What Qualities Make for Effective Logos?


In this business, you see a little bit of everything. Not long ago we had a customer walk through our doors, wanting a new logo for his business. He brought us a photo of himself, at a zoo, holding a monkey. Bizarre? Just a little.

He had been granted a VIP pass for a tour of the zoo’s monkey house, in which he was given the honorable privilege of holding this sacred monkey.

“Please crop me out of this photo and use the monkey for my logo,” he said.

Now mind you, this was for an accounting firm. Apparently, his experience at the zoo had made quite an impression on him and he had gotten it into his head that this photo would somehow help him sell his accounting services. But this is an ineffective approach to logo design.

A good logo isn’t just about an image or color you like. It makes a statement about your business. So you can make a positive statement and build a great brand or you can communicate something terrible about yourself. No one wants to think about their accounting firm “monkeying” around with their finances. So keep these things in mind when designing a logo:

  1. Keep it simple. Consider the way Nike swoosh works for selling athletic products.
  1. Your logo is a reflection of your business. Don’t choose colors just because they are your favorite. For instance, if you want to present your business as a traditional, trustworthy corporate partner, then using neon colors isn’t going to be very effective, but there are a variety of more traditional hues that can convey that image effectively.
  1. Your logo doesn’t have to be literal. A burger joint may use an image of a hamburger in their logo, but it doesn’t distinguish them from other burger joints. When you see a picture of a hamburger you might think of several burger joints, but when you see an image of the “golden arches” you only think of McDonald’s.
  1. Logos should be versatile. Test the logo out on a variety of media: bus sides, letterhead, coffee mugs, business cards, etc. An effective logo will translate well across a variety of media.
  1. So maybe your business doesn’t have an image like the Nike swoosh or the golden arches. Maybe you have something a little more detailed in mind. When using a complex image, there has to be a central element that is easily recognizable even at a glance. Otherwise, the image won’t stick in the consumer’s memory.

A good logo can help you sell good products. It’s often the first impression your audience has of your business so make it a good one!