Branding 101: 4 Essentials For a Good Logo

April 24, 2015

You’ve got a product or service to market, and you want to represent your business, so you’re looking for a logo. But what makes a good logo? Is it the font, spacing, or the color, or is it something more simple? Here we’ve included some info about what makes a good logo.

A logo isn’t used to sell or describe – a logo is used to identify.

Classic Nike Swoosh image

Example of the iconic Nike Swoosh

One of the most iconic logos of all time is the Nike Swoosh. To an alien, the Nike Swoosh wouldn’t look anything like athletic shoes, but to us humans, we immediately recognize it and know it means Nike. Why do we recognize this so quickly? What is it about a Swoosh that screams a multi-billion dollar athletic company? It’s because we’re exposed to it everywhere – Nike is a company with thousands of retail outlets and millions of customers – it has cultural status. Your small business probably doesn’t have the cultural capital or history Nike does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great brand that your current and future clients instantly identify. ‘

So what can we learn from the Swoosh? Quite a few things, actually.

A logo should be impactful so your brand doesn’t get mixed in and lost with all your competitors.

Classic yellow Nirvana logo with smiley

Logo for band Nirvana

This winning logo, of the band Nirvana, combines a strong, readable font choice with a graphic that communicates something about the brand’s attitudes and culture.

A logo should be simple; too many elements is confusing to clients and will take longer to process without being memorable, which can make building brand loyalty more difficult.

Logo of Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics logo

Consistent, clear, and easy-to-remember and recognize – it’s that comics company. The color and font are the identifiers here – there’s nothing in the logo that looks like a comic book. If your logo doesn’t has visual representation of your product or service, great! If not, that’s fine too!

A logo should be versatile, to attract a diverse client base.

Calvin Klein logo

Classic Calvin Klein logo

The understated Calvin Klein logo’s lack of character lets it represent the always-changing styles, attitudes, and price levels of clothing the brand creates in a timeless manner that won’t be out of place anywhere.

Finally, a logo should be relevant. You want your logo to build trust in consumers, so they know that you know what you’re doing

Logo of Major League Baseball

Identifiable Major League Baseball logo

The baseball imagery establishes the focus of this sports league, while the color scheme brings to mind the status of baseball as the All-American sport.

You worked hard to build your business, but often it’s the basic things like a logo that get all the credit. That’s okay! Your logo can still convey your brand’s value and the hard work that you’ve put into it. But a business needs customers, and most of the time, customers are drawn not to the business, but to the brand: more specifically, to the logo. A logo builds your brand. A good logo makes a good first impression for your brand, and it communicates in a way words alone can’t!