Three criteria for a good logo

A bad logoEric Karjaluoto of smashLAB Inc blogs at ideasonideas. He and his group designed a little booklet to help folks understand a bit more about logos. You can get a copy by clicking here on smashLAB.

One excerpt asks the question, “What makes a good logo?”

That’s difficult to answer because it touches so many levels of perception and communication. Well, Eric has winnowed it down to three criteria which I wholeheartedly can agree with. Those criteria, along with my comments, are:

Simplicity. They speak to the need for a logo to be recognized in ant environment, close up and at a distance. Then there’s the discipline of crystallizing an idea into a visual meme that’s understandable upon a glance, even if it’s only a half an inch high. So presenting a stark image rather than a complex one is desirable. In addition there’s the very practical advice to keep the number of colors and production complexity to a minimum to keep production costs of printed materials reasonable.

Versatility. Eric hopes you can adopt your logo to all types of reproduction. So do I. I’ve seen too many logos that are really nice pieces of art that turn to mush when a black and white version needs to be rendered from it. And the Internet has introduced another set of design specifications to consider. I like to design first for the most used format, then go to the extreme application, probably the logo of a single color embossed on a small ad specialty item.

Distinctiveness. This is the subjective one. Minimally, you want it to distinguish your company or product from your competitors. Ideally, you’ll want to be so distinctive that no one will mistake your logo from any other logo, period. Quite often you will spot a trend in logo design – in the late 1990’s it was the oval swish that surrounded the company name. You’ll want to stay away from fads like that as well as fads in type face selection and illustrative style. (No more woodcut icons.)

Eric’s blog, ideasonideas, is well worth your time. It’s on my bloglog for sure.

Martin Jelsema

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