Designing a logo is no easy task, whether you're designing for a new company or reworking the symbol of an established brand.
Great logos make a company stand out while reinforcing their mission and appealing to their target clients. If you want to be known for your impressive logo designs, be sure you’re following these important guidelines.
Building a New Brand
1. Create a Timeless Look
One of the most successful, lasting and inspiring brand graphics is the "I Heart NY" logo created by Milton Glaser in the 1970s. From coffee cups to billboards, it's endearing message has motivated massive numbers of sales. It's simplistic and doesn't have any particular era attached to it, which makes it timeless and ever-current.
2. Reflect Your Brand, Not Your Industry
Apple's famous logo isn't a computer; it's instead a piece of fruit that has been bitten into. Twitter isn't a mini-post, rather it's a bird with an open mouth. Both of these highly successful images support the brands without incorporating obvious industry elements. This is important when it comes to standing out against the competition.
3. Aim for Versatility and Scalability
Successful businesses use their logos in all kinds of ways, on bumper stickers and stenciled on office doors. Logos are often featured on all of the company's products, on the website, letterheads and business cards and even on billboards.
While Apple's logo has been a semi-eaten apple almost since the company's conception, the first logo was an intricate illustration of Sir Isaac Newton's fabled discovery of gravity. Unfortunately, you couldn't really tell what it was from a few feet away, and thus it was tossed aside as being too busy. Remember, simplicity is key.
Preserving an Established Reputation
1. Stay Low-key
If Yahoo!'s new, redesigned logo had popped up by surprise, the feedback might have been positive. Unfortunately the company made a big to-do over what turned out to be very small changes to the previous logo. It didn't take bloggers long to turn it into a metaphor for the company's less-than-impressive actions over the last few years. Twitter had similar adjustments made to its logo and few people criticized the move. What was the difference? Twitter didn't make the modification such a big deal.
2. Work with Your Target Market
JCPenney's sales dropped after a re-branding effort in 2012, complete with the release of a logo it claimed supported American-made goods and prices that ensured customers were getting a "square deal." It turns out that JCP customers are not bargain shoppers. They didn't gel with the new logo, so the company moved on–-from the design and the designer.
3. Provide Continuity
Microsoft has made stark changes to its designs over the last 40 years, but one thing has always stayed the same. Look closely and you will see that the letters F and T are always connected. Starbucks had gone through major logo changes as well, but it has stuck closely to its mermaid design, stating in 2011 that its signature siren was well known enough to speak for the brand all by herself. Familiarity breeds friendship, and, ultimately, sales.
These marketing methods can keep a brand fresh while retaining the company's current fan base. At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division, our Graphic Design (AS) and (BS) degree programs include courses such as Corporate Identity and Graphic Symbolism, both of which allow you to learn more about brand imaging techniques.
- PCMag.com: Yahoo! and 10 Other Controversial Logo Changes
- Inc.Com: Characteristics of Great Logo Design
- Smashing Magazine: Vital Tips for Effective Logo Design
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