I have a slight obsession with logos. Not all logos of course, just the really clever, witty ones. The ones I like best are a little bit quirky and often have an emotional element. Well designed logos send good, clear messages that accurately portray the product or company. A really good logo captures the essence of an idea and wraps it up neatly into a small but effective parcel. I think this is what appeals to me.
People have different tastes, so I know that you and I may not like the same things, but I wondered if you have ever given any thought to all the considerations that go into logo design?
Types of logos
Logos that are made from words, for example the Coca Cola logo, are more accurately described as wordmarks or logotypes. These text only logos are some of the most famous and recognisable logos in the world.
Combination marks are where the designer has used the name of the product/company or organisation and combined this with a symbol or icon. An example of this is the McDonalds logo, which I won’t reproduce here for obvious reasons! This elegant logo for a wine company is a lovely example of a combination mark.
The third type of logos contain just symbols or icons. Famous examples include the Apple logo and the World Wildlife Fund’s iconic panda. I think most people in the world would recognise this distinctive logo.
What makes a good logo?
Not only must the design capture the essence of the organisation or product, it needs to be able to be used in a variety of settings. For example, a logo that looks effective on a letterhead, may need to look as smart on the side of a truck. For this reason, logo designers need to know about typography, print production, digital imaging and graphic design. It’s not enough to have a logo that works on a computer screen but nowhere else, unless that’s the only place it will ever be seen.
Another consideration is that the logo may need to be reproduced in black and white, so it needs to be reasonably simple and preferably distinctive, instantly recognisable and memorable.
Finally, a good logo should be timeless. The last thing a company wants to do is to keep changing their logo. A major re-branding can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars (if not millions) so companies really needs to choose their logo carefully.
You may not be in the business of designing or choosing logos, but I think that paying attention to how a business chooses to represent themselves is both fascinating and illuminating.
If you are interested in learning more about logo design, there are many websites and books you can read. My favourite is David Airey’s Logo Love Design.