A logo is a visual representation of an entity, may it be a business, a church, an organization or an individual (remember when Prince dropped his name and wanted to be know by his logo?). My company, The A Group, has created hundreds of logos over the past several years. The process has been as simple or as complicated as each client, but at the end all good logos ultimately share the same DNA.
1. It can be reproduced in one solid color. If your logo needs two or four colors to look good or it needs that nifty 3D effect to look ok, it’s not a successful logo. If it works in solid black then it will work in any color or rendering.
2. It’s simple. I cannot tell you how many times I have run into logos that tried to “tell a story.” Like verbosity, these overly symbolic logos look dated soon. Churches and ministries are the worst offenders. I once had to say, “No, you cannot have a dove, a cross, a boat and flames in your logo.” I still have nightmares of the burning boat when I think of that design. The logo does not have to bring meaning to the design. Your organization can give meaning to your logo. Think of the Nike swoosh. All the meaning it conveys has been brought by what Nike stands for and not because of its mark.
3. It’s reducible. A good logo can be put on the side of a building as well as on the side of a pen. It should look just as good on your website as it does on your company polo shirts. The more lines and detail it has, the more difficult it is to reduce.
4. It Does not have to be a mark. Some of the most recognizable logos are font treatments and do not have a mark. FedEX is a great example of a powerful font-based logo. Again, sometime the simplest is the best.
5. Helvetica never goes out of style. Never. If you want timeless, than stay away from trendy fonts that look cool today and will make you look dated 8 hours from now. Sears, 3M, American Airlines, Toyota, Target are all done in helvetica. The list goes on for miles.
What else would you add to the list?