5 Keys To Create an Effective Logo

5 Keys To Create an Effective Logo

Apple Logo Dice | Blueprint

No matter what you’re branding, there are five keys you should consider when creating a logo.

1. Be Simple

The ultimate goal of branding is to create a mark that is easily recognizable.

Use Simple Logo Designs | Blueprint

A great logo delivers all the meaning it intends to give in a few seconds. FedEx is just one of many companies that follows this principle. At quick glance, the user reads the text on the logo and the word FedEx is conveyed.

However, many people do not see the arrow that is formed in the negative space between the “E “and “X.” The arrow is used to define moving and logistics.

This logo has won over 40 design awards and is ranked as one of the top 8 logos over the last 35 years. One reason is because it’s simple, which leads us to the next key.

2. Be Memorable

In 2013 an app called Logo Quiz launched on the Apple market. This app has you guess the name of hundreds of logos from different companies, and it was downloaded over 300 million times.

How many of these brands do you know on level one?

Logos Quiz Game | Blueprint


This app is successful because people can recognize over 9000 brands, even when the brand name is hidden. If I describe to you a logo that is red and has golden arches, what comes to mind? McDonalds.

Use Logos That Are Timeless | Blueprint

One of the world’s greatest logo designers was Paul Rand, who said that the only mandate of designing logos is that they be distinctive, memorable and clear.

He created the logos for IBM, Westinghouse and ABC.

These are Icons that have lasted for generations, which adheres to the third key…

Before and After Logos | Blueprint

 3. Be Timeless

How can you create a logo that can stand alone without any supporting text?

In 2010, Gap launched a new logo without warning. The iconic mark that represented the brand for more than 20 years disappeared. Overnight, Gap became a laughing stock on design forums. Then just 6 days later, Gap management came to their senses and reverted back.

The Gap rebranding was estimated to have cost $100 million.
An effective logo should last to the end of time.

Use Images That Are Versatile | Blueprint

4. Be Versatile

A successful logo should work across multiple mediums and applications. A logo must look the same on a billboard as it does on a postage stamp. Make sure that the logo is designed in vector format so you can change the scale without unsightly pixilation.

One way to create a versatile logo is to design it in black and white, which will reduce printing costs and save money for a business over the long term.

Use Logos That Are Appropriate For Your Target Audience | Blueprint

5. Be Appropriate

If you were creating a logo for a law firm, you wouldn’t use a childish font and color scheme to reflect the brand.

A logo must appropriately represent its company, and be aimed for that company’s audience.

In Conclusion:

It is important to note that a logo does not need to show what a business sells or offers as a service. Of the top 50 logos, 94% do not describe what the company does. Yet with these 5 keys, they all embody the essence of the brand.

By: Aaron Ward
  • Joshua Bains

    Quote from the designer of the FedEx logo, Lindon Leader

    “‘I slowly begin to remove things. The more you pull out, the clearer it gets. Not everyone gets that; most people don’t. But it’s always the final one that’s far more simple and far more clear than the more elaborate ones I labored over at the beginning.”

    It is inevitable, he says, that when he creates something composed of 30 to 40 percent whitespace, his clients ask why they can’t fill up the space and make use of it. Lindon’s invariable reply: “Understatement is much more effective, much more elegant.'”

    -excerpt from The Laws of Subtraction by Matthew May (McGraw-Hill).

    • John

      This quote reminded me of this one by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which is along the same lines: “A good designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Definitely an interesting thought!

  • Samantha Torres

    Your point that logos generally have no representation of what the actual company sells is something I have never thought of before. Very interesting to think about this now that it’s been pointed out to me.

  • Rebekah Faucette

    Another huge aspect of a logo is color choice. Certain colors elicit specific feelings or emotions from a potential customer, and can help subconsciously push the consumer towards a brand. For example, orange is associated with a friendly personality, which could be why the children’s channel Nickelodeon chose it for their logo, while green gives a peaceful and healthy vibe, making it the ideal choice for Whole Foods.

  • Adam Baxter

    Logo design seems to me to be the ultimate form of design in many ways. Capturing the essence of an entire company all in a simple, small image. Incroyable!

  • John

    Great post, Aaron. The psychological aspect of design is very interesting!

  • Alfredo J. Rodriguez

    I’ve always found that the best logos, the logos generally regarded as the best year-in and year-out, don’t have a large amount of text. Like you referenced in the article, very few actually do describe the nature of the business itself. I am wondering if anyone can point to any successful logos that feature text heavily, however? I’d love to see some counter-examples to Aaron’s well-written post.

  • Naima

    Great information Aaron! Simple logos are more elegant and can go a long way compare to fancy logos. I agree with you that using the same logo in multiple media will help any business establish consistency and improve brand awareness.

  • Chuniq Inpower

    Logo design is critical for bringing visibility to your brand, as much of brands rely on logos as avatars for social media assets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). Therefore a logo that is clear, is relevant to the business and timeless is a well-spent investment into any business. Thank you for sharing. I have experienced that the process of creating the perfect logo is one of the most tedious and stressful aspects of building a brand’s identity.

    P.S. – I never noticed the arrow in FedEx’s logo! Now its all I see! Pretty cool.