Your logo is crucial to your company’s branding and long-term strategic effort. It is essential to ensure that it is effective in its functions. When evaluating your logo, several key factors include its design, icon, typography, color, and overall impact.
My philosophy is that a logo only has two functions: to ensure the brand name is immediately legible and to ensure it's always written in the same way. The best logos are timeless and don't ride the trends or very little. Like your brand name, your logo identifies who you are, not what you do. I expand on this topic further in my program BRAND LIKE A BOSS.
“A logo is a flag, a signature, an escutcheon, a street sign. A logo does not sell (directly); it identifies.”
- Paul Rand
A logo typically comprises two main elements: typography and a symbol or icon. The icon is a graphic representation of your company’s positioning, and not of its products or services. The icon could be an abstract shape, a letter, or a recognizable object or character. It should be simple, easily identifiable, and intended to create instant visual identification and help people remember the brand.
The typography refers to the text used in the logo, usually the company’s name. It’s usually designed to be simple and legible and should be consistent with the company’s branding and personality. It’s also crucial for your fonts to be in harmony with the symbol or icon and be easily read in different sizes and contexts. In my opinion, understanding typography is the most important skill required for developing a solid, timeless logo.
Some logos may include additional elements, such as a tagline or a specific color scheme. In some cases, a logo can also be composed only by typography. In other cases, it could be just a symbol or icon, provided that you are 100% certain your target audience will identify your brand without needing to read its name. There is no right or wrong here: it depends on your company’s branding and personality and how you want to be perceived.
The design quality of your logo is crucial. It should be simple, memorable, and easily recognizable. A good logo should be versatile enough to be used in various sizes, contexts, and mediums, such as on a website, business card, or billboard. The design should also be appropriate for your business’s industry and target audience.
When choosing an icon for your logo, it’s important to avoid overly complicated designs. Stick to simple, recognizable, and meaningful signs that can be easily associated with your company’s positioning. And avoid using clip art or generic symbols, as your logo will look unprofessional. Also, avoid using icons too similar to others in the same industry, as it can cause confusion and legal issues. Lastly, ensure your icon is versatile and can be used in different contexts and mediums.
“A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic, simple in form and conveys an intended message.”
- Nel Whatmore
It is not mandatory to have an icon in a logo. Some logos are purely typographic, consisting only of a company name in a specific font and style. These logos are effective in creating a solid brand identity through the use of typography alone. Others include an icon in addition to the company name. Ultimately, deciding whether to include an icon in a logo depends on your brand’s personality and goals. But in doubt, it is always better to have no icon than a bad one.
Typography is another essential, if not the most important, aspect to consider when evaluating your logo. The font used should be legible and easy to read, and it should be consistent with your company’s branding and personality. The size and spacing of the letters should also be appropriate and carefully balanced.
When choosing a font for your logo, it’s important to avoid overly complicated or hard-to-read fonts. Stick to simple, clean, and legible fonts that can be easily read in different sizes and contexts. Avoid using more than one font to keep it consistent and easy to recognize. Also, avoid trendy fonts that might look dated quickly. Lastly, ensure the font matches the tone and style of your company and, to a lesser extent, the aesthetics of your target audience.
“A logo is not just a tiny piece of art; it is your business’s public face for the entire world to see.”
- Paula Scher
Color is also a crucial element of your logo. Your colors should be appropriate for your industry and target audience and support your positioning statement. You can determine which color suits your brand best based on the psychology of colors and other key strategic aspects. I guide you through this process in the master brand design module of BRAND LIKE A BOSS.
Use only a few colors to avoid making your logo look cluttered and hard to read. Stick to 2-3 colors maximum, with one clearly the flagship color. Avoid using colors that clash or are hard on the eyes. Determining your flagship color is not a random process; there is a structured, precise way to do it that I explain in BRAND LIKE A BOSS with an easy-to-use decision matrix based on the psychology of colors and other factors.
If you use more than one color, they should be easily distinguishable from each other. They must remain legible in both color and black and white. So before freezing the design of your logo, test it in black and white, in the smallest size you may ever use and as an icon. It should stay easily legible and recognizable.
The overall impact of your logo is also essential to consider. A good logo should not communicate what you do: it should effectively communicate your company’s personality and leave an instant, positive impression on viewers. It should also be distinct and memorable so people can easily associate it with the company.
If you find your logo lacking in any of the above aspects, that would indicate that it needs to be improved. To improve your logo, you can start by identifying the specific issues with its current design. For example, simplifying it can be an effective solution if it is too busy or overly complicated.
Experimenting with different fonts, kerning and spacing can help if the typography is difficult to read. If the colors are inappropriate for your company’s personality or target audience, experimenting with different color schemes will be beneficial.
Another way to improve your logo is to compare it with famous brands of reference, and to get feedback from others. This can include feedback from customers, employees, or branding experts. Their views can provide valuable insights into how the logo is perceived and what changes can be made to improve it. However, put the feedback from customers and employees into perspective because they are not logo design experts.
Here are 10 Yes/No questions you can ask yourself to know if your logo needs improvements:
Does my logo accurately reflect my company’s positioning and personality?
Is my logo simple, memorable, and easily recognizable?
Is my logo appropriate for my industry and target audience?
Are my colors appropriate and consistent with my brand’s personality, and do they make the correct positioning statement?
Does my logo leave a positive impression, and is it easily associated with my company?
Is the font used in my logo legible and easy to read, consistent with the company’s branding and messaging?
Is the size and spacing of the letters appropriate and balanced?
Is the icon in my logo meaningful, recognizable, and versatile?
Does my logo look professional and original?
Is my logo consistent in different contexts and mediums?
Answering these questions will give you a clear picture of the current state of your logo and whether it needs an upgrade. Remember that it is integral to your company’s branding and long-term strategic effort. I hope this helped, and feel free to like, share or comment!