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Logo Design

What makes a good logo design?

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7 simple logo design rules

Something weird happens when it comes to designing a logo. Designers feel the urge to be different or ape the latest fads in the award books. Clients tend to over-analyze and become stricken with indecision - asking anyone in the office for their opinion.

But there are a few basic logo design rules to guide you:

Rule Number 1: Legibility.

It's got to work at all sizes, in colour and mono, and still be legible.

Small logo

Of course it's going to look great in a slick PowerPoint presentation - but will it still communicate at the quarter of the size of a postage stamp?

Rule Number 2: Economy

With the shift of so much collateral online, it's easy to be wooed by designs that look great on-screen. But if it only works in full colour, the costs are going to mount up over the years every time you go to print.

First get a logo that looks good in black and white, then start looking at colour options. It's a little thing that a designer may not consider, but could cost you a lot of money in the long term.

Rule Number 3: Longevity

In design, this week's hot styles are as fleeting as the clothes rails at Top Shop. I've seen many big companies waste millions on logos that look out of date within a couple of years.

Abbey National is prime example. Their logo had a typeface and illustration of a couple with a roof umbrella which, let us say, was of the moment - the late 1970s. It needed to be updated.

Abbey National logo development

Some design agency charged a few hundred grand to come up with a multi coloured airbrush style logo, with all the inch thick reports, and rationale to back it up.

Where did common sense go in this process?

Can you imagine how many millions it must have cost to have all their print in full colour, to have all those fascias refitted across hundreds of branches?

I said at the time it won't last - and it didn't - within 18 months they had a re-design.

Classic type, timeless icon, one colour and It's clean, simple and recognisable - it works. When they got taken over by Santander, all they did was change the name.

Don't get me wrong, it's doesn't look great, but at least it works.

London 2012 Olymics logo

Rule Number 4: Simplicity

You can spot always spot a logo that has been designed by a committee - the result of dozens of people having an input, endless reports, box ticking and focus groups.

How else do you think the UK Government manages to consistently spend hundreds of thousands of pounds for such publicly ridiculed results?

When you're looking at a design proposal, just remember the acronym of Kelly Johnson, who was a lead engineer at Lockheed Aircraft: KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Rule Number 5: Identity

It's not rocket science designing a logo. Once you start apllying rules 1 to 4 the field of focus has narrowed considerably.

But briefing a designer can be tricky, and they will need more of a steer, than "I'll know it, when I see it."

So just sling a load of words together in a great big list. Are you modern or traditional? Personal or corporate? Techy or earthy? Do you want it to be arresting, or reassuring?

Any designer worth their salt should be able to do this for you, but it's important at the outset to set the goals, so you can evaluate the results.

Rule Number 6: Typography

When I started out in the business, we had people employed as typographers. Highly skilled and talented people whose sole functions was to choose the right cut of font that reflected the client's identity.

To the layman, obviously it's subliminal. But to the crafstman, the choice of font is pivitol to the brand.

A crude rule on thumb is that any typeface that has been around for 80 years and still being used today isn't going to look old tomorrow.

Rule Number 7: Exclusivity

There is nothing unique in design, it is a constant process of inspiration and evolution - picking the best and adapting it.

The brands we perceive as iconic have gained their status with massive marketing budgets and by being consistent over so many years, rather than the brilliance of their logo design - just think of Coca Cola, Nike, McDonalds, Channel or BMW.

These logos aren't strokes of genius, but they do follow a few simple rules.

Web design services:

Logo design brand suite

When I design a logo for a client they are given a complete brand suite for every possible application.

This way, once you've paid for your logo, everything could ever possibly need, you already have:

  • Colour references for screen and print: CMYK, RGB and HEX
  • EPS file for print: colour, white only, black only
  • Optimised JPG files for screen: colour, white only, black only
Brand suite

Stationery and artwork

If you're getting a new logo, you're going to need new stationery – don't worry, I can do that as well. Pretty competitive on print too.

Microsoft Office templates

Custom templates for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents for a consistent corporate look through all your correspondence.

Customised wallpapers

Customised background wallpapers for your PCs and mobile phones also add that finishing corporate touch at client meetings.


tags: logo design leeds / corporate id