5 characteristics of a successful logo design

5 Characteristics of a Successful Logo Design

Designing a successful logo is a task many people value the importance of but usually take for granted due to its complexity. Building a respectable, memorable, and properly functioning logo is like linking train cars within a locomotive to get to the end destination. If one car link is broken, the remaining cars behind will get left in the dust. The cars ahead will race off into the distance without the goods from the latter. Each part of a train needs to be connected to ensure the overall success of getting to the end destination. Similarly, if one part of the logo disconnects, it will fail in its end goal to appropriately convey a brand as a whole.

When designing a logo, these are the 5 most important characteristics.

1. Clarity

Being clear and concise is one of the most important characteristics to having a successful logo. Inherently logos are meant to be the global image for a brand, so a mark that can clearly encapsulate the overall concept of the brand in a concise visual manner is one that tends to be successful. Being vague or overly complex in the construction of the logo can hinder a viewer’s understanding of the brand. Keep it simple and straightforward. Don’t over do it with added filler unless it helps the overall mark or concept.


example of a logo designed with clarity

The Instagram logo is a great example of a logo designed with clarity.  The logo displays photography with brand colors that convey fun and happiness.

Quick tip: Don’t muck it up. A logo shouldn’t be clear as mud.

2. Legibility

Legibility is one characteristic that numerous people neglect when developing their logos. Being linked to clarity, having a legible logo that can be used on a variety of different media is a huge asset to being successful. A logo must be legible from small scale, similar to a shirt sleeve, all the way to massive, like on a billboard or vehicle. Having consistency across all variations in size and background to ensure the logo is seen universally in it highest quality must be thought through. Without being legible, the logo design could get lost in the chaos that the marketing and advertising world creates everyday.

legible logo example

The NBC logo, for example, is extremely simple, recognizable and legible in all sizes and placements.

Quick tip: Make the logo versatile. Getting lost in the world is never fun-just ask a kid in a supermarket.

3. Appropriate

Creating an appropriate logo mark based on the brand’s function is a pivotal characteristic. Designing a logo should follow context and function first, followed by form. In layman’s terms the look of the logo must follow what its function is. A logo created solely for appearance will lack in substance and could cause a disconnect for a viewer. For example, a person would likely not use a fork to eat cereal even if it had beautiful detailing on its handle. It would be far more difficult to deliver the tasty bites of cereal instead of using a spoon. Just like a spoon, a logo is specifically designed for a purpose. The logo design first needs to function and then aesthetic can be added as second layer for attraction.

the Beats logo is an example of appropriate logo design

The Beats logo design, for example, is very appropriate for the product function. It contains the Beats “B” and also resembles headphones.

Quick tip: Don’t be an animal and try to make a logo just look “cool.” Eating cereal with a fork wouldn’t make sense, right?

4. Memorable

Making anything memorable can be a difficult task. The same goes for logos. Uniqueness is one of the biggest things a logo design can do to maintain a memorable appearance. Having some similarities to another brand isn’t a complete downfall for a logo but it must have its own individual characteristics to separate itself from the rest of the crowd. Learning from a competitor can be the best way to figure out how to be memorable. Looking at their successes and failures can help lead the way to how a logo can be constructed. Use both successful and negative information to an advantage to make sure the logo mark is unique & memorable from everyone else.

example of a memorable logo design

The Apple logo design, for example, is very but memorable because of the simple sophistication that it represents.

Quick tip: Keep your friends close. And your enemies closer. They might not actually be too bad.

5. Lasting

Last but not least, a logo standing the test of time is a walking success story. If a logo can go years or decades without changing its appearance it must be doing something right. As time changes so does style. Not being contingent on trends or a specific era will help a logo last for extended periods of time. Always remember: form follows function in logo design and trendiness should be bumped out of the equation immediately. It becomes a disservice to faithful followers of a brand if it becomes dated within a few years, so create a logo regardless of what’s going on in the outside design world. It should be about the brand not a fad.

Nike logo is an example of a lasting logo design

There may be no better example of a lasting logo than Nike. Their logo design still represents physical activity and status.

Quick tip: Not being trendy is the new trend. It’s a lot better to be unique.

Building a logo off of these five characteristics should enable the creation of a mark that is clear, versatile, appropriate, memorable, and lasting. In a vast world of information commanding for the consumer’s attention, having a recognizable logo is a daunting task but it can be done. Follow each step with concentration and the destination of the perfect logo can be obtained.

Comments are closed.

Back to blog