This article discusses some checks that you should carry out before signing off on your new logo. This will ensure that your new logo works for your business in all circumstances where it is likely to be used.
I have found that it is easy for both the client and me to become so involved with the branding project that we can’t see the wood for the trees, so to speak. It is, therefore, useful to take a step back and review the new logo from the perspective of someone seeing it for the first time.
This can be a difficult task so I have developed the following check list of key questions that I ask myself when reviewing a new logo. It can also be useful to ask someone who has not been so deeply involved with the project to review it and give honest feedback, based on the same criteria.
1. Is the logo appealing?
The first thing I do when assessing a new logo is to ask a simple question – do I like it? This seems like an obvious thing to do and it is because if I don’t like it there is a good chance that others won’t like it either.
More importantly, however, I go on to as ask myself another question – why don’t I like it? There can be many reasons why a logo may not work. Some common ones are:
Aesthetics – it is just not aesthetically pleasing. This will normally be the result of poor design. For example, the graphic elements may not work with the font used for text or if the graphic elements are complex then they may not fit will together.
Complexity – Is it too complex and consequently difficult to view and understand without a details explanation. Our philosophy is that creating a corporate brand is a complex process and that complexity should be managed. This management of complexity is not only critical to the overall branding project but is also crucial to the design of the logo. We always apply the “Keep It Simple” philosophy to logo design so that the detailed branding brief is distilled into a logo that is visually appealing while conveying the brand message.
2. Does the colour work?
The use of colour in branding and logo design is topic on its own so suffice to say it is critical to the overall look and feel of a brand and a logo. This is especially true when using more than one colour as here it is critical that the colours work well together. The other aspect of colour to consider is does it convey the correct message. For example, using dull and/or single colours in the logo for a children’s nursery is unlikely to work.
3. Is the logo adaptable?
A brand and hence the logo may be used in various different ways from e-mail to adverts to vehicle graphics and many more. A key test of any logo is how does it performs in all of the different mediums in which it may be applied.
The most basic way in which a logo may be portrayed is in black and white (or in some other solid colour combination). If the logo is appealing when portrayed in mono-colour, it is likely to work anywhere. If it does not, consider simplifying it until it does.
Many logos are designed in mono-colour, famous examples being Adidas, Nike, Puma, Apple, to name but a few. The simplicity of these logos means that they can be applied in a huge variety of mediums and different colour combinations.
I am not suggesting that every logo should be mono-colour simple that good logos should be able to work in mono-colour if need be or at the very least in greyscale.
4. Is the text legible?
This section relates to logos that are made up of characters or incorporate characters along with the graphical element (this could be words, brand names, initials, etc.).
The font that you use in a logo is very similar to the use of colour that is discussed above. Just because there is a huge amount of fonts available does not mean that you should use them all or use the most obscure just to be different. As with colour, the font that you choose should represent the brand and should be legible.
When incorporating your brand name into a logo make sure that it can be read. There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than a logo that incorporates a font that is difficult to read or is laid out in a way that makes it difficult to read – it will just make people switch off.
This principal applies anything else, such as tag lines, that can be used along with the logo.
5. Does the logo make sense?
Unless the logo is a word or words that makes it clear what the brand is/does then some explanation of what your logo means will almost certainly be required. A good example of this is Burger King vs McDonalds. Imagine for a second that you have never heard of either – which one would be the most descriptive?
Good logos should have a simple story to tell such that when it is explained you think yes, that makes sense.
The story of the logo should also be closely tied to the story of the brand so that when explaining the logo, you are also effectively explaining the brand and what it stands for.
6. Does the Logo stand out from the crowd?
Up until now you may think that I have been advising caution and restraint when designing a new logo. This is not the case. To be notices, your logo should be creative and different from others in your industry or market segment. A ‘me too’ brand will not help you to stand out from the crowd. My advice is to be bold, be different, do not follow the trend but set it.