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Effective Logos: Some Basic Requirements

Sometimes what we think is a clever or beautiful brand identity, can actually cause problems down the road because the logo is not effective – it’s hard to read, has a confusing concept, or is difficult to reproduce.

1. Clarity

The design and concept behind a logo must be recognizable in a myriad of different conditions – on both light and dark backgrounds, look good at a small and large size, and be readable in an instant. A logo can be misinterpreted and/or ignored if it is not straightforward and distinct. How can people tell their friends about the company if they can’t read the name or recognize the graphic in the logo? Beware of low-contrast color palettes, intertwining shapes, and altered fonts. The logo must be easy to read, the graphics recognizable, and be quickly identifiable at a distance or small size.

2. Unique but Relevant Logos

No company is marketing itself in a vacuum. When creating a logo to represent a brand, it must distinguish itself from the competitors and be mindful of trends within the industry. Of course it’s also very necessary not to be so unique that your customers are confused as to how your brand relates to your product.

For example, if your company was a day spa and your main concern was to stand out amongst your competition, you might be tempted to do something with electric colors and bold shapes since the industry trend is toward soft lines and gentle colors. However, people don’t go to a day spa looking for an aggressive, jolting experience. You want to make sure that if one of your main goals is stand out, you still communicate the experience your customer should expect when coming into contact with your company.

3. Ease of Reproduction

A logos use of color is very important because it may not always be seen in full color. A good logo design is impactful and comprehensible whether it’s in full color or in black and white. For example if a logo requires 6 colors to be effective, getting T-shirts silk-screened will be very expensive and the logo will be useless in faxes. Color gradients can also be an issue for reproduction process such as sign production or printing on marketing give-aways (pens, mugs, etc.). If the logo involves a color gradient it’s important to have a version of the logo without the gradient that is still effective and attractive.

Photo: Creative Commons License, Flickr user: Thierry


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