KISSing for Good Logo Design?

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You’re probably familiar with the K.I.S.S. Principle…Keep It Simple Stupid. Simplicity is an important design consideration when it comes to logos, too. The most successful logos are simple, memorable, timeless, versatile and appropriate.

Simple. When a logo is simple, it is an “easy read” and adaptable. Think of the Nike swoosh or McDonald’s. Besides the fact that there are millions of marketing dollars promoting their identity, the logos are still unique and effective.

Memorable. An effective logo needs to be memorable. Simple logos are highly memorable as well as very efficient in conveying the message that the client wants to get across. No one wants to work hard at deciphering what a logo is trying to say!

Timeless. Leave fashion trends to your wardrobe. A logo should be timeless—just as effective in 10 or 20 years as it is the day it was conceived. This is the public face of your business and if it looks dated in a few years…well, then, so will your company.

Versatile. One reason I design all logos first in black-and-white is because it needs to be just as effective in it’s simplest form as it does in a full-color brochure. Very complicated logos, or logos overly dependent on color to make them work, lose clarity when they are reproduced in one-color. A logo also should look just as good on a business card as it would on a billboard.

Appropriate. A logo should be appropriate for its intended purposes, i.e.; an undertaker’s logo wouldn’t use neon colors or a casual or childish font. It is also not critical that the logo actually show what a business does or sells. Apple Computer’s logo doesn’t show a computer…Toyota’s logo doesn’t show a car. A logo is for identification and when used consistently will become shorthand for the business.

Paul Rand, the iconic logo designer, said that, “It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. A logo derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate.”

Are there other principles of good logo design that you think are important?

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