In its most basic form, logos are the symbols that represent an organization’s identity. An effective logo can become synonymous with its brand, representing that business’s reputation with a single, simple symbol.

Here’s a quick game, “Guess The Brand:”

  1. An apple
  2. A swoosh
  3. Two golden arches

Although most people don’t need the answer sheet, the answers are Apple, NIKE, and McDonald’s. Each brand has marketed itself so effectively that they are recognizable solely by their logo symbol.

When designing a logo, there are three main components: the name, mark, and tagline. An example of a logo that contains all three is Walmart. “Walmart” represents their name, the yellow starburst is their symbol, and their slogan “Save Money. Live Better.” is their tagline. These three elements combined represent Walmart’s logo. Since Walmart is effectively marketed, when people see one of the three parts of their logo, people recognize the brand immediately.

Some brands choose to do one or two components instead. For example, NIKE usually only has their signature black checkmark occasionally paired with “Just Do It,” and Apple usually only features their trademark apple symbol.

Since logos can have up to three components, what makes a logo good? There are five key rules to follow when designing a logo: simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and appropriate.

When creating a logo, it’s important to keep the design simple because simple logos are memorable and timeless. For example, McDonald’s golden arches are simple, easy to recognize, and timeless because their design is so simple.

When evaluating a logo’s versatility, one would have to test its effectiveness in various situations. Would the logo be effective if it was in one color? In reverse color? The size of a postage stamp? As large as a billboard? The best way to create a versatile logo is to design it in black and white because that allows the designer to focus on the concept and shape. If the logo looks good in black and white, it will look even better with color making it pop.

Making a logo appropriate means tailoring it for its intended audience. For example, having a pink color scheme with curly fonts might work well for a hair boutique, but wouldn’t work so well for a law firm. Ensure the logo conveys the appropriate tone by evaluating the goods or services it’s intended for.