Logo Design 101: Six Tips For Creating Iconic Logos

Jennifer Farley

Logo design is undoubtedly one of most challenging aspects of graphic design. It may seem easy at first glance but successful logos tend to have several characteristics in common. Those features are:

  • simplicity
  • uniqueness
  • relevance
  • memorable
  • focus
  • tradition (or not following trends).

Here’s a brief overview of each of these characteristics with a well known brand examples to illustrate the point.

1. Keep it simple. A frequent mistake made by new designers is to over-complicate, or over-design. Simplicity is a good thing and when in comes to design, less is definitely more.


2. Make it unique. In a world full of swooshes, arcs, leaves and other logo clichés, this is easier said than done. The Nike logo is a tick or correct mark yet is instantly recognizable and unique.


3. Keep it relevant. When you’re designing a logo, think about the appropriateness of the symbol or typefaces you use. For example, a skull and crossbones will not work for a wedding planning business. The Lego logo uses bright primary colors and a child-friendly font – perfect for its intended audience.


4. Make it memorable. Your logo design is a visual representation of what the company stands for. The logo will often only receive a quick look, so it needs to make a fast impression.


5. Keep the focus and use one idea to make the design special. The Fed Ex logo features an arrow between the letters E and X, representing the idea of moving parcels from place to another.


6. Aim for longevity. While many logos will be updated over their lifetime, its probably not a bad idea to design something which will not look dated after a year. Avoid “trendy” fonts and symbolism. The Coca-Cola logo is among the most recognized logos and brands in the world. The logo’s distinctive cursive script has not changed dramatically over its long lifetime.


These are, of course guidelines and pointers. All rules are made to be broken but it helps if you know the rules before breaking them. What other rules or guidelines would you add to this list?