Thousands of logos are created every year – and this makes it very difficult for new logos to stand out in the crowd. Because of the huge number of logos being developed, it could mean that the logos you’re creating are too forgettable. So what can you do to make your logos more successful? Should you go for a complex design, or a simple design?
Sometimes it can be necessary to make a logo more complex than you’d like, due to issues of copyright and uniqueness. But overly complex logo designs can be quite forgettable, particularly if they are a combination of the name and the logo. Logos are designed to be seen at a single glance, and if they are particularly complex, they might not make any impression on the consumer – meaning that no association is built between the logo and the company, making it fairly useless.
Complex logos can work really well for some companies, such as Starbucks, but this is probably due to the iconic colours used within the logo. A complex design that includes images, a logotype and numerous colours will be less successful than a simple design that includes a simple logo mark and logotype. A great litmus test of whether a logo is too complex is to show family and friends the logo that you’ve drawn, then ask them to recreate it. If they can only reproduce a small part of the logo, or if they cannot reproduce any part of the logo at all, it is likely too complex. If the logo has not made an impact on your friends and family, it won’t make an impact on a wider audience.
In general, the simpler the design, the more successful the logo. However, it shouldn’t be so simple that it makes absolutely no impact on the target audience. Instead, you should aim to create a simple logo that is in keeping with the tone of the company, or that accurately represents the brand – that’s what a successful logo is all about. You could create an unexpected, humorous or clever logo – but it can still be really, really simple. A logo does not always have to be immediately associated with the logotype, either – take the Nike tick as an example. When the tick was first used, it was used alongside the Nike logotype, but now, because that image is so well known, it can be used without the logotype.
You might also want to consider using a logotype only as the logo – Coca-Cola and Amazon.com, for example, both use their logotype as their main logo, and this helps massively with name association. Both Coca-Cola and Amazon.com have added interest to their logotype – Coca-Cola with the arrangement and font of the text, and Amazon with the “smile”. If you’re thinking about creating a logotype only, consider adding interest to it to make it more memorable.
- Make it memorable and simple, but not boring
- If you’re going to use a complex design, make sure that it can be recreated
- Make sure that it can be used on a small business card or on a large billboard – it should be easily replicable and instantly recognisable
- Make sure that the logo can be recreated in black and white, so that it can be used across a variety of media
Finally, remember that sometimes the obvious choice isn’t the best. It can be easy to get caught up in designing a complex logo without taking stock of how memorable or recognisable that logo is. Always consider memorability, whether you’re designing a complex logo or a simple one.