Logos are a powerful element of every company’s branding. As soon as you spot a popular logo — such as the golden arches of McDonald’s or the apple for Apple products — you instantly connect it with the brand. But logo design isn’t just about choosing a symbol or font for your business name. Though most logos appear simple on the surface, it takes a true artist to create an effective logo design for a brand. Learn more about logo design as an art form below.
Logo design is a fairly new field. Prior to the 1800s, most companies weren’t branded. Some of the earliest logos used distinctive marks to tie the product to the maker. Through the 1800s, logos began to take shape and become more complex. By the 1900s, trademarking began, and companies started to establish their corporate identities for the first time. Over the 50-year period between 1930 and 1980, logo designers emerged to create principles of logo design that are still in practice today.
Today, logo design is much more complex than it appears. Logos must be simple enough that they’re recognizable at a glance but complex enough to communicate a message. Not only do designers strive for simplicity, but they must also design with flexibility in mind so that the logo can adapt to any type of media — both online and off — as well as remain effective over time.
What Makes a Logo Effective?
When we talk about effective logos, what exactly do we mean? Well, the main purpose of a logo is to identify a brand. That means it must be immediately recognizable but also unique to the logos of competitors. Logos are also meant to communicate. Proper use of colors, texts, and symbols can elicit certain emotional responses in consumers, so you’ll want your logo to connect with the emotions of your brand.
But remember what the great designer Paul Rand once said: “A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it represents is more important than what it looks like.”
Does the computer company Apple have anything to do with the fruit? Of course not, but its name and business logo instantly communicate quality tech products.
How to Communicate Through Logo Design
One of the challenges of logo design is being able to cut the design down to the basics while still being able to communicate everything the company is about. If you can represent a company through a logo at any size and in any color, then you’re on the right track.
Logo designers use a range of techniques to communicate the proper messages they want the logo to represent. Several principles used in custom logo design include:
- Color: While a good logo design can be stripped of color and still be recognizable, color plays a vital role in communication. For example, blue logos like Facebook or Visa communicate trust and strength. Red logos like Coca-Cola or Kellogg’s can stimulate appetite, which is why the color is popular for restaurants.
- Shape: Like how people respond to colors, they also respond to shapes. Circle or oval logos communicate positivity and community. Squares and triangles suggest stability. Vertical lines may appear masculine while horizontal lines suggest tranquility.
- Font: The right font choices also have an impact on the message your logo communicates. Swirly letters tend to have a more feminine vibe. Bold, uppercase letters show strength. Handwritten fonts give a childish vibe, which is great for toy stores or children’s clothing stores.
All of these elements can be combined in unique ways to communicate a brand message, and the logo artists know how to do it!
With these ideas in mind, you should have a better understanding of what to look for when you move forward with your custom logo design or redesign. Be sure to work with a designer who values the art of logo design and can answer any of your questions about the points above. While the logo may be less important than your product or service, it’s the way that product or service will be represented to the masses, and that deserves a certain level of importance.