Secrets of Design Blog

Creative Logo Design – Four Principles of Effective Logo Design

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What makes an effective logo design? A great logo is simple, appropriate, connects with the qualities of your company, conveys the intended message, and is relevant to the target audience. Have you also noticed that you can see excellent logo designs from a great distance? Take for example: McDonald’s, Nike, Walmart, Sears, Apple, Hertz, and 7 Eleven. These logos work well in different sizes on a variety of mediums. So, it’s no surprise that companies spend millions of dollars developing their identity and branding it everywhere. Creative and effective logo designs have made companies more distinguishable and memorable. So make sure you apply these logo design principles (in no particular order):

  • Simple
  • Versatile
  • Memorable
  • Relevant


Nike - An Example of a Simple Logo

People appreciate clean, simple, and basic logos. Some of the best logos demonstrate this principle well, and Nike, Apple, Fedex and Walmart are good examples. Having a simple logo allows for easy recognition. In fact, 75% of the top corporate companies use one or two colors in their logo. Having too many colors can make your logo difficult to see or convey the wrong message. Effective logos use one to three colors. Avoid the common mistakes of using too many colors or including raster images in your logo designs.

“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”–Leonardo da Vinci


FedEx - An Example of a Versatile Logo

The best logos can be seen when they are very small on a pencil or very large on a billboard. Logos eventually end up on a variety of mediums and need to be able to be used in all kinds of situations. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. A logo that is too vertical or horizontal will become difficult to read when enlarged or reduced in size. It doesn’t matter how fancy or cool your logo looks if it cannot be easily seen. Believe it or not, many logos use common San Serif fonts like Arial, Myriad or Verdana, while about one third of logos use Serif fonts like Times New Roman or Garamond.

“I like to work first in black and white to assure that the logo will look good in its simplest form. Color is very subjective and emotional- this can distract from the overall design. If you saw your logo in all red, that color may be the first thing that you respond to and not the composition of the design elements. I will not even consider submitting color suggestions to a client for review until they have signed off on a final black and white logo.”–Patrick Winfield


Burger King - An Example of a Memorable Logo

You want people to remember your logo long after they’ve seen it. Make your logo unique so that it will stick in the minds of your customers and be recognized next time they see it. People are inundated with hundreds of logos every day, so you want your logo to be distinctive, memorable, and clear.

“A great trademark is appropriate, dynamic, distinctive, memorable and unique.”–Primo Angeli


PBS Kids - An Example of a Relevant Logo

Finally, it doesn’t matter how well your logo follows the principles above if it doesn’t connect with qualities of your company and your target audience. You want people to associate your logo with your company. So your logo has to be relevant to your target audience.

Good design, at least part of the time, includes the criterion of being direct in relation to the problem at hand – not obscure, trendy, or stylish. A new language, visual or verbal, must be couched in a language that is already understood.–Ivan Chermayeff

“Good design must be defined by appropriateness to audience and goals, and by its effectiveness, not by its adherence to Swiss design or the number of awards it wins.”–Drew Davies

What principles do you think are most important when designing a logo? What are your favorite logos?



Sep 01, 2010 at 3:42am

I love this article! It’s very helpful! I think making sure a logo is versatile is so important… from the font selections to the color choices, the logo has to be reproducible at all sizes.


Ron James

Sep 01, 2010 at 7:35am

Thanks for the article and tips I enjoy reading them and I enjoy the work on open resources. One thing I like about some logo’s is that there could be a subtle hidden emblem that really doesn’t matter if anyone really sees it because it doesn’t take away from the brand. But once you see it you can’t help but notice it every time. (such as the fed ex arrow between the e and the x) Again thank you for your work and tips.



Oct 11, 2010 at 12:40am

A very clear, informative article in an easy to read style. Love it!


delali karumbidza

Jan 30, 2011 at 9:23pm

This is so great! thanx!


Anyanwu anayo peter

Jul 05, 2011 at 2:26pm

Thanks for the inspiring article!



Aug 10, 2011 at 2:39am

Hello! Interesting site! I’m really liking it! Very, very good!



Jan 10, 2012 at 3:00pm

A company logo signals the identity of a company. It represents the overall individuality and image of the company.


Dubai Monsters

Dec 04, 2014 at 9:55am

A logo is a visual representation of your company. A unique and eye-catching logo can go a long way in establishing your business identity and creating brand recognition


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