5 Essential Qualities of a Great Logo

Whether you are starting a new business or rebranding an existing one, creating a great logo is an essential step in the process. Designing a quality logo is not as easy as you might think, and the cost of getting it wrong can be quite high.

The logo you design will become an integral part of your brand, and it will be the first thing customers see when they encounter your company. If you want to design a logo that gets results, you need to look at what has worked in the past. All great logos, regardless of the brands they represent, have a few key things in common. Here are five essential qualities of a winning logo.

#1. Simplicity

From the beautiful script of the Coca-Cola logo to the clean design of the Google logo, the best logos are also the simplest. Simple logos are instantly recognizable, and that gives them an instant leg-up on their more complicated competitors. At Motto, we spend a considerable amount of time striving for simplicity in all of our logomarks. To the untrained eye, it’s seems much easier to achieve simplicity than it really is. Our logos take many weeks to craft. We explore hundreds of logos that a client may never see. This is in an effort to present the perfect logo for our client’s unique businesses. Great logos are iconic, timeless and the hub for which your other brand elements are built from.

#2. Relevancy

The best logos are relevant to the brands they represent. Think about the iconic logos you love, from the machine-inspired IBM logo, iconic Apple logo to the infamous Nike swoosh. It isn’t the logo doing all the legwork — it is the images, ideas, color, type and expression of that logo and with the logo that becomes the associations in your audience’s mind. These representations over time showcase what the company is all about, but make no mistake, these brands invest immensely in the logo and continue to support its relevancy in the market.

#3. Memorable

All great logos, regardless of the companies those images represent, are instantly recognizable and memorable. When you look at these iconic logos, you cannot help but remember the companies they represent. Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Target, Best Buy, Starbucks, Amazon—each of them drum up an association and we can immediately call their logomarks to mind when we hear the name. This association isn’t something these brands crossed their fingers and hoped for without putting the effort, investment, resources and intention behind it.

#4. Scalability

The best logos are easily scalable, meaning they look great no matter what their size. Scalability is even more important in the age of the internet, when viewers are looking at company websites from all kinds of devices – and all sizes of screens.

#5. Distinctiveness

Having a company logo that can be mistaken for something else is very dangerous, and very harmful to your brand image. The best logos are also the most distinctive – the iconic Apple logo could not be mistaken for another computer company, and the Coca-Cola logo is easily distinguishable from rival soda companies.

When you own your own business, you are responsible for every aspect of its operation, from the signage on the front door to the way you treat your customers. As a business owner, you are also responsible for the enhancing the quality of your branding, and the logo you design will play a key role in your success.

Ashleigh Hansberger

Ashleigh Hansberger is Co-founder & Director of Brand Strategy at Motto. Inc. 30 under 30 alum. Born and raised in Chicago. Shows up to do work that shakes the world. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.