What makes a good logo?

By Pelican designer Gary Nip

It’s human nature to make instant judgements based on appearance. Despite the old adage, we are constantly judging books by their covers. With this in mind, what do your customers think when they see the front cover of your business: its logo?

Why is a logo so important?

First and foremost, people have notoriously short attention spans, so making a strong first impression is imperative. Your logo is usually the first thing consumers know and remember about your brand. If designed well, it will grab their attention and make them want to find out more.

Secondly, it’s often the key reference for every design decision you’ll make. The colour palettes and font choices you use in your logo will inform everything from letterheads and business cards to website landing pages, helping you create a marketable brand identity.

What makes a good logo? 

There are several elements that all successful logos have in common. They are:

  • Distinctive enough to be easily recognised and differentiate a brand from its competitors
  • Effective enough to work across any media
  • Effective at any size
  • Able to instantly convey the personality of the brand

The Apple logo is a great example, although the iconic design we know today is a world away from the original 1976 design: a drawing of Isaac Newton sitting beneath a tree with the apple hanging from it.

Creative? Yes. But just a year later Apple changed its logo to a single apple. The simplicity of the Apple logo means it’s universally recognised, easily remembered and can be used in any colour without losing impact.

When you think about the most well-known logos, you’ll also realise that over time, and as the brands behind them have grown, the text has been removed.

The Nike ‘swoosh’, the golden arches, the Starbucks mermaid – all no longer need the brand names, to be instantly recognised.

Upcoming logo trends

Whether you need a new logo or are looking to refresh an existing one, it pays to know what design trends are on the horizon. Here are three to look out for.


Though this design trend has been popular for a while, it’s set to evolve in the next year. Minimalism in 2021 will centre around linear elements, shapes and thinner lines.

Retro design.

Thanks to the simplicity of the shapes, muted colours and on-trend typography, retro design is steadily making a comeback. Your logo may be brand new, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tap into that most powerful of marketing tools: nostalgia.

Motion Design

We usually see the logo as a static image, but we may have to change our thinking. With the advancement of technology, animation and videos have become an integral part of visual advertising. An animated logo is an opportunity to hold attention for several seconds longer than a still image, increasing the chance your brand will be remembered.

An example of this in practice is the Pixar logo shown before the beginning of a cartoon. Admit it, you can see it hopping across the screen now.

Whether you opt for an up-and-coming trend or go for more tried and tested techniques, dare to be different with your logo. It might be your only chance to tell consumers why your business is unique.

Why you need a designer

While logo design is just one element of branding, it is the centrepiece of most branding schemes. It can be tempting for businesses – especially start-ups – to try and save a few pounds by using cheap services that churn out generic logos. Be warned though, these are produced without consideration of your brand’s values and personality, the industry or the market.

It’s also not enough to design something you personally like, a logo is an important tool that provides consumers with instant recognition of your business and the services or products you offer.

You need an expert who will work closely with you to produce the perfect logotype or brandmark that will become the signature of your business.

If you need help creating or re-designing your logo and don’t know where to start, get in touch today to speak with one of our designers.

Pelican Communications is a specialist in the environment & CSR, food, packaging & logistics and trade association sectors and offers a range of services such as strategy, design, content creation, public relations and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.

Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash


Apple logo progression