For any business to be successful, one of the main criteria is having a strong identity that sets it apart from a crowded market place. Just like everyone that has a name to identify who they are, a business likewise needs a way to be easily identifiable to others. Logos or wordmarks have been used by companies since the time of the industrial revolution as a way to represent their business. In simple terms,
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition.
Yes, even individuals! The musician and celebrity Prince is a good example of one who’s done away with a name and simply used a logo to represent himself. Bands like AC/DC, The Beatles, Kiss, Metallica and Led Zeppelin are just some examples to name a few that are easily identified by their logos. Besides bands we see the power of the logo being used to represent presidential candidates in the U.S. The Obama campaign logo became a powerful symbol representing the campaign’s message of hope. Its distinctive mark helped set it apart from other candidates’ logos and achieve instant recognition.
So what makes a strong logo that successfully represents a company, organization or individual? Below are seven factors that contribute to an iconic logo.
The adage “less is more” is true in this case. A simple logo is easier to remember. It works small or large and can be recognized easily at a distance, especially for retail brands that have storefronts or for advertising on billboards.
It needs to work in multiple places and be scalable especially for businesses that sell products. Nike and Addidas logos appear everywhere from their advertising in various mediums to their sports wear. In a different sense, the constantly changing Google logo on its home page is adaptable to represent the company’s fun and innovative nature.
3. Relevant and appropriate
Lady Gaga may be able to rock that meat dress, but it doesn’t mean I could or should. Just as everyone has their style, so do businesses. Lego’s logo works well for them, but would it work for Amazon? Probably not.
A well-designed logo will work at a small size on a business card and super large on the side of a building. Fedex’s logo appears on all of it’s packages, vehicles and uniforms. Even at various sizes, the logo is easily recognizable.
Memorable logos often can be recognized without its accompanying wordmark. This five-year-old’s ability to name off a number of companies just by its logo shows how recognizable some brands are compared to others (and how a 5-year-old interprets them.)
A well-designed logo can stand the test of time and will continue to work well decades later. Timeless logos don’t employ the use of design trends that can easily make a logo look dated a few years down the road.
A logo’s uniqueness is important in setting it apart from those in its industry. There’s no mistaking Coca-Cola from Pepsi and the same can be said between GE and Maytag. Even in Chinese, the Coca-Cola logo still retains the recognizable quality and style of its English counterpart.
So there you have it — the seven factors to consider when embarking on your branding project. The next time you see a logo, you’ll understand why it works or doesn’t. What logos do you think are successful or fail completely? Please share your comments below. I’d love to hear what you think.
For more examples of logos, check out Brand New, a site that showcases examples of new brand identities and rebranded ones. Some of the rebranded identities are improvements, while others are not so much. The fun part is you can decide for yourself.