Harp Interactive

5 Striking Characteristics for Successful Logos

How many brand logos do you think you see in a single day? Probably more than you can count.

Even if you just count the logos you see in the first 30 minutes after you wake up, we bet you’ll be surprised by how many you find. Think about it: from the Facebook icon on your phone after you swipe off your alarm, to the Head & Shoulders shampoo in the shower, the Colgate toothpaste on the bathroom sink, your morning Folgers coffee with a splash of Coffee-mate creamer, the Apple iPad you open to check the news on CNN, to the Mercedes logo on your key fob (you’re VP of Marketing, right?) as you run out the door, just to name a few.

With so many logos constantly in view, brands must thoughtfully design their logo to make a memorable visual impact. Below are five striking characteristics of a successful logo to keep in mind when developing or updating a logo that stands apart and turns heads.

5 Logo Design Concepts to Commit to Memory

Simplicity is Key

Ensure the logo is not complex or complicated, nothing fussy or over-designed. Go for the clean and simple approach instead. Not only will this make your logo more contemporary and timeless, but it also enables the logo to reproduce better for other applications, such as for signage, shirts, promo items, etc.

A great logo must also be clear and easy to read when reduced to a small size. We like to use the business card test. Ask yourself: is the logo still easily readable when small enough for a business card?

Taglines—Valuable Real Estate

A tagline is valuable real estate that should always be developed carefully to communicates the worth to potential customers or clients. We prefer taglines that promote the unique advantages the audience will gain or experience with the product or service (‘what it means’) rather than a more basic ‘what it is’ or ‘what it does’ type tagline.

The refreshed logo we recently designed for Peters & Associates follows the ‘what it means’ rule for the tagline. While this space could have been used to write “IT Consulting Firm” to explain what the company does, the words “simplify solve succeed” make a stronger impact in relation to what the company means to its audience.


Logo Design - Taglines are valuable real estate


Pro Tip: Especially try to avoid using precious tagline space to spell out the full name of the company for those organizations that use initials. For example, a company called “R&B” should not feel obliged to use the tagline area to spell out “Red & Blue”. (If it does, maybe we need to step back and work on the name. Hey, you can call us for that too.)

Element of Surprise!

Find something unique or interesting about the brand to create a logo with an element that contributes to the visual interest of the identity. Consider altering a letter or integrating a visual element with the font to help quickly communicate what the brand has to offer.

The trick to mastering the logo element of surprise is to keep it simple and natural. Achieving this may be as easy as changing one element of the name to a different color. This creative nuance should ideally serve to reinforce a key characteristic of the brand.

For example, the Quadhopper logo for nümi combines a graphic of a scooter with the font to visually explain what a Quadhopper is. The Q in Quadhopper is also altered to look like a power button, emphasizing that a Quadhopper is an electric, battery-powered scooter.


Logo Design - Element of Surprise


Reflect the Brand

With endless creative possibilities for the logo design, remember to stay true to the brand. Use colors, fonts and visual styles that reflect the brand.

Keep in mind that designing or evolving a logo requires knowing more than the brand name—you have to understand the brand personality itself. Is it serious? Playful? Conservative? You get the idea. Whatever the personality may be, the logo needs to illustrate that.

Let’s take a closer look at the nümi logo as an example.


Logo Design - Reflect the Brand


Notice the contemporary font style, the easy-breezy colors, and the emphasis on the u with umlauts, (which doubles as a smiley face for the fun nature of an electric scooter). All of these elements reflect nümi as a fun, care-free, forward-thinking brand. The blue and green help promote the outdoor and eco-friendly nature of their products.

Stand Out from Competitors

Ensure you’re not overlapping in fonts, colors, or overall aesthetics with a competitive brand.  Be sure you’ve researched the competition to help ensure your logo stands apart and is appealing on its own merits.

Ready to stand apart and turn heads?

Ask us about a logo refresh or a complete brand identity package. Brand development, brand evolution, and brand messaging are among our core strengths.