We’ve learned over the years that  there are certain things to look for when developing a logo.

The primary considerations in the creation of a trademark, symbol or icon are always the same; Immediate identification, as well as the visual definition of what a company or product is or how it works, are the objectives. Developing a successful symbol requires meeting many different criteria. Listed below is a checklist of ten criteria that must be considered in the creation of a good logo, symbol or icon:

1. Visibility
Will it stand out in its surroundings to provide quick and memorable identification. Seeing how a logotype stands out among the chatter of a metropolitan downtown is a good visual test for many trademarks.

2. Application
How well can the symbol be used in a variety of applications? From the resolution of a video monitor to the heat stamping on a product. It must withstand numerous technical applications.

3. Distinctiveness
Will the application distinguish itself from its competition? It is important to note that many legal decisions are made based on how similar a mark is to its competitor, and many challenges have been won in the courtroom.

4. Simplicity/Universality
Is the symbol’s concept easy to identify? As those who have “overworked” a drawing will know, there is a point at which to stop embellishment. On the other hand, a few additional lines in a composition can make the difference in its readability.

5. Retention
Someone who will identify with a mark must play a small game of mental tennis with it. The Bank of America’s symbol is a good example of this – once a person has read the shape of the letter forms as an eagle, they will never see it any other way. If a symbol is
too easy to read, the viewer will feel no sense of discovery and thus no personal equity with the mark.

6. Color
It is good practice to design everything in black and white first, while keeping in mind the color applications. A good symbol must work in a number of technologies – such as a fax or photocopier – that are unable to display the subtle nuances of some color palettes or blind embossing.

7. Descriptiveness
Does the symbol reveal to some extent the nature of the company or product? A good symbol is one that is able to do this without being an exact literal translation.

8. Timelessness
It was once hoped that a good trademark would last from fifteen to twenty years. Now we are seeing corporate turnovers of identity programs within a five-year period. Even so, you still need to be careful not to follow current trends, for they have a limited
life expectancy.

9. Modularity
Will the potential mark the adaptable to numerous applications? We have seen the best marks diluted in their presentation by the way the support typography or other graphic elements are handled. All the elements must work together to form a single voice.

10. Equity
The age, use and recognition of a mark is also a primary consideration in its development. Knowing when and what to redesign are important considerations for the designer. If one were to be approached to redesign the Coca-Cola script, it should be hard to replace the value the current market retains.

Some have different opinions about the value of equity. For instance, in a dramatic move within the last year, Steve Jobs of Apple decided to change the famous Apple symbol from multicolored to a solid one-color mark. His rationale was that the old symbol reflected too much on the early days of Apple and not where the company was headed. In challenging this more, I would propose that it was those early days of invention by two young man in a garage that should be kept alive.

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2 Comments
  • admin

    You’ve probably heard that form follows function. In logo design, this means that you can’t create (or judge) a logo until you know what its supposed to do. A logo is only effective it it represents that which its meant to represent. Without accurate conveyance, its worthless.

    October 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm Reply
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