ratios to determine the logo’s optimal size and shape. For example, Apple uses perfect circles and Fibonacci sequents to ensure the famous “bite” segment has an identical arc to the one supporting the bottom of the apple. X, formerly Twitter, did something similar with the angle of its tweeting bird’s beak.
Make The Typeface Complementary
Another pro tip is to make the typeface complementary. The font you use should match the image.
For example, if your logo image is simplistic and monotone, don’t add a complicated typeface underneath. The latter will clash with the former and make the brand look convoluted.
Instead, keep things simple. Microsoft is a brand that does this well. It writes the word “Microsoft” in Helvetica beside the Windows moniker to avoid any unwarranted complexity.
McDonald’s is another fine example of this in practice. It combines the word “McDonald’s,” written in a complementary font next to its famous golden arches.
Make It Versatile
Finally, any font you create should be deployable on any business asset, from the front of your head office to a tiny sheet of paper. For example, you should be able to use your logo on:
- Mugs, t-shirts, and other merchandise
- Posters, banners, and flyers
- TV commercials
- Website-based banner ads
- Social media channels
When creating a design, ensure it will work horizontally and vertically. For example, you could use your banner in a thin profile to advertise a shop front or display it on a margin banner on a website.
It should also work on a black-and-white background. Some logos get into trouble when the font is white or black because it doesn’t contrast with what’s behind it.
Finally, ask whether your logo complements logos for specific products or services. It should have a similar “design language” to make sense aesthetically and tie all the images associated with your brand.
How To Make Your Brand Stand Out
The previous section discussed the fundamental principles of crafting a killer logo. This section describes some practical strategies to get your brand images to stand out from the competition.
Make A Statement Based On Your Brand’s Values
First, you’ll want to look for ways to make a statement via your logo on your brand’s values. The image should communicate your fundamental attitude or perspective.
For example, the Starbucks image of the mermaid immediately makes you feel welcomed, which is precisely what a coffee house wants to achieve. Picking up a hot mug of Joe should feel like an all-embracing situation.
Ben & Jerry’s logo reflects its brand by evoking similarly powerful emotions of play and fun. Remember, when the brand released Phish Food and included little chocolate fish, it was a game-changer for the industry. It was an entirely original take on the ice cream-eating experience.
Test Whether Your Logo Makes An Impression
Another strategy for bringing a successful logo to market is to test whether it makes an impression. Cooking up proof of concept can help you validate your ideas.
For example, you might invite twenty consumers to your office to judge various logo designs. Sitting people down, arranging candidate logos evenly on a table and allowing them 15 to 30 seconds to observe all the emblems before testing what they remember can be enormously helpful. The most memorable logo is the winner.
Another approach asks people to observe a logo for three seconds and gets them to describe it back to you. The more details they include, the better the logo.
If you’re using a clever logo, you can also ask consumers to describe its meaning to see if they understand it. Sometimes, brands can believe the ideas behind their designs are obvious when they are not.
Use Pantone Colours
You should also use Pantone colours to create a killer logo. It’s not about the colours precisely, but how they translate between digital and print formats.
Picture this: you design a beautiful logo on your laptop, which looks fantastic. Then, you send it to the office for review. A marketing colleague gets back to you saying the colours are dull or don’t conform to those you specified in a previous meeting. But on your PC, everything looks great.
In these situations, the problem is disagreeing on colour standards. Yellow on a laptop with a low-quality monitor looks different from yellow on a computer with a high-quality IPS display.
You can solve this issue by using Pantone colours. Most brands use these to avoid colour confusion across print media and digital platforms. It helps keep everything looking the same, thanks to Pantone’s master standard.
Understand What Your Audience Wants
Finally, your logo should reflect your understanding of your audience’s needs. For example, if you sell outdoor clothing to adventurers and mountaineers, your logo should look rugged and nature-themed. By contrast, your design should evoke cleanliness and deliciousness if you sell fast food.
So, what matters when it comes to creating a killer logo? Ultimately, it’s about subtracting the fluff and making it simple. Speak to your audience by appealing to their emotions and creating something memorable.