Logo Design

Person drawing a lightbulb logo

A logo is meant to represent or embody an organization or product, and is therefore one of the key assets a company has. A good logo should be designed in such a way as to be instantly recognizable, and it does so through the combined use of color, shape, and different typefaces. Sometimes images are also used as part of a logo. Because a logo so closely reflects a brand or organization, it is very important, and sometimes very difficult, to get right. However, there are several principles which an organization or designer can follow in order to design a strong and effective logo.


There are five main principles that a logo design should fulfill in order to be effective. First, it should be simple, but still creative or unique. This allows it to be recognizable and memorable, without being over-the-top. Being memorable is the second key principle the logo should fulfill, and it ties in closely with the principle of simplicity. Overly complicated logos or ones that are inappropriate for the product or organization are often not memorable, or if they are, it’s often for the wrong reasons. Third, a logo should be timeless. Many of the most memorable products, brands, or organizations that we know today have logos which have existed for not only years, but decades. Building a brand is a long-term commitment, and having a logo which will stand the test of time is very important. Fourth, an effective logo should work in a variety of mediums, from business cards to billboards. A logo designed on a computer should be saved in a file format that allows for scalability, so that the logo retains its sharpness when the size of the logo is altered. Finally, a logo should be appropriate for the organization or product. A logo which incorporates a happy font and an image of balloons may be appropriate for a company that sells supplies for birthday parties, but would not be appropriate for a funeral home, for instance.

Learning From Others

By looking at the successes and failures of other companies or brands, it’s easy to see examples of where the guiding principles above were followed– and where they were not. For an example of a successful logo, we need look no further than the Nike “Swoosh.” It is simple, yet makes a strong visual impact. It is transferable across mediums, from shoes to letterhead to television commercials. Furthermore, it is fluid and fast, which fits the image and the idea that the brand is attempting to sell with its sporting apparel. Unsuccessful logos, on the other hand, often miss one or more of the guiding principles in their design, may also be hampered by poor visual layout, and may often present confusing ideas about the brand.

Design Process

The design process is different for every individual or group, but generally speaking, the process begins with a client consultation or briefing, where the basic requirements for the logo design are discussed. The designer will often brainstorm with their client or research different concepts or images which may be related to the client’s requirements. After that, the designer will generally sketch out several concepts, and after developing the strongest designs, will digitize the concept in a computer graphics program. Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for design software, and it is very important to have a reasonable degree of skill with the software in order to create successful designs. Once the digital copies are complete, the designer will take them back to the client for another consultation, at which point the client will either select a design as it stands, or make requests for revisions to a design. After those revisions have been made and the client signs off on a design, the files are supplied to the client and any loose ends are wrapped up.