Reflections of a Great Logo

27 September 2013 on Design by Gennifer Richie

Do you ever wonder if your business or organization’s logotype is a great one? As a designer, it’s a question that I ask instinctively—whether of logos I develop for clients or ones I see in publications, displayed on the Internet, or plastered on billboards. Usually, while contemplating the relevance of the symbol of the day, I also wonder if I have a mental disorder that predisposes me to contemplate iconic imagery differently than other people. I mean, do normal people systematically interrupt their train of thought to study a mark’s style, palette, or font, often losing valuable periods of time trying to determine why certain design decisions were made, how a client could have possibly approved that logo, or why a designer didn’t try this or that?

Getting the logo right for your business or organization is not an easy task—but a most important one to say the least. A logo serves as the visual stimulation to kick-start your audience’s memory, leaving a greater and lengthier impact than words alone can do. It is the simplest and most direct way to state what you’re about—without a long-winded speech.

To help evaluate the success of your business or organization’s logo, below is a list of seven key attributes inherent to great logo design.

Does the logo convey your intended message? Does it give the right impression? Is it relevant to your targeted audience? If a logo doesn’t communicate with the right tone and style, it’s not doing its job.

Visual Impact
Does the logo have striking qualities that will leave a lasting impression? Is it memorable? It should also have as much visual impact when it’s reproduced in black and white as it does when printed or displayed in full color.

Can you easily read the text? It’s hard to believe how many logo designs miss the mark on this. And, if the graphic part of a logo is supposed to represent a boat, will your audience recognize a boat, or will they interpret it as something else? If the text and graphics aren’t recognizable, what purpose do they serve?

Does the logo incorporate an antiquated graphic style or an outdated font? Design for timelessness, so the mark will withstand industry and market changes over decades.

It’s likely that your logo will not only be printed on business cards and office forms, but displayed on a website, reproduced on brochures, featured on signage, and published in social media profiles. Likewise, there are times when it will be viewed on a desktop, mobile device, or in hand. A great logo will retain its integrity in every relevant application.

Does the logo represent your business and no other? After all, no two businesses are exactly the same. A logo must distinguish your business in a cluttered marketplace, often with just one quick impression.

Don’t confuse your audience with complexities. A streamlined logo design sends a clear, direct message. It also reduces reproduction issues and usage problems. Simply stated, less is more.

The development of a great logo requires a series of problem-solving iterations to achieve just the right combination of visual and verbal elements. So don’t limit the design process, and stay focused on these top qualities. In the end, you’ll have a relevant, effective mark that will stand the test of time—as well as an unavoidable case of logo-itis.


lo•go•i•tis [loh-goh-i-tis]
a mental disorder characterized by symptoms of obsessional thoughts or cumpulsive acts in regards to symbols, icons, or other graphic representations


  • Rachel
    6 years ago - Reply

    Our logo was one of the hardest things from the start-up period! We paid someone to design a logo and didn’t like any of them. Then we started dabbling on our own, then paid someone to translate our design idea into an actual logo. It’s been 7 years and I still like it. 🙂 One thing we would do over again is the color. The tan/beige is very difficult to match!

    • Gennifer Richie
      6 years ago - Reply

      For me, logo design is the most difficult—but also most rewarding—problem to solve for a client. Not only must the logo have all these great attributes, but the client’s essence must shine through, too. It’s too bad that your first designer wasn’t able to discover NTM’s essence, but great that you didn’t give up and are still pleased with your mark!

  • Joyce
    6 years ago - Reply

    I like it!

    • Gennifer Richie
      6 years ago - Reply

      Thanks, Joyce! Appreciate you taking the time to read!

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