What Separates Good Logos From Bad Logos?

by Emily Retherford

2 min read

Your company logo is critically important in establishing the brand identity of your business. It is the first image, and therefore message, most consumers receive about the brand you’re building. The logo you choose to represent your company conveys definitive messages to the general public. While individual preferences may differ, certain design choices and methods of execution can make all the difference between a good logo and a bad logo. The ultimate goal for every business is to draw in customers and generate a profit, and a well-designed and executed logo is a key step in getting customers to patronize your company.

Essentials of an Effective Logo

There are certain elements that a logo must have to be effective; it must be simple, recognizable, and memorable. Simplicity is the cornerstone of this trifecta because it affects memorability, recognition, and the logo as a whole. The first thing to keep in mind is that many consumers have limited time exposure to your logo, whether flipping through a magazine or driving by a sign. A simple logo is easy for the consumer to see, identify, and remember. Logos that have too many colours, features, and words are confusing to the eye and are less likely to compute efficiently in the viewer’s mind.

This blends into the second piece of the trifecta: recognizability. The more simple a logo, the easier it is for consumers to discern what they are looking at; for example, consider the McDonald’s logo. A golden “M” on a traditional red background is simplistic and easy to recognise; a hungry driver will quickly detect the simple, trademark colour combination and instantly recognise the sign or advertisement is indicating a McDonald’s is nearby. The final piece of the trifecta is memorability, and a good logo must have the other two elements in place to accomplish this; beyond that, aim for a logo design that is visually striking in some way.

A truly great logo that combines all of these elements is timeless, and therefore versatile. Consider Coca Cola’s trademark red and white script font. The company’s basic logo hasn’t been changed since its inception; it is easy to spot and understand, and its simple construction has enabled it to stay relevant for more than 100 years.

Where Bad Logos Miss the Mark

A bad logo usually includes aspects, or design flaws, that negate the three essential elements of a good logo. Avoid using complicated fonts that are difficult to read or pack in too much text that is hard for the eye to follow and the brain to remember. Colour is another area where many logos struggle. Skip colour palettes with too many bright or aggressive colours, or colours that do not complement one another. Multiple bright colours clash and disperse the eye’s attention. Also, a logo that has too much going on in general conveys a message to consumers that you are trying too hard to get their attention.

References & Resources

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