Branding: What Makes a Great Logo?

The final segment in our branding mini-series brings the previous two topics together, while also adding lots more things to think about. Your logo. It’s arguably one of the most important parts of the branding picture and the thing that everyone who interacts with your business will see and remember, so it needs to visually communicate everything you want them to think about your brand. No pressure, right?!

The question is – what makes a great logo, great? How do you know if something is going to work for your brand? And how do you know if the one you like will be liked by other people?

What your logo needs to do

The first thing to understand is that there are lots of things that go into making a quality logo. A logo is made up of several different design elements. The colour schemes, graphic elements, and fonts all come into play to create a quality logo that will convey the right message.

But it’s not simply a matter of aesthetics. The perfect logo doesn’t just look good, it needs to function too. There are four of the main things it needs to do:

  1. Differentiate your business within the marketplace
  2. Communicate your brand’s identity
  3. Attract potential customers, and finally
  4. Be memorable!

In the rest of this blog post, we’ll look at how you can design a logo that achieves all of these things!

Keep it simple

Einstein once said – ‘everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’

In logo design, the challenge is to make something simple that is also unique and interesting! The human eye likes symmetry, structural soundness, and a bit of novelty. Think about Apple’s apple with the bite taken out of it, Nike’s swoosh, and Coca-Cola’s simple typographic image. They’re all simple, clear images that are instantly recognisable.

A lot of brands are now simplifying and digitising their logomarks and wordmarks, particularly in fashion and car manufacturing. This is mostly down to the fact that their unique type styles or design elements aren’t working as well on digital and are seen as a barrier to global comms. There’s a lot of debate around whether this homogeneity is a wise move or not!

When creating a logo, a graphic designer will think about how all the different elements work together to make the most impact. From the colour scheme, composition of graphic elements and text to the fonts. They’ll look at your branding as a whole and consider things like logo colour psychology and font choice, which we talked about in our previous blog posts in the series.

Make it versatile

Even if your logo looks beautiful, it’s not going to be useful if you can’t use it for a range of different commercial ways. For example, your logo for social media might need to be less detailed than the one you use on your packaging. Think about other places where it might be needed, like company letterheads, vehicles and local magazines. Some of these may require a black and white version too.

When getting your logo designed, it’s important to make sure you have more than one version of your logo so that it can be applied to different assets, while still being instantly recognisable. And you need to make sure you get it in different size resolutions so you can scale it up if needed.

Consider different types of logos

There are lots of different types of logos, and finding the best one for your brand depends on where and how you intend to use it. Your logo could be:

  • Pictorial only
  • Typographic only
  • Letter marked – where you only use a few letters, like initials
  • Abstract, or
  • A combination of the above

Your logo doesn’t have to convey exactly what your brand does, but it does have to identify your business. So don’t worry about being too literal in the graphics or text elements. For example, a car dealership’s logo doesn’t have to have an image of a car.


Did you know that Coca-Cola hasn’t updated their logo in fifty years? Why would they, it’s instantly recognisable across the globe. Font styles come and go, but they’ve stuck to their distinctive style. Compare this to Pepsi, who have continually changed their logo throughout their history. You can see a timeline showing the comparison here.

Just because there might be a trend for ultra modern logo style, you don’t have to follow it. If your business is a small, craft bakery using old-fashioned baking techniques, then you should aim to convey that sense of heritage through your design choices. A good designer will be able to do this for you in a way that is both contemporary whilst also evoking those traditional values.

Even if you do want to update the logo as your business evolves, there should be a sound basis there, that just needs tweaking. One of the most iconic logos of all time is the Apple logo, showing a single apple with a bite taken out of it. It’s gone through different iterations over its 20-year history, but it hasn’t strayed from that recognisable image.

Tips from a designer:

  • Your logo might need to be used in black and white, especially if it gets into someone else’s hands, for example a magazine. It might be photocopied, scanned or even faxed! Your designer needs to make sure that it looks good in all situations.
  • It’s mentioned above but it’s worth repeating. Your logo doesn’t have to be a literal representation of what you do! Think about Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola – their logos evoke how the brand feels, rather than what it does. They align with their customers on a deeper level. On the other hand, a logo can be deliberately opposite to what a brand actually does. Take BP for example. A green and yellow sunflower does not depict a super massive oil tycoon, and that’s not by mistake. 

Designing a logo is a complex art with lots of things to consider. If you’d like help getting one made from scratch, get in touch and some of the Giant Peach experts will help you create something really unique and impactful.

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