Creating Effective Logo Design.

There are lots of opinion pieces on effective logo design and it can be rather confusing.

With over 25 years of experience creating logos for many businesses from start-ups, to pubs, charities and large corporate businesses we have a good idea about creating an effective logo design. We’ve helped companies big and small to create logos that speak to their customers and create a lasting impression.

A logo needs to do so much more than just look nice. That’s what your holiday pictures are for. A good logo should represent everything about a business, from its commercial offering and positioning to its personality and key messages. That’s an awful lot of pressure for a single piece of design. And all of this should be represented by the logo’s shape, the fonts it uses and its style and colours.

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That said, a logo doesn’t have to say exactly what it is that a business does, for example, a food business doesn’t have to feature food in its logo – the Nike logo doesn’t feature trainers or t-shirts, yet still remains iconic!

A brief history of logos

The history of logos dates back thousands of years, evolving from simple marks to sophisticated symbols of identity and branding. The earliest forms of logos can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, who used symbols and hieroglyphics to represent their identity and communicate messages. Similarly, ancient Greeks and Romans used symbols on coins, pottery, and architecture to denote ownership and affiliation.

During the Middle Ages, craftsmen and guilds began using symbols called “merchant’s marks” to identify their work and establish authenticity. These marks often consisted of initials, geometric shapes, or simple illustrations. The Renaissance period saw a resurgence of interest in art and design, leading to more elaborate and decorative logos. With the rise of trade and commerce during the Industrial Revolution, businesses started using logos to distinguish their products and services in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

The development of printing technology and mass production in the late 19th century enabled businesses to create more consistent and recognizable logos. Some of these iconic designs are still in use today, including the Coca-Cola logo and the Shell logo.

The mid-20th century witnessed the emergence of modern graphic design principles, with pioneers such as Paul Rand, Saul Bass, and Milton Glaser revolutionising logo design. Logos evolved to be simpler, more abstract, and more versatile, focusing on conveying a brand’s essence in a memorable way. With the advent of the digital age and the proliferation of global brands, logos became even more important as visual representations of corporate identity. Logos evolved to be more adaptable for various platforms and media, from print to digital to social media.

Today, logos continue to evolve with changing design trends and technological advancements. Minimalism, simplicity, and versatility are often emphasized in modern logo design, reflecting the need for brands to communicate quickly and effectively in a fast-paced world.

Creating an effective logo design.

1. Be brave.

Avoid trying to create a logo that looks like one from your major competitors, or even a much larger unrelated business, with the aim of piggy-backing on their brand recognition. This will not go the way that you hope that it will.

It will backfire as you’ll struggle to create your own market share that you could have through having a unique and distinctive logo of your own. Every successful business is one of a kind and your logo should be as well.

2. Don’t be trendy, aim to be timeless.

Avoid jumping on the latest logo design trends if they don’t fit with your branding or ethos. A great logo should work for you now and for the future, and be the right fit for your business rather than trying to fit in with a particular scene or look and feel. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep the same logo until the end of time, but don’t set yourself up to look dated before the ink has even dried.

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3. Keep it simple.

The best logos are often the ones that aren’t too complicated and don’t need to be explained. Your logo should do all of the talking.

Take FedEx and Nike for example, they’re memorable yet simple logos and as a result, they’re timeless.

Complicated logos can sometimes be difficult to reproduce, or scale to different sizes or even work consistently both online and offline and can be lost in translation and this isn’t going to reflect too well on your business in the eyes of the consumer. A great logo can be effortlessly reproduced everywhere from billboards to business cards.

4. Be clear.

Graphic design agencies are geniuses, but we’re not mind readers! For best results, create a clear brief on what you want to achieve with your new logo design. Research and see what types of logos you like and don’t like, and think about how the logo will be used, online and offline.

Detail what core brand messages you want to convey through the logo and how you would like the logo to be perceived. Place yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider what they expect to see alongside your company name.

All of this information will allow your designer to have a clear picture of what it is you want to achieve, and this can save both parties a lot of time, heartache, and money along the way.

5. Invest time and money in finding the right agency for you.

Anyone can create a logo. You could probably do it yourself, or use one of those random generators on the internet. But it takes craft, experience and understanding to create one that is the right fit and works for a business’s needs and requirements.

Your logo should represent many aspects of your business, it should be distinctive memorable and convey your key messages.

This can take time to do, but getting it right early on can mean you have the building blocks there to build your business from, allowing consistency in the brand and building trust in the eyes of the consumer.

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Chris Tymon

Chris Tymon

Chris is a founding Creative Director at Toast and works across Food Branding and design work for clients in the food sector.