Logo Design: The 5 Characteristics of Great Logos

lo·go /lōɡō/ (noun)

A logo is a graphic mark, emblem, symbol, or typographic stylization used to identify a company’s products, services, or brand.

Logos are an integral part of our lives and a fundamental part of a company’s brand identity. They are everywhere we look, from the virtual world of websites and social media, to the physical world of grocery stores and shopping malls. For companies, a widely recognized logo is an invaluable brand asset as it can greatly influence consumer behavior.

The logo is arguably the single most important piece of a company’s marketing and communication. Logos are placed on everything from business cards and brochures, to vehicles and buildings. A logo not only helps consumers distinguish between brands, but more importantly holds all of the brand's equity, reflecting the trust, quality, and reputation of the company.

To gain some insight into this important piece of visual marketing, we looked to flyte’s Creative Director Ryan Goan, who shed some light on the right “recipe” for a strong and memorable logo. 

Here’s what he had to say:

What makes a great logo can spark some debate among designers and marketing professionals but one thing is certain, all great logos share 5 common characteristics as illustrated by the brands below.

1. Simple
When designing a logo, simplicity should be at the top of the list. Most great logos tend to be simple logos. The simplicity of a logo allows for it to be instantly recognizable and memorable. For example, the Target logo is comprised of just 2 basic elements. The red circles are simple, powerful, and immediately recognizable. 


2. Unique
A great logo has that special something that makes it different, something that distinguishes it from the competition. A great logo not only should help differentiate a company from its competitors but also be memorable in the marketplace of brands. As an example, the Twitter logo uses color, shape and imagery in a simple, playful, and unique way to help them stand out from the crowd. 


3. Versatile
In our modern, global economy, a company’s logo needs to be versatile. The logo needs to adapt to a wide variety of uses and situations yet still remain visually consistent. A good logo should be versatile enough for use in mediums as diverse as print, digital, and environmental. The Nike logo is a great example of versatility. It translates well in both small and large formats, in a variety of colors, and a variety of consumer applications, all while maintaining brand consistency.


4. Enduring 
Great logos should be timeless and not confined by current trends. No logo will last forever but one of our goals as designers is to design logos that are enduring, that support the brand over time as it evolves. Designed in 1977, the Apple logo has changed very little over the last 44 years and the brand continues to grow while the logo endures. 


5. Representative 
A great logo should visually represent and embody the core brand values instilled in the company’s mission statement as well as the attributes of their products and services. Concepts such as strength, innovation, quality, technology, and collaboration are examples of attributes that can be visually represented in a company’s logo.  The Mercedes logo visually encompasses the company’s brand philosophy of premium quality and performance. 

So, how many of these companies could you name just by looking at their logos alone? We’re guessing just about all of them! Even if you don’t shop at Target or have a Twitter account, chances are you can still identify their brands instantly––and THAT is the power of a great logo. 

While your business might not be striving for global recognition like the brands above, these five characteristics are universal in their importance, whether you’re a small business or a national corporation. 

At flyte, we always try to hold ourselves to these standards when creating logos for our clients. Here are a few highlights from our portfolio (we are pretty partial to the first one). 


Maine Cash Access
Casco Bay Engineering
Royal River Natural Foods
Western Maine Water
Waltz & Sons

If you’re looking for a new logo design, or to give your current logo a facelift, contact flyte today!