5 tips on creating a good logo

Coca-ColaImage via Wikipedia

It's hard to over-estimate the importance of a good logo.  When they're done well — they can become shorthand for your entire brand or company.  Sadly, most logos never achieve that status because they're not well executed.

If you're in the market for a new logo or want to evaluate the one you're currently using, here are 5 golden rules to follow.

Your logo should be very simple — remember it has to work in very small and very large sizes.

Many logos are designed by committee.  And everyone wants to add one more element, thinking that the logo has to tell the company's whole story.  In truth, your logo should clean and simple.  It doesn't have to tell your story — it has to become a symbol for your story.

Your logo needs to work in just black and white.

Think of all the places a logo appears in black/white or just one color.  It must be designed to work in those situations.  In fact, you should view all of your logo design options in black and white and not add color until the final logo is chosen.  If color is introduced too soon, it can influence your decision for the wrong reasons.  If it doesn't work in black and white, color won't help it.

Your logo should not include elements that would be considered trite.

Have a business in Colorado?  Do not have mountains in your logo.  Run a business in Texas?  Do not use the outline of your state in your logo.  Other trite images?  Globes, a for sale sign and scales of justice.  If several other people in your industry already use a certain image — then you should not.  Does Claire's Hair Salon really need to show me a pair of scissors?  I don't think so.  Trite = forgettable.

Do not use ordinary colors.  Unless your company is ordinary.

There are literally thousands of colors to choose from.  Go to an art store and ask to see a Pantone Book.  You want the color/colors that convey the essence/emotions of your brand.  Color can be incredibly subtle and connotative.  Use that to your advantage.

Don't get too trendy.  A logo should be relatively evergreen.

When you design a logo — it's for the long haul.  So avoid trendy fonts and colors.  Think long-term.  You want to avoid the standard fonts but you also want something that is going to stand the test of time.

All of this logo talk making you wish you had a new one?  Or had one?  Well, stay tuned.  On Saturday, I'm going to announce how one lucky reader will win a new logo design for their company. 


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39 comments on “5 tips on creating a good logo

  1. Wayne Liew says:

    This blog post is definitely useful for business owners who want to brand their business better. Often times, a good business model or branding strategy is crushed due to a bad logo.

    Although it is not a must for success, it will definitely help.

  2. Chris O says:


    Very useful blog. I’d be interested to know what you think of our logo.


    Chris O.
    Referral Key
    “Your Trusted Referral Network”

  3. Justin Brady says:

    These are great points that need to be addressed when creating logos. Two other logos tips would be staying away from shading so your logo can be represented in small areas, and of course, future looking if you ever will have a need to die cut your logo (Punch Out) out of paper.

    I like your point about not including elements that could be considered trite, however, it is important to point out that there are many exceptions to this rule.

    One more thing concerning not being to trendy: You mention that logos should stand the Test of Time. Thanks for the plug, wink wink.

  4. Justin Brady says:

    sorry about my spelling errors above. Oops.

  5. *Looks around the office* Okay I give. Where did you stash the camera?

    In all seriousness this comes at a great time. A friend of mine is starting her own non-profit and was in the market for a new logo. Thank you for helping me to look smart!

  6. Nick says:

    Oh the time I have spent trying to come up with a logo or header for my site. Now that I have read this post I think I need to go back a do some redesign with it. Especially in light off it needing to work in black and white.

  7. Wayne,

    A good logo is one of a company’s most powerful tools. You’re right about that.


  8. Hey Chris,

    Well keep in mind, I am making a snap judgment and don’t know very much about your company….but I would have experimenting with leaving the little person out of the logo. (And maybe you did)

    I can imagine the logo gets a little cumbersome and you lose some detail when you have to shrink it down.

    That’s my 2 cents anyway.


  9. Justin,

    Thanks for adding the additional tips. In terms of being able to pull off trite elements — in most cases, the exceptions are large companies that have the money to custom create the art so it has its own look and feel.

    But, for people who would be considering using HP’s MarketSplash or Logo Inn need to guard against going with the easy solution.


