Before we delve into the features of successful logos, an expert logo maker wishes to make it clear that a successful logo design (or supporting brand identity) will never automatically make any business an instant success.
Paul Rand, in his book, Design Form and Chaos, once said that a logo derives its meaning from the quality of the factor it symbolizes instead of the other way.
Before a design is utilized as a logo or as a trademark, it is basically an abstract image (shape too). In short, it is an empty shell and it needs to be filled. It needs to belong to a company, a brand, a product or an entity, to gain meaning.
It is because of these associations that people make with a brand identity in many instances where the business is not successful, anyone (including designers) will deem it unsuccessful as well. It is not impossible to see such associations.
This is why a lot of graphic designers love the logos of Toyota, Apple, Ford, Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Tesla and Honda. THe companies represented are successful, recognizable, renown and everything associated with them is embodied and emboldened in their logos. Customers and consumers alike can see and feel everything a brand stands for.
Role of a logo explained
The logo has a key role which is important to understand. Before understanding its characteristics, it is important to understand that it is like the company’s face. It helps in identifying the business, brand, company and entity alike.
This means a designer might fail to apply the features which will be discussed here. But if the logo is used on a consistent footing by the company, each person will be able to identify the brand with one good look at the logo.
It does not mean that the characteristics of logos and their designs should be dismissed, especially those that have been successful. It means that they were not set in rigid rules. Apart from a logo being identifiable and recognizable, logo design practically has no rigid rules. Yes, no matter how odd it sounds, that is the only thing that counts.
There are a significant number of logo designs which have been present for quite some time. Some of them are up to date as they have followed trends. Yet some of them are timeless (Honda, Toyota, Coca Cola and Ford, plus Mercedes Benz).
From what kind of logos can we learn from?
It is the logo designs that have remained current from where everyone can learn a lot from. Those which looked good almost fifty years ago look good today without any hesitation. They are still effective today thanks to their timeless beauty, factor and quality. Coca Cola and Ford Motor Company have timeless logos.
It is these designs which are useful to study, to understand what has allowed them to be so everyone can see the characteristics making those logos remain successful over the course of time. Once these characteristics are understood, companies can make informed decisions in the design phase especially if they want to either keep a distance from them, or stay with them to see what works.
Characteristics of successful logos – what are they?
THe characteristics experienced logo makers will share with us today can be used as guidelines. But for the reasons to be explained, these principles have more of a practical footing instead of a theoretical framework.
WHen experts work on logo designs to provide their clientele a solution which will be successful in the long run, they work them on the basis of the following characteristics which are tested, tried and proven to deliver timeless and successful logos, as well as those which did need changes but were relevant and timely.
Hence, they are as under:
- Simplicity of logos.
- THe differentiation factor.
- Keeping them relevant.
- THey should be memorable.
- They should be versatile.
- Legible and recognizable.
- Executed properly.
Yes, these are the characteristics that have laid the foundations for the best logos ever. No matter how easy they sound, or how basic they can be; these factors have a deep meaning which logo designers can explain properly. These characteristics define a successful logo in the best possible manner.