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Logo Design Theories

Creative work and design is not an exact science, but that said there are a number of logo design theories that have proven over time to be effective. Here are the “big three” as agreed on my the majority of the design community.

1. Logo Identity

The most important aspect of any logo is that it is easily identifiable. That is to say that with one quick glance, someone glimpsing a logo can read and interpret it.

That might sound obvious, but less obvious is that the logo should be identifiable when presented by a number of different media or in different conditions. What looks good on paper, might not necessarily work well on a cinema screen, or a fax, or etched onto a glass door for example.

Good logo designers will take this into account and will create something easily identifiable in varying forms of presentation, lighting conditions, and so on. Clearly the scope of use for the design will have an impact on what can and can’t be done.

2. Logo Memorability

Did you know that on average, you need to see a logo 45 times before you remember it? And that’s the average for a logo using only two colors. Add a third or even fourth color and that figure increases dramatically.

A good logo should be easily memorable, and the key to that is usually found in its simplicity. Simple design and effective use of minimal color will make for a quickly recognisable image. If you consider the logos of some of the biggest brands in the world – names like Microsoft, Coca-Cola, or Ford – you’ll see that no more than 2 colors are necessary to create a lasting impact.

3. Logo Aesthetics

This last of the big three logo design theories deals not only with visual aesthetics, but also the underlying concept of the design.

A logo should of course be visually pleasing. But equally importantly the design should have some harmony with the product or service it represents. The black horse of Ferarri subtly hints at power and beauty for example, whilst the letters “TV” scrawled across a large M in the logo of music channel MTV suggests a certain mischievous youth.

Logo design theories are just that – theories. Nobody can say that a logo is right or wrong. A good designer will though, be mindful of these three criteria, and anyone buying a logo should be as well.

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