  10. Steve,

    Brilliantly written…and I could not agree more!


  11. Pam,

    Glad to help you look wise. And be sure to tell your friend about this contest: http://doiop.com/34198h


  12. Nick,

    Come back and let us know how your tweaking went!


  13. Coca cola is leading brand than pepsi, so taste is not only the secret to success for coca cola promotion. Brand and design have a good impact.

  14. A company’s logo is a rich opportunity for communicating both the substance and the essence of a company.

    That’s why doing it right matters so much.


  15. dot us says:

    Basically every company must target to design an eye catching business logo, otherwise customers may be focused by competitors. Anyway this guide is very useful to redesign my business logo.

  16. Brela,

    I suppose the main factor is that your logo accurately captures both the core intention and spirit of your company. In other words…it gives us hints in terms of what you do and why you do it.

    Combine that with the functional advice above and you should be in decent shape.


  17. Kyle,

    Your logo design/selection shouldn’t depend on where you are going to use the logo. So whether you use it on traditional business cards or a website — the rules stay the same.

    Make sure your logo fits/works for your business, not where you’re going to put it and you’ll be in good shape.


  18. Hey those are cool tips. Logo does make a difference in any company’s success and your tips are good. I hope any marketing head reads it and gives his input. I feel logos should not tell the history but something about the main goal of the company. Like Coca Cola is the brand name and their product is Cola.

  19. Night Clubs says:

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  20. Kenny says:

    Thanks for this great blog. I have bookmarked it because I design logo’s and I found this information fantastic and hopefully it will improve my work in future.

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  21. brainstrom says:

    I like your point about not including elements that could be considered trite, however, it is important to point out that there are many exceptions to this rule.

  22. I agree, but “evergreens” are the most difficult to achieve, don’t you think ?

  23. Exactly.. As u said, the simplicity of the logo makes it all the more important. Cos if its seen anywhere, its important that people recognize it. The more elements you add into it, the less recognizable it becomes!

  24. Johnz says:

    This is truly a supertip to give to everyone who’s looking for the right logo, good job!

  25. Tattoo Paper says:

    Some very good advice. I think the most important thing to remember, which you have noted first, is to keep it simple. Remember that you will no doubt print your logo on a whole range of target media such as web images, signs, stationary, stickers. It is best to keep it simple and rememberable.

  26. Its always good to learn tips like you share for blog posting. As I just started posting comments for blog and facing problem of lots of rejections. I think your suggestion would be helpful for me. I will let you know if its work for me too.

  27. Not sure that i agree entirely but i find all commentaries very insightful. I will check on this site again soon!

    1. Gerald,

      I’m good with you not agreeing. After all, if you always agreed with me 100% — what would we have to talk about?


  28. yeah i actually agree with you 100% here, a businesses logo need to make a statement and have an impact. you only get 1 first impression and you have to make that count. it’s a mistake many small businesses make to only get a text/font logo and one that can cost them dearly

  29. Yes, I definitely agree with the article. Indeed one of the best ways to capture your clients is to have a good looking logo. Never underestimate the power of the eye to capture the mind and heart.

  30. An attractive logo is one basic factor to generate clients. But we have to take prime consideration an honest to goodness product offered to our clients to have them stay with the company.

  31. When you want advertise something, you do not forget that you are getting people to see your products. One of the best ways to practice is have a good logo.

  32. Almost inspires me to get off my plain and get moving too.

  33. Hack says:

    light to the issues that most affect this great nation of ours. God Bless.

  34. Agreed that a logo should be evergreen. And also rebranding and creating a new logo is a very costly affair.

  35. kennels says:

    I was looking for crucial information on this subject. The information was important as I am about to launch my own portal.

  36. Creative thought, is what I am here for, and I truly appreciate the passion and insight others have for their teams.

  37. Thats true you know what you are talking about! Your site look is beautiful and easy to navigate.

  38. johnny says:

    Thanks for the making tips. It is a very useful information. I really appreciate the fact that you approach these topics from a stand point of knowledge and information. Please keep on posting.

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