Logos are everywhere.  We see them on our social media threads, we wear them on our clothes, and we see them when we’re driving down the street.  They are even on our bars of soap!  You can’t escape logos, but you can decide whether you like them or not.

The difference between a good logo and a bad one boils down to four characteristics and one big idea.  All logos must stand the test of time.  A company needs its logo to quickly state the identity as well as stand out from the competition.  The basic structure of a logo is determined by the choice of typeface, color, quickness, and relevance.  The success depends on how timeless it is.

Typeface

The typeface (or font) is the most important element of most logos.  It is the quickest way for people to identify a company.  When choosing a typeface the designer needs to think about all the different places the logo will be seen: on a screen, on a sign, on a business card, etc.  In the world of typefaces there may not always be a right answer but there are definitely some wrong answers. Check out this list of fonts not to use.

Color

Color is the personality of a logo. First, a logo has to structurally look good in just black and white, then the designer gets to have fun adding color. There’s also a ton of psychology involved when thinking about color. A color can create a very strong first impression from people so it’s important to be aware what feelings color can evoke. Check out this infographic explaining the basics of color theory.

Quickness

This is the part of the logo that should embrace the idea, “less is more.” Let people engage with your logo, you don’t have to spell it out too much. Giving a strong, and minimal visual can have a longer lasting effect than a literal icon or image of what your company stands for.

Relevance

This seems obvious but it’s trickier than you might think.  Sometimes what you personally think is awesome isn’t quite as awesome to your audience.  It might help to imagine that a logo represents both the company and the audience, it needs to speak to the services and mission of the company as well as the interests and needs of the consumer.

Strong brands become a part of many people’s lives.  Whether it’s your favorite band, a vintage soda company, or an auto manufacturer, these classic icons have the ability to transport you to a particular place or time.  Since logos act as the shorthand to this much broader concept, it’s worth dedicating the time to craft a good one.

About The Author

While born and raised in Richmond, designer and brand strategist Lloyd Young traveled to Olympia, Washington’s Evergreen State College for a photography degree. After working professionally in New York, she returned to Richmond, attended graduate school at VCU for interior architecture, and then had her “ah-ha” moment. It was the images and branding that moved her – not always the process. Over a few years of freelance work, she connected with several Fortune 500 companies through projects with The Mom Complex and Richmond’s Martin Agency. To keep fresh, she designs a logo a day (check out her instagram, @logoperday). She’s a parent to Paco, a loving pit bull mix, a friend to all whales, and sworn enemy to all jellyfish. And, yes, Lloyd is a girl’s name.
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