5 Qualities of a Strong Logo

I wish I could teach you how to design a great logo for your business, and walk you through each step, but the truth is, the creative process is based largely on intuition and learning on how to recognize strong design.

On top of that, how do you teach someone how to create something unique? If it's a repeatable process, it's not going to give you a unique result.

However, there are some tips I can share with you to help you in the logo design process.

Last week I shared some brainstorming methods that can help you get your creative juice flowing. This week, I'm going to share with you some signs that help you determine if your logo idea is a strong design.

(This post is part of my brand design process series. I've covered brand foundations, Pinterest inspiration boards, moodboard design, and logo brainstorming methods.)

1. It's practical

One of the questions I ask my clients before designing their logo is, "where will you use your logo?"

For businesses that do most of their marketing online, the only consideration you need is to make sure that the logo is readable at small sizes and works within the layout of their website.

However, businesses that use their logo on packaging, or even as signs on buildings, you'll need to make sure the logo is flexible enough to work across different surfaces. An intricate icon or one with more than two or three colors can be expensive to print.

2. It's easy to read

If your logo design includes your business name, you don't want it to be a struggle to read, no matter how cool it looks. Your logo's job is to represent your company, not showcase your design sensibilities.

If you can't read your logo on a business card or as a profile picture, you may want to reconsider the design. The purpose of logos are to be recognizable, and that includes at small sizes.

Now, if you have a design that's strong in every other way, but is hard to read at small sizes, you may be able to create an alternate version of your logo that's for using at small sizes.

3. It's memorable

Creating a memorable logo means designing a logo that is unique as well as easy to recognize.

To create an unique logo, it should reflect you and your business specifically. If it feels generic, like it could represent several types of businesses, it's going to be more forgettable. (This means you want to avoid trends. Please!)

For a logo to be memorable, not only does it have to work at small sizes, but it has to be designed precisely.

Shapes should be clearly defined, colors should be purposeful, and no mark should be made unintentionally.

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

4. It works in black and white

If possible, it's nice to be able to have a one color version of your logo for versatility, but if not, your logo still should be able to look good in grayscale.

If it doesn't, that shows a lack of contrast in your design, which means it's not very eye-catching because your colors are too similar in value.

Your audience may never see your logo in grayscale - unless you have printables. In that case (and it seems most online businesses have printables these days - worksheets, guides, cheatsheets, etc) your printables may be printed in black and white to save ink - and either way, either printed in color or black and white, you want your logo to look good.

5. It communicates

I saved my favorite quality for last.

Great logos aren't merely decoration, or the name of your business. They communicate your brand values. They set expectations of mood and quality for your audience. Your logo may very well be the first thing your audience learns to recognize from you.

Make sure the impression it's leaving is an acurrate one.