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What makes a great logo design

March 30th, 2012


1)      The company’s name is the inspiration for a lot of great logos!

What do the logos of Apple, FireFox, Taco Bell, Shell, Puma all have in common?

logo designs


All of these logos include an identifying object directly related to the name. This technique presents its own benefits and challenges. The benefits are obvious: it is very easy to identify the company name just by looking at the symbol and it makes the logo look clever. It also makes it memorable. The challenges come into play if you have a company name similar to that of one already on the market. How do you make your “apple” look different?


2)      There are logos with a recognizable object not associated with the company name.

For instance, Playboy, Starbucks, Lacoste, Bacardi, Michelin, Peugeot...

logo designs

These logos have an identifiable image not related directly to the name of their company. This is really not less effective than the previous way, and many successful companies use this technique. Some of those logos have a hidden meaning or a story behind them, but if you don’t know that story already, it is usually hard to connect the dots: why is there an alligator on a fashion garment, exactly? Others can be related to the enterprise’s field of business. The Michelin Man logo was a great success. Even though it has no story behind it, it does convey the feel of a company producing tires filled with air. Usually, it’s very difficult for a designer to come up with an identifiable image not connected to the company name without getting some kind of story or meaning behind the concept.

3)      Another very popular form of logos is the text based logo.

For example: SONY, Google, Lego, Coca-Cola, Ford…

text based logo designs

All of those companies have great logos. However, be aware that creating a text based logo is the most challenging form of logo design. Note that all these brands have a relatively short name, which is crucial in designing this kind of logo, lest it will be heavy and cluttered. Another challenge for the designer is to conjure up a creative and unique font. Text is not the easiest thing to make memorable. A lot of the time these logos are nothing more than just a regular font, or a minor color or background treatment. The most important factor, however, is how cool the company’s name itself is.

4)      The most popular form of logo design is to use one or several letters from the company’s name.

For example: Facebook, Honda, McDonalds, HP, Motorola, Baskin Robbins…

logo designs based on letters


This is the ultimate and most flexible way to design a logo. It has several benefits: it is easy to connect to the name, and it is open to different styles and interpretations as long as it doesn’t have to be related to a recognizable object. The designer is free to experiment with different styles as appropriate for the business.

5)      And the final style is a free form, which might also integrate some of the above techniques.

For example: Adidas, Pepsi, Audi, BP oil, Nike …

logo designs

These logo symbols are related neither to the company name nor to any identifiable object.

The idea here is an abstract image that conveys the feeling the company wants to convey. For example Nike’s logo is a swish – fast motion, sleek image. BP’s works with a concept of “Green” and uses a contemporary multicolored style to appear young and hip. It is the easiest style for a designer to work on.  The designer is totally free of any restrictions imposed by object or form. However it is very difficult for the client to pick the logo that is most suitable for his business from a choice of several.

To sum it up here are some basic rules to consider:

1)      Try to come up with a company name that can be associated with some kind of recognizable image

2)      If the name of the company is generic and not associated with any recognized object, think of a story or any other type of recognized object that might be suitable for your business and logo.

3)      If you have a very unique and short company name, the text based logo might be suitable for you.

4)      If none of the above rules apply to you – using some part of the name might work the best (such as one or several letters)

5)      And finally the most open style - just have an abstract image associated with the company

In conclusion, when hiring a designer to work on your logo, think about these directives first. Not every style is applicable to every business and every company name.  If you want to have a logo like Sony’s, don’t choose a name ten characters long. If you like the style of Apple or Lacoste’s logos, think of a concept, name, or story.

Leave Your Comment

You are welcome Iris! Thank you for the comment

by PavelDecember 13, 2013

very helpful...Thank you! Iris

by IrisDecember 09, 2013

This is sooo useful for any person planning on ordering a logo design. I wish every client would read this before ordering. I would even say start thinking about the logo the same moment you are thinking about the name.

by PavelSeptember 04, 2013