Think of your favorite brands. What comes to mind first? Maybe something you own from them, or a memorable advertisement?
Whether or not it’s your first thought, chances are high that you pictured a company logo in the mental process.
It’s important that companies put time and effort into crafting the perfect logo. They are so much more than just a pretty design – logos are strategic and take on the identity of the brand that they are representing. Each aspect of a design is crucial in ensuring that a logo attracts / portrays who and what the company is targeting.
So, what makes a good logo? A few powerhouse examples to look at are brands like Nike, the Olympics, Apple and McDonalds.
Nike’s “Swoosh” is one of the most iconic logos to date, and it exemplifies several elements that are crucial to a memorable logo. Here is a breakdown of three major elements that we factor into every logo we create at Aventive Studio, using the Nike Swoosh as a guide:
When it comes to logo design, less is more. While minimalism and simplicity have been the overall design trends in the past few years, keeping a logo design simple has been a best practice throughout time.
This is because simplicity is recognizable and easy on the cognitive mind. A more complex logo takes time for the mind to process, leaving less room for emotional attachment. But with a simple logo, both the conscious and the subconscious can quickly soak in the information, making it easy to recall at any given time. This is key for brands! When a mind easily attaches to a logo, sentiment comes into play – and people buy sentiment.
For Nike, the Swoosh was originally paired with the company name for a clean, simple logo. As they became a household brand, they were able to take it one step further in 1995, when they removed the name and let the Swoosh stand alone. They no longer needed “Nike” to remain recognizable, because the sentiment was tied to the Swoosh.
Another benefit of simplicity is that your logo retains its detail, no matter what medium you use it on. Keep in mind that logos tend to be replicated in a variety of places, so the more intricate a design gets, the higher the chances of losing fine details here and there.
Whether it’s subliminal or not, a logo should reflect an aspect of your brand in some way. Your customers don’t need to know exactly what your company does based on your logo, but it’s still important to remain conscious of how your logo is portrayed. Is it confusing to look at, or difficult to read? Does it closely represent any other logo, or does it mislead consumers into confusion?
The original idea for Nike’s Swoosh, designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971, was meant to imply movement and speed. Very subtle, yet very much on-brand with the company. And even while remaining relevant to their industry, the Swoosh did not tie Nike down to one area of product.
There’s a fine line between being too similar to your competitors, and being too indistinct from your industry. For example: if your company manufactures cute baby dolls, you don’t want your logo to include a horror movie font. For this reason, it’s okay to share some general design elements with your competitors so that consumers can quickly associate you with the appropriate industry.
If there is the slightest chance that your company will branch out into any other sort of industry (or even a different area of your original industry), your logo should be designed in a way that won’t hinder your ability to scale and expand in the future.
3. Design Elements
The psychological effects of shape, linework, color, size, and spacing also impact logo design. By knowing the basics of this psychology, your company can quickly narrow down some of the big design decisions. For example, every color evokes a particular response in people. And each color can essentially be categorized into two feelings: warm or cold.
Warmer colors, such as reds and yellows, are tied to brands that grab attention with high energy, positivity and vitality. Colder colors, such as blues and greens, are associated with brands that rest calmly in security, dependability and sophistication. Once you evaluate which emotions your brand should portray, you can decide on a color scheme that expresses those emotions.
Nike originally took on a red and white logo design – evoking energy, passion and charm – but later changed to its sleeker black and white design after the company established itself as an industry leader. Today, that same Nike Swoosh is printed on a variety of materials and platforms in almost every color.
Linework, like color, can also provoke certain feelings and emotions. Think of the difference between a circle and a square — particularly the smooth edges of a circle, versus the rough edges of a square. A design including circles portrays a soft and unified feeling, but squares provoke feelings of trust and stability. Nike took a more abstract approach by designing a logo with curves, which accurately associates their brand with motion — the perfect feeling for an athletic company to provoke.
At Aventive Studio, we take logo design seriously because we know it’s an essential factor in your brand identity. We work with our clients to design timeless and memorable logos that connect with your target market and help scale your business.
Ready for a new logo? Reach out to our creative team to set up a consultation.