Ten Characteristics of Great Logo Design

If you have handed the task of designing your business logo over to true professionals then to some extent you can relax and rely on them to come up with the perfect logo. However, throughout the briefing and design process it doesn’t hurt to have a little knowledge about logo design so that your input can be more effective.

Below we have listed our ten characteristics of great logo design. You may find a use for this as a kind of checklist that you can go over to see how your initial logo concepts measure up.

Unique Logos are Memorable

Your business logo should be unique in your market or industry. Trying to imitate the designs of competitors is a big mistake. Many industries are full of logos that use the same old clich├ęd images and icons and if you really want to separate yourself from the pack you have to avoid these. One example is the use of rooftop shapes on real estate logos. If you have to seek inspiration from other designs then you should borrow from businesses in other industries.

A logo that is distinctive and original has a better chance of catching the viewer’s eye and standing out in a crowded market place. A great logo should appeal to viewers and demand their attention. If consumers can remember your logo after glancing at it only several times then you are onto a winner.

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Simplicity Works

You only have to consider the logos of the world’s top companies to realize that simple designs are clear, professional and international looking. On the other hand, if a logo design is too cluttered and overly complicated it can make an organization appear to be amateurish and local. The reality is that in a market place flooded with so many brands, simple logos usually stand out more in the crowd and are more easily recognized by consumers. Great designers are more likely to exercise restraint with a design while poor and average designers are likely to go overboard.

Scalable and Versatile

Our next key characteristic is scalability. Logos should be able to be scaled to suit all the branding and marketing requirements of a company. The same design should be able to be used on everything from tiny business cards all the way up to large vehicle wraps and signage. To be functional the logo should look sharp no matter what size it is.

Color Choice

Effective logos typically use a minimal variety of colors to give the design more visual impact. Many designers recommend using no more than three colors. If a logo has ‘too much going on’ in the way of color it can end up being confusing or blurry to viewers and you can face additional complications and expenses when it comes to printing.

Black and white are common colors and other dark or soft colors can incorporate well depending on the industry. Remember that your logo will have to look good on your letterhead when it is faxed or photocopied so it must be clear and recognizable in black and white.

Also give some thought to background colors. A logo should look good on a basic white background but your company may have an alternative color scheme in mind.

Clarity and Legibility

Your logo should broadcast a message that is clear and easy to understand and you therefore need images and fonts to be legible. Different font styles can appeal to different consumers and convey certain emotions so give some thought to the kind of message that you want to get across. It has been a popular trend recently to use entirely lower case fonts as many designers feel that it makes a company appear more approachable. One example of this is the Citigroup logo. Some industries suit bold fonts while other suit classic looking cursive scripts.


A good logo should be relevant to what a business does but doesn’t have to be too specific as this can place limitations on a company. Having a design that is a little more abstract can offer a company a blank slate to build upon and they can feel free to grow in any direction that they like without being limited by what their logo says they should be doing. On the other hand a logo that defines a company too closely may end up pigeon holing them and not allowing them much flexibility to change as they move forward.

Market Appeal

The right design will appeal to the tastes of the people that make up your target market. It should project the right image so that your prospective customers feel drawn to it. A logo for a fashion line targeting teenagers would be very different in style from a logo design for a golf club manufacturer for example. In terms of these markets you would be dealing with two very different crowds.

Depending on your market you may decide that your logo should be funny, serious, professional, trendy, funky or one of many different descriptions. The obvious factors that come into play are customer age, gender and socio economic status but you will also have to give some though to cultural issues and other factors. If you are unsure of what will work well and have the budget for it you may want to undertake a little market research.

Classic Designs Stand the Test of Time

To avoid all the headaches of re-branding your company more often than is necessary your logo design should strive to be timeless or classic. While you don’t want to look old fashioned you should find the right balance between incorporating modern design trends with classic design sense. To end up with a logo design that will really endure you need to identify passing design fads and set out to avoid them

Conform to the Principles of Good Design

Good design sense is all about balancing color, space and shape in a way that makes the individual parts of the design work together in a way that creates a certain magic. Symmetry and order usually work best but a little chaos might also be just the ticket for your business and this would be fine if it works well. Every part of the logo should have a purpose and you should strongly consider removing everything else.

Interesting and Attractive

Last but not least, awesome logos also have to be interesting and attractive. A logo speaks volumes about a business and you don't want to miss this chance to make a great first impression on people. The best logos are interesting to look at and are designed in a clever way that makes people want to stop and take a deeper look. Most people are under the impression that smart companies have smart logos so don't let them down.

When briefing the designer who will be handling your project and reviewing their initial concepts give some thought to the ten characteristics above to ensure that you end up with an effective business logo.

Visit the Logo-Reviews.com home page to see why we rated The Logo Company as the best online custom logo design firm.

Related Articles -

4 Characteristics of Great Logo Design - Logo designers give their opinions on what makes a logo great in this Inc.com article.

What Makes a Good Logo? - Article by designer David Airey with examples to illustrate his points.