Table with logo sketches, color wheel and logo printout

Four Key Traits of Successful Logos

While your logo may not directly affect your sales funnel, it can have a strong influence on brand loyalty and perception. Every time we discuss brands that clients admire, Apple and Nike almost always top the list. More often than not, we find clients discussing the traits of a logo to represent the brands. Both of these examples, as well as many others, have 4 key traits – differentiation, flexibility, memorability and timelessness. Designing around these four traits lays a strong foundation for a logo that will thrive with your brand.

1. Differentiation

The easiest of the four traits to understand, differentiation ensures that you stand out. With over 600,000 businesses estimated to launch this year, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of logos being created and updated. Finding a unique voice amongst all of the clutter can be challenging. By focusing on competitive research around color you can begin to identify opportunities to own your brand palette. In addition, using custom type and/or a custom logo mark can further push you into the spotlight. Broad exploration mixed with rounds of refinement in execution helps to move you further away from the obvious ideas taken by current and future competitors.

2. Flexibility

From a practical standpoint, your logo needs to work micro to macro in size, in addition to black and white only. Simplicity is the key. While print and design technology has grown with new techniques and features, it’s important to remember DISS (Design It Simple Stupid). Gradients, lighting effects and transparencies can look interesting, but none of this translates well to etching, engraving, and embroidery commonly used in promotional items. Starting with black and white ensures the widest range of applications.

In addition to flexibility in production, it’s important that your logo can represent your brand beyond the next 10 years. Creating a logo that isn’t grounded in what you do will accommodate shifts in services, products, and your audiences. Abstract logos tend to weather the changes that many companies experience, especially moving from startup to the self-sustaining juggernaut you aspire to be.

3. Memorability

To understand memorability it helps to look at how our memory works. Our brains can remember a lot, but only in small bytes. It’s the reason phone numbers are listed as 123-456-7890. It’s much easier to recall 3 groups of numbers versus one group of 10 numbers. Simplicity and differentiation combine to drive stronger recall and long-term association of your logo and colors for your audience. Limiting to 1-2 colors for your logo with simple design will maximize recall, while differentiation will minimize your marketing spend to familiarize your audience.

4. Timelessness

The hardest trait to wrangle, timelessness will minimize the expiration date of your logo. Staying away from popular styles and trends ensures longevity and differentiation. Following trends means you’ll frequently be updating your logo, and every update brings confusion and attrition of fans and clients. A strong logo should not reveal the year it was designed.

By baking these four key traits into our process, HCK2 creates a solid foundation for custom logo design.