Logo Design: The good the bad and the ugly

Good, bad and ugly logo design

The golden arches. The half-eaten apple. That ubiquitous “swoosh”. Universally recognisable, these logos tell a story without even needing words. How do tiny images or symbols come to hold so much significance? Whether you’re a micro business or a multinational corporation, the Do’s and Don’ts of logo design are the same. When it comes to buying the time of a professional graphic designer to create a bespoke logo for your business, it’s essential to make an educated and relevant choice.

Not all designers were created equal, some designers have their own sense of style which might not be suitable for what you want to achieve. It’s up to you to work out what’s best for your brand. However, there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to logo design, According to renowned graphic designer David Airey,

A  logo must be describable
A  logo must be memorable
A  logo must be effective without colour
A  logo must be scalable i.e. effective when just an inch in size

Aside form these helpful rules there are other considerations

Looks aren’t everything
There’s nothing wrong in wanting a logo that looks pretty, but you might have to make some difficult decisions when your find out further down the line that your logo looks pretty but doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t tell people what you do or catches the attention of the wrong audience.

It’s trendy to be trendy trends move on.
Logos that follow trends might help you stand out in the short term or bring traffic/customers/social media followers to your door in the early days – but be wary of blending in too much, or worse, failing to be memorable when the trend inevitably moves on – you have to move on with it.

Sometimes, change is good
We’ve all seen the embarrassing baby photos of Microsoft, Apple and Google’s old logos, laughing to ourselves at the old-school fonts or bad colour combinations. That’s okay because it teaches us that sometimes, change is good. Logos can – and should – evolve over time to represent the brand you’ve evolved into. 

Imitation is sincerely not a form of flattery
It’s fine to be inspired by others, to want to capture some essence of their branding in yours but that’s as far as it should go. Plagiarism is a criminal offence and can land your business in hot water before it’s even begun. Plus, the best logos in our opinion are ones that have a sense of individuality and purpose – they do the talking for all of the right reasons.

Be mindful of hiring a professional to bring your vision to life
A quick sketch, a couple of hours on Photoshop and a few tweaks here and there isn’t what makes a logo. Research, collaboration, creativity and experimentation are. Playing around with white and dark space, font styles and colour is how to create something memorable and on-brand. Making sure the technicalities of creating a logo are right too (like saving them in high-resolution formats or designing the basics as a vector file so they can be easily edited or changed) is extremely important.

Nobody knows more about your business than you do, so it’s a good idea to have a design brief – not just for your graphic designer’s sake, but yours too. Once you start getting initial logo concept ideas from your designer, ask questions and conduct research to make sure your logo is creating the right impression of your business. Allow your thoughts to mature and come back each time with renewed enthusiasm before deciding on your final logo design.