What Makes a Great Logo? 4 Essential Elements of Brand Identity

Your logo is no small thing. A good logo becomes synonymous with your brand. It captures the essence of what you stand for and what makes you unique. A good logo works its way into the memories of your customers, without pushing its way in. It’s unforgettable yet unpretentious. Golden arches, the silhouette of a bitten apple, a red-and-white bull’s-eye—not only can we easily name the brands behind these iconic logos, we can describe their products, personalities, and key differentiators. Your logo is nothing short of the heart of your brand’s identity.

So, what makes a great logo? Whether you’re just getting started or in the midst of repositioning an existing brand, there are a few elements that every powerful brand identity includes.

Know Yourself                                                                                   

In order to create an identity to which your audience relates, you first have to know who you are. As mentioned, the best logos capture the essence of what a brand stands for and what makes it unique. So it stands to reason that you should have these fundamental truths figured out before you sit down to craft your identity. Start with the basics. What are your brand’s purpose, vision, mission, and values? For what reason does it exist, beyond making a profit? From there you can define your brand’s personality, its behaviours and characteristics. Each of these core tenets and distinctive attributes will help to inform the design of your brand’s identity.

Know Your Audience

Once you have a thorough grasp on who your brand is at the deepest level, it’s time to turn your attention outward. Just as important as understanding yourself is understanding those to whom you’re communicating. Insight into your target audience segments enables you to craft an identity to which they’ll relate. So, what are the demographics and psychographics of your target audience(s)? What are their needs and wants? What motivates them? What style or aesthetic do they most readily identify with? Answering these questions will go a long way toward determining how to shape your identity so that your customers will not only notice it, but be moved by it.

Work With an Experienced, Creative Design Team

A successful logo isn’t realised on the back of a napkin. It’s a complex, nuanced process of trial and error involving colour, imagery, symbolism, typography, and layout. While you may not need to invest the staggering amounts of money that someone like McDonald’s or Apple does on logo design, it’s important that you work with a team who knows what they’re doing. At this point, you know who you are and to whom you’re speaking, but only a team with proven experience developing creative solutions to visual messaging will be able to translate your vision into an effective identity. Good designers approach the challenge from many different angles, offering you ideas you may not have thought of. Plus, an expert third-party is the only way to remove bias from the design process and ensure a maximally effective logo. One thing to keep in mind is that whichever design team designs your logo will come away from the process with an intimate familiarity with your brand and audience. Working with the same team on initiatives like website design and digital marketing ensures cohesive identity across channels.

Be Consistent

The final element that goes into crafting a great logo is also among the most important. A brand’s identity is only effective if it is consistently implemented across channels. One of the most powerful effects of a good logo is recognisability. You want your audience to have an immediate and unconscious association whenever they see your logo. But a logo is only recognisable if it is expressed in the same fashion, every time, regardless of medium. There will often be different versions of a brand’s logo—one colour, two colour, four colour, black and white, reverse—but guidelines should be in place for when and where it is appropriate to use each version. Consistency ensures you’re getting the most out of your meticulously designed brand identity.