A piece of paper shows three versions of an A-shaped logo: a solid black version, a faded pale blue version and a sketched outline. A hand reaches in from out of frame holding a pen to add to the sketched outline. Scattered around the paper are pens, markers, a ruler and other papers bearing sketches of similar A-shaped and triangular logos.
When designing a logo, simplicity is key. A complicated logo will be harder to remember and may not be seen clearly in passing. — Getty Images/Chaosamran_Studio

Your logo is often the first impression customers get of your business, so you want it to be positive and memorable. Let’s look at seven crucial elements of a great business logo.

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It's simple

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your logo needs to be complex, but the best logos are often the most simple. Think of Nike, Apple and Target — all three brands have incredibly simple logos.

Simple logos work because they’re easily identifiable and more versatile. Most people will only see your logo in passing, and many of the fine details will be lost on them. So be wary of trying to include too many elements in your logo.

It's memorable

Just because your logo should be simple doesn’t mean it should be boring. Most effective logos have one unique feature that makes them memorable and easily stand out to viewers.

A good way to determine whether or not your logo is memorable is to ask one of your customers to describe it to you. If they have a hard time explaining what it looks like, your logo could probably use some work.

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It's timeless

You also want your logo to be timeless — it should be relevant to what’s going on today but not so trendy that it will quickly become outdated. If you look at companies that have been around for a long time, you’ll notice that many have had the same logo for years or even decades.

For instance, Twinings Tea has had the same logo since 1887, making it the world’s oldest unaltered logo. And the McDonald’s logo is famous for its golden arches, which have been revamped several times over the years but have been part of the company’s design since 1968.

You’ll want to create a logo that will look good and retain its integrity no matter where it’s being used.

It's relevant

Your logo should also be relevant to your business and industry in some way. If you run an auto dealership, that doesn’t mean your logo has to include an actual car. But when customers look at your logo, they should understand how it represents your company.

If your logo includes an icon, it could represent some aspect of your company or its history. For instance, the Starbucks siren doesn’t have anything to do with coffee, but it represents the company’s origins.

It has high-quality typography

The typography you choose communicates a lot about your brand to customers. Choosing the right font can communicate likeability, whereas the wrong font could communicate distrust and negative connotations.

In general, it’s best to choose simple and easy-to-read fonts. Serif fonts are a more traditional choice and communicate reliability, while san-serif fonts are more modern. Make sure to only use one or two fonts, so your logo doesn’t look cluttered.

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It contains the appropriate colors

Similar to fonts, the colors you use in your logo will send a strong message to your customers. Color often has a subconscious effect on our behavior and is commonly used by marketers to influence buying decisions.

Here are some colors you can include in your logo and what they represent:

  • Blue: Communicates honesty, trust and reliability.
  • Green: Communicates balance, health and knowledge.
  • Red: Communicates excitement, love and anger.
  • Yellow: Communicates adventure, happiness and enthusiasm.
  • White: Communicates order and cleanliness.

It's versatile

Finally, you want your logo to be versatile and capable of being used in many different contexts. You’re not just going to slap a logo on your website and forget about it — you’ll probably also use it on social media, marketing materials and even products you sell.

So you’ll want to create a logo that will look good and retain its integrity no matter where it’s being used. An experienced graphic designer should understand how to create a versatile logo that will look good in many different contexts.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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