Branding is the single most important thing a business must take into consideration.  Without strong branding, a company selling a great product, is likely to fail.  Solid branding is driven by a strong, clear logo that represents a company in many different contexts, and still gets the message across.

There are a few key elements that make a great logo.

First of all, a great logo design starts with a great concept.  Many clients have a concept in mind when they approach a graphic designer, but it might be a weak idea, and they need to be coached gently.  Telling a client that their idea is bad will just insult them.  Explaining the importance of brand identity, and offering a few stronger choices will hopefully help them understand that they are hiring a designer for expertise as well as design capabilities.

A client may have a favourite animal or colour, but they must realize that regardless of how much they love turtles, it has no place in their electronics store logo.  It is the job of a graphic designer to guide the client into making good decisions about their branding.

A logo must represent a company accurately, favourably and easily.  It must do this in print and on the web.  Whether it is placed on the side of a moving bus in full colour, or etched onto a ballpoint pen, it must relay the same message.  If a person can’t understand a logo within two seconds of seeing it, they won’t bother at all.

A good logo must use a font that is clear, easily readable, and represents the company accurately.  For instance, you likely wouldn’t use a cursive font on a logo for a mechanic shop.  Choosing a font that isn’t too trendy is also very important, since certain fonts like Papyrus become popular and are therefor overused and recognizable.  Using a recognizable font allows a business to be associated with everything that font represents, instead of the business itself.  Alas, that trendy font becomes untrendy at some point, leaving a logo visibly dated, and tacked to a certain point in time.

You may not realize it, but a good graphic designer spends time spacing the individual letters of a logo, so that the words please the eye and are instantly readable.

A well-crafted logo does not use gradient colours, drop shadows, or any other photo effect that can be achieved using Photoshop.  In fact, a logo should never include graphical elements like images, or parts photographs.  Instead, solid shapes and colours are created in a striking composition that clearly relays the company’s message.  White space is just as important as coloured space, and a good logo has the right amount of white space to make it clear and readable.  All of this, without looking like clipart!

Finally, colour is important.  A logo should be designed with as few colours as possible, and while there are many great logos out there that break this rule, using less colour is a good rule of thumb.  A logo needs to be clear on both a white and black background, and needs to be recognizable in both greyscale and monotone.  If a logo can’t be placed on a black and white photocopy without losing meaning, it has not been designed properly.

If you’re an aspiring or new designer, I hope this information helped you understand the world of branding a little bit more.  If you’re someone in need of a successful logo, remember that the concept you choose will become your identity for the lifetime of your business, and it needs to be strong.  Trust the advice your graphic designer gives you.  After all, that’s why you hired us!