A logo is much more than just an image; it’s the foundation of a company’s brand. And while a well-designed logo can convey a lot of information about a business, the best logos are usually those that are simple in design.

There are numerous factors when it comes to designing the logo. Although all these factors are relevant in their own way and contribute to offer insight into the kind of logo that would suit a particular brand, considering too many factors tends to unnecessarily complicate the whole process.

What is the significance of a logo?

At its core, a logo should be easy to remember and recognize. A logo is not meant for communication. It does not tell a story and neither is it meant to deliver a message. A logo is quite simply for identification. It is a mark that sticks in your mind and helps you to relate to the particular brand in questions. All your feelings about the brand are attached to this mark in your mind like it’s the container for all your feelings about a brand. When you see this mark or logo on anything, it allows you to get in touch with those feelings, which allows you to experience emotions relating to particular brands.

Essentially, the less your logo says, the better because it is easy to remember, and then later replicated, allowing it to be super impressionable in your mind. In simple terms, the point of a logo is to endure. It is the first and usually only thing that a potential customer will know about your company, so it’s important to make sure that it makes the right impression.

What differentiates a good logo from a bad logo?

A good logo is one that is simple, to the point, and memorable. A bad logo is one that is too complicated, busy, or unoriginal. A great logo should be able to stand the test of time, and not become outdated as trends come and go.

A simple test to determine a good logo from a bad one is the test of time. A good logo doesn’t seek to impose itself but a silent silhouette forms a branding mark of the company. It is the recipient of all feelings associated with a brand name and forms a vessel to hold and improve brand equity.

A good logo is meant to brand itself onto time itself, so despite ownership changes, locations changes, or any changes really, the logo persists and reminds you of the company and its history.

What is the hallmark of a good logo?

A good logo, essentially, should have three main qualities to be long-lasting and impressionable.

These three key elements form the foundation of a good logo:

Appropriateness

A good logo must be appropriate for its intended purpose. It should be designed with a specific audience and purpose in mind, and it should communicate the right message about the brand. First and foremost, a logo should be appropriate. By thus, it does not mean that a logo has to be expressive or focus in on any one feeling. A logo must convey the right feelings, the right view, and, most appropriately, the right vibe or feeling.

Although, the most effective logos are those who focus on one feeling and communicate that to the consumer. Emotions play a powerful role in shaping brand perception and building up brand equity. A logo that tugs at the heartstrings is more likely to be remembered than one that is simply informative.

A good example to symbolize this concept is the logo for the brand Nike. Nike’s “swoosh” shape is one of the most distinct and recognizable logos in the world. On the flipside, it is one of the simplest. The Nike logo communicates speed, motion, and power. However, at its core, it symbolizes the need to just go for it without unnecessary thoughts, suggestions, and hesitancy in your decision. That is the appropriate vibe the Nike brand reinforces through all of its brand marketing.

Distinctive and memorable

A truly great logo should be both distinctive and memorable. It should be able to stand out from the crowd and be immediately recognizable. You want your logo to be minimalistic so that it is easy to remember but if it does not have anything distinctive and memorable, it will eventually end up fading away with time.

You want to have a logo that is uniquely synonymous with your brand but still different from everyone else in your product category. This does not necessarily mean more complications, but genuinely means just distinction. Finding that balance between distinction but yet being compact and simplistic is the challenge for anyone trying to design a logo.

A good example of a distinctive and memorable logo is the Apple logo. The bitten apple has become synonymous with the brand and is one of the most recognizable logos in the world.

Simple

A good logo should be simple enough that it can be remembered easily and reproduced without any distortions. The simpler a logo is, the more easily it can be printed on various materials and still look good.

This is why you see so many logos that are just text or have very simple images. A complicated logo might look good on a website or on a business card, but try printing it on a pen or putting it on the side of a van and you’ll see how quickly it starts to lose its appeal.

Keep it simple. This seems so easy to say but yet so difficult to practically achieve. In an effort to distinguish yourself or prove yourself, you might end up veering away from your intention to stay simple. Therefore, keeping your design simple has to be incorporated rather than it being a natural concept that you adopt. You need to consciously put strictly utilitarian in your approach to kind of limit yourself to using simple geometric shapes to achieve the logo that you desire.

How to keep things simple in today’s world? 

Few colors

Few colors

Source: Inkbot

One of the tricks that you can employ in keeping your design simple is using only a few colors. This will help you in a number of ways when it comes to both the design and production process of your logo. It’ll be much easier for you to produce consistent branding collateral if your logo is limited to just a few colors. And not to mention, it’ll also be less expensive for you to print.

Simple geometric shapes

Simple geometric shapes image

Source: Inkbot

When it comes to the shapes that you use in your logo, try to stick to basic geometric shapes. These are shapes that will be easy for people to remember and they’ll also help your logo stand the test of time. Simply recall some iconic logos. The Nike swoosh, for example, is just a simple curve. The McDonald’s Golden Arches are two half-circles. And the list goes on. The key aspect here is to simply not overcomplicate things. Keep your logo design simple and you’ll be able to create a timeless brand that will serve your business well for years to come.

