How can you be sure that you have a good logo? A good logo should be practical and appropriate for its product, but it should also be distinct, with a simple yet obvious message. In that regard, there are 5 qualities that you should always look for whenever designing a logo: simplicity, notability, timelessness, versatility and appropriateness.
A good logo needs to be simple so that people will have an easy time recognizing it. When something is simple, it is also a lot easier to remember. If you manage to combine simplicity with originality you will ensure that your logo is memorable.
If you need further proof, just look at some of the most recognizable logos in the world. The biggest shoe manufacturer, Nike, has a simple one colour swoosh, yet everyone recognizes it the minute they see it. When you have a simple design, it ensures that your logo is recognizable in all situations, from people gazing at billboards to trucks speeding past you on the freeway. Simplicity also helps you create an identity for your brand, so when it comes to logos, remember the KISS principle: keep it simple, stupid!
Hand in hand with simplicity when it comes to logo design goes notability. You want to ensure that your logo is original and unique so that it will be memorable. The subject matter that you want to convey with your logo is not very significant. You would rather have an appropriate logo, sure, but this is not essential. There are plenty of situations where you cannot fully tell what a product is or what a company does just from its logo. It does not matter. As long as the logo is still clear and memorable, you have done a good job.
You want your logo to be timeless, something that will still be relevant 20 years from now. It can be tempting to want to follow a trend as you think it would have more immediate appeal, but this is not desirable when you are interested in longevity. Trends go away too fast and you will be left with an irrelevant logo or a new one that has to build the brand up again. That is why trends are best left to the fashion industry and not for logo design.
Just look at one of the most recognizable logos in the world, the one for Coca Cola. The Coca Cola logo has barely seen any changes since it first appeared in 1885. Its main competitor, on the other hand, Pepsi, has went through numerous changes with their logo over the years and this has hurt their recognition on the market.
A good logo should be able to be placed on numerous objects of different sizes and shapes and still retain its design. Just think of how many items can bear a logo nowadays: it will go on anything from the sides of trucks and big billboards to small pens, cups, balls etc. Will it still look as good in all cases? Besides the size difference, you should also make sure that your logo will still look good when it is printed in one colour or when it is printed in reverse colours.
That is why it is highly recommended that you do all of your logo design in vector format so you can freely change the size and still retain the traits of the logo. Another helpful tip would be to start designing your logo in black and white only. There is an economic reason for this: the more colour you add, the more expensive it is going to be to use that logo. Furthermore, when you work only in black and white you tend to focus more on the design aspects instead of being influenced by the emotional nature of colours.
As a professional logo designer, you should also familiarize yourself with the printing process that is used to print these logos commercially. You should use the Pantone colour system as it is the most accessible when it comes to logo design and also learn to tell the different between it and the CMYK and RGB colour systems.
It is necessary for the design elements of your logo to be appropriate to the brand. Fun colours and fonts are great for a toy store, but not so good for a bank. You also need to learn that a logo does not have to say what the company does. For example, car companies do not use logos with cars in them. If you were to look at the biggest brands in the world, you will see that a whopping majority of their logos do not mention what their business provides.