Rules of Thumb for Good Logo Design

Over the years, the logo you design will be slapped on just about anything: letterhead, billboards, stickers, websites… So, how do you make sure it’ll work in seemingly infinite possibilities? These rules of thumb go a long way towards a logo that will work for the long haul.

1. It Works in Black and White

A logo can really standout with interesting colors, but, you’re not always going to be able to print your logo in full color. Make sure your logo works well in monochrome.

I always start my logos in black and white, then move to color after I have a good form. If you have a great black and white logo, it’s only going to get better once you add color.

2. It Works at Small Sizes

Does your logo fit on a business card? On letterhead? How about on a beer cap? If it works at small sizes, it’ll work when it’s blown up on a billboard.

3. It’s Easy to Understand

Sure, you’re going to get it. You designed it. Show it to your friends and co-workers. But! Be sure not to say, “What do you think of this?” That opens up a can of worms that isn’t helpful to anyone. Ask what you really need to know, like, “Can you read what this says?” or, “What does this symbol mean to you?” You’ll be surprised at what you think is easy or obvious that other people don’t quite grasp.

4. It’s Quick to Sketch

Can you (or, even better, a non-artist) draw the logo in a few simple strokes? The longer it takes you to sketch, the more complex your logo is. Think about some iconic logos that you might have sketched in the margins of your notebook. Nike? Black Flag? Apple? They’re all simple shapes that if a non-artist draws them, it’ll still be recognizable.

How’d you do?

If your logo hits all these points, then you’re on your way to a nicely formed logo. Be sure your logo actually meets the goals of your project though. Otherwise you’re not being a designer, you’re just making something pretty.

Do you have any rules of thumb you use to evaluate your logo?

2 responses to “Rules of Thumb for Good Logo Design”

  1. Yes! I love how these rules all lead away from busy logos with more than point to make. All the logos I love seem to be pretty simple: less is more, right?


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