Three Rules for Designing Your Logo Today

Here's what we think you should consider before you launch your logo.

The first “logos” date back to the Middle Ages.  They were most often found in the form of a family crest.  These crests used many of the same details we use in logos today.  Colors, icons and words told the story of a family’s genealogy.  As years passed, crests and emblems began to develop into signs that told people whether you were a pub owner, a carpenter or a writer.  

When printed materials and advertising started to become popular in the 19th century, logos became far more important to a business’ brand. For example, the famous Coca-Cola logo that was designed in 1887 told everybody where they could stop for a cold drink. From then on, logos and branding became increasingly important.

Today, it is estimated that the average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 logos each day.  From the pen and the coffee cup on our desk to commercials, websites and billboards; logos are everywhere.  With so much stimulation out there, it’s important to keep these 3 values in mind when designing a new logo:

  1. Simple is Better
  2. Be Unique, Be Consistent
  3. Color is Key


It takes only seconds for someone to form an impression about a brand.  A Missouri University study found that it only takes 0.2 seconds for a website visitor to form an opinion.  As logos are one of the first things a user sees, it isn’t wise for them to be too complex.  Graphic heavy and intricate designs were more accepted in the past, but the trend we see today leans more towards a minimalistic and clean design.  Even some of the more famous and iconic logos, Burberry for example, have chosen to start fresh with a slimmed down look.


These quick impressions is where color comes into play. No matter what the logo looks like, choosing a color or multiple colors can take a logo from common to iconic.  There is a school of thought that says every logo should look just as good in black and white as it does in full color.  While I understand why the theory exists, I think today’s brand-saturated world requires color to be an essential part of what the logo is.  Perhaps a better way to say it, is that a logo should be identifiable in black and white, but unforgettable when in full color.  Colors should be carefully selected to be compatible with the brand and memorable to potential customers. 


When designing a logo, be aware of all the different sizes and formats that it will take.  A large logo on your website should be just as clear as the smaller one used for your social media profile or business card.  In the past, businesses never needed to consider so many applications their logos may take on, so more elaborate logos were used.  Much like web design, we also have to design logos that are responsive, meaning they may change slightly when viewed in different size formats.  The challenge today is to create a logo that is simple but distinctive. Striking but straightforward.  

Obviously, each company and brand is going to have different needs and varying messages they want to communicate to their potential customers, but these 3 basic rules can still be applied. Remember that while a logo is important to your identity, it is your potential customers and clients that the logo needs to attract.  Before making a final decision on a logo, whether designed by you or a design agency, get opinions from your peers and make an informed decision.


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