Use Contrasting Colors 

Use Contrasting Colors  image

Source: ibmslab

Another important element of any good logo design is the use of color. The colors that you choose for your logo can say a lot about your brand. And, when used correctly, they can help your logo really stand out. When it comes to choosing colors for your logo, it’s important to create a contrast. That is, you want to choose two colors that are different enough from each other that they really pop. A common mistake that people make is using colors that are too similar. This doesn’t create enough contrast and, as a result, the colors end up muddying each other.

Keep It Scalable

When you’re designing your logo, it’s important to keep in mind that it will be used in a variety of different contexts and sizes. For this reason, you want to make sure that your logo is designed in a way that it can be easily scaled. A common mistake made by designers is creating a logo that looks great at one size but falls apart when it’s scaled down or up.

Case Studies

In order to further substantiate our point, lets take a few examples

National Geographic Logo

National Geographic Logo image

Source: Greyboxcreative

One of the most well known logos in the world, the National Geographic logo is a great example of a simple and effective design. The yellow rectangular border is immediately recognizable and acts as a great visual cue for the viewer. The wordmark itself is relatively simple but still conveys a sense of sophistication and authority.

The use of the yellow also has a significant purpose. At the time, National Geographic was the most associated brand with the color yellow, even more than Kodak. The rectangular shape is a nod to its roots, as it started outa as a magazine, and also serves as a very simolistic design with an efficient backstory.

The font, the typography, and even the spacing and alignment is very utilitarian and minimal, offering a flavor and vibe attached to the brand. Overall, the logo is meant to be read as one cohesive unit and should transition well from print to web to mobile.

Simplicity was key in the design of this logo as it needed to be easily recognizable and reproduce-able in many different contexts and applications. The use of only two colors also helps with this, as it can be printed even if only using one color ink. This was a crucial consideration given that National Geographic is a global brand with a very large reach.

The goal of the National Geographic logo was to create a timeless and iconic mark that conveyed trust, authority, and respect. And I think they definitely succeeded. Even today, over 100 years later, the logo is still relevant and respected. It has simply stood the steady test of time.

Nike Logo

Nike Logo image

Source: Complex

Another great example of a simple yet effective logo is Nike’s swoosh logo. Designed in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, the Nike swoosh has become one of the most iconic symbols in the world. It’s widely recognized and instantly recognizable, even when it’s used on its own without the company name.

The Nike swoosh conveys motion, speed, and power. It’s also very flexible and can be used in a variety of contexts. For example, it looks just as good on a pair of shoes as it does on a t-shirt or a hat.

What makes the Nike swoosh so successful is its simplicity. It’s a single line that conveys a lot of meaning. And because it’s so simple, it can be easily reproduced, which is important for a company with such widespread reach.

Google Logo

Google Logo image

Source: Wallpaper

Another great example of a simple logo is Google’s logo. The current version was designed by Ruth Kedar in 2015 and features a wordmark (the company name in text) and a simple icon (the multicolored “G”).

The Google logo is simple, yet effective. The wordmark conveys the company’s name, while the icon is immediately recognizable and has come to represent the company as a whole. From teh colors to the typography, everything about the logo is carefully considered and purposeful.

The most iconic and memorable logos are simple and memorable. Google’s logo is both of those things, and it’s also something that can be easily reproduced across various mediums. That’s important for a company with such widespread reach.

Simplicity is key when it comes to creating a good logo. A logo should be easy to reproduce, recognizable, and should convey the essence of the company it represents. Google’s logo hits all of these marks, making it one of the best examples out there.

Apple

Source: Indiaheadnews

While Google’s logo is all about simplicity, Apple’s logo is a little more complex. But that doesn’t make it any less effective. The Apple logo is one of the most recognizable in the world, and it has become synonymous with the company itself.

The logo features a simple silhouette of an apple with a bite taken out of it. The meaning behind this is up for interpretation, but some say that it represents knowledge (the bitten apple) and others say that it represents the original sin (the act of taking a bite out of the apple). Either way, it’s a clever and memorable logo that perfectly represents the company it belongs to.

From the font to the contrasting colors, there are many things that make the Apple logo so iconic and effective. But at its core, the logo is simple and that’s what makes it so powerful.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with images and information, simplicity is key. A complex logo will only serve to confuse and alienate potential customers. Keep it simple and you’ll create a logo that people will remember and associate with your brand.

Conclusion

Some of the world’s most famous brands have some of the world’s most simple logos. This is a fact. Why is that? Maybe it is because a simple logo is easy to remember, or maybe it is because a simple logo can be very versatile. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that simplicity works when it comes to logos. So if you want to create a logo that people will remember, keep it clean and uncomplicated.

Contrary to popular belief, reigning in your creative thoughts and keeping your designs simplistic is not as easy as it seems. Agencies like Pixel Street take several steps and numerous revisits to ensure that their designs are as simple as possible. If you any further thoughts on this, feel free to contact us

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Khurshid Alam
Founder

Khurshid Alam is the founder of Pixel Street, a web design company. He aspires to solve business problems by communicating effectively digitally. In his leisure, he reads, writes, and occasionally plays a game of table tennis.