What makes a great logo?

A great logo can provide your company with a boost but actually visualising an image that embodies your company and projects what you stand for isn’t easy. Creating it is even harder so this article seeks to help you understand what you need to consider during the logo design phase.

The five main principles of design are: simplicity, memorability, adaptability, uniqueness and colour scheme. When your logo is being designed make a checklist of these five things to measure how viable and appropriate your logo will be.

Simplicity and memorability

Great logos are memorable and easy to describe. Ask the next person you see to describe, not draw, these logos including the colour scheme: McDonald’s, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Nike, Adidas, Qantas and Vegemite. They’ll pretty much describe them to a T because those logos are simple and memorable.

Iconic brands like Starbucks are the exception to this which proves not all logos have to be overly simple but the easier your logo is to describe out loud the more eye-catching it will be in actuality.


Logos needs to be versatile so when designing a logo consider all of the mediums it will feature in. Detailed logos can lose a lot of its effectiveness when shrunk as they can if the colour is changed. Your logo is going to look different on a billboard than it will on a computer screen, in a magazine, on a business card or company stationary.


They say there is nothing new under the sun but that isn’t an excuse for not even trying for some innovation. Copying logos or even taking heavy inspiration from a popular design isn’t a great idea as you risk looking cheap or being sued for plagiarism. Anyway, you want your logo to be about you, not a knocked off version of someone else.

Colour scheme

For branding experts it’s possible to identify patterns in logo colours that fit certain feelings and how they play a part in purchasing decisions and brand association. A study undertaken by the University of Winnipeg, Canada, found that almost 9 in 10 initial reactions to products and logos could be linked back to the colour.

The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science also found that purchasing decisions can be affected by how colours manipulate and influence brand perception.

Colours are considered to be indicators of the personality of a brand. There are 8 main colour schemes that companies use to convey their personality or message: monochrome, green, blue, purple, red, orange, yellow and combination.

What do the colours say?

Monochrome is favoured by companies like Apple, Nike, Mercedes, Adidas and Playboy. It is said to project balance, calmness, neutrality, sophistication and aspiration, especially with high-end products like you find with Apple and Mercedes.

Green is used for health, nature, peacefulness and growth. You’ll see it with brands like Land Rover who market their cars to rural consumers; food businesses like Tropicana and Whole Foods to enhance their healthy living credentials and Starbucks to imply fresh, natural ingredients.

Tech companies like Intel, Dell, IBM, HP, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress use blue to highlight their trustworthiness, dependability, competence and strength. It’s also favoured by conglomerates, popular car manufacturers and financial providers like American Express, JPMorgan, Ford, VW, GE and Walmart because they want to be seen as reliable and consistent.

Food and drink brands like Coca-Cola, KFC and Budweiser, who appeal to under-25s more, employ red as it is considered an exciting, bold, youthful colour. It also plays well with new technology like video-streaming on Netflix or YouTube.

Purple implies creativity, imagination and wisdom – perhaps that is why wizards are so often pictured wearing purple robes – but it also blend elements from blue and red. Cadbury’s is an example of this as it wants to be seen as exciting yet dependable whilst Hallmark wants to be seen as trustworthy and creative.

Companies who want to exude confidence and cheerfulness opt for Orange. Orange works well with children and is favoured by Fanta and Nickelodeon. It is also used as an accent by companies like Harley Davidson and Amazon.

Yellow exhibits optimism, clarity and warmth. McDonald’s, IKEA and Best Buy are all about clarity. You know exactly what you are going to get with them. SubWay is dominated by yellow for clarity but they also accent with green for the healthy food aspect and white for balance.

Combination has to be done really well because it’s easy to confuse your audience – notice how the main brands who use combination are technology/internet giants like Google, Microsoft and eBay.

Get designing

When it comes to matching your brand personality to a colour scheme, remember that there is no evidence to suggest one colour will be more compelling than another. How your logo interacts with the colours is more important that the colours itself. The relationship between colour and brand is steeped in the perception of appropriateness and therefore your logo could be completely transformed with a colour change.

The feeling your logo creates will play a huge role in the perception of your brand and the strength of its persuasion. For that reason you must ensure that first your brand is simple, memorable, adaptable and unique before settling on a colour scheme. Think about your company’s core values, aims, strengths and achievements. This is what your company is made of and should be the factors that shape your logo.

We recently updated our logo to reflect the growth of our business and have had amazing feedback both from our business partners and customers. If you’re looking for assistance in this arena, you can learn more about here design services here. If you’d like to discuss what you’re after in a new logo, you can also contact us and we’d be thrilled to help.