Marks of a Great Logo   |   July 10, 2013

The M Group Logo Brand PositioningWe’re all familiar with the logos that are adored as icons by graphic designers and marketers alike: the Nike swoosh, the NBC peacock, and the Target bullseye, among others. Although it can be easy to think of this caliber of logo as an unattainable gold standard, it turns out that the same qualities which make big brand logos iconic are the same things you should look for when thinking about a logo design for any business, no matter how small or large.

Here are a few of the qualities that make great logos unforgettable.

Great logos are distinctive.

A great logo sticks in the audience’s mind and sets the brand apart visually from its competitors. Brands that attempt to mimic pre-existing logos, no matter how great, don’t do their company any service.

The M Group Brand Positioning LogoOne example of imitation gone wrong is the ever-present competition between Pepsi and Coke. Coca-Cola has had almost exactly the same logo since their founding in 1885. Their classic, swirling typography was mimicked by Pepsi-Cola’s first logo, debuted in 1898. Over time, their logo became more and more like the Coke logo, but this copycat design did little for their brand. When Pepsi finally switched to a more unique circular logo in 1962, they saw a major increase in sales of their soda.

Great logos are timeless.

The logos that survive the years intact, with only minor tweaks, are those that don’t tie themselves too closely to the specific trends of a particular decade.  If a particular font or quirky color palette seems cutting edge and “of-the-moment”, it will likely feel cheap and outdated five years down the road.

Great logos are versatile.

The most beautifully designed logo won’t do you any good if it’s not usable in real-world applications. The best logos work just as well blown up on a billboard as they do in the corner of a business card or embroidered on a company polo. In order for a logo serve its purpose effectively, it should translate seamlessly to any print or web application.

Great logos are simple.

Iconic logos are rarely the detailed, elaborate ones. They’re stripped down to the bare minimum for striking simplicity. You’ll notice that they generally use one or two colors and simple, clean outlines. This simplicity is a key factor in determining the timelessness and versatility of a logo.

Of course, creating a logo that is simple enough to be both timeless and versatile while still being distinctive enough to communicate your brand’s essence is no easy feat. This is why it’s essential to choose a design partner with the experience and know-how to deliver a logo that’s up to task.

Does your logo live up to these standards? If not, have you thought about a brand refresh to update your logo and improve your brand positioning?