Logo Design Basics That Designers Must Follow

In order to become a professional logo designer, there are certain basics that you have to follow and understand.  Let’s find out and learn more about it!
Created by Lucas Fields | https://dribbble.com/shots/19119985-New-Dribbble-Masthead

Many designers are unaware of the basic rules to enhance a logo design and improve its value. It's more than just being visible or outrageously expensive. But a good symbol needs to convey and communicate the company's values.

One of the most common issues with designers is hitting the same roadblock. They have already spent hundreds of hours working on a logo yet can't submit it to the client or receive rejection one after another.

This is a common problem because they forget the logo design basic principles. Most designers are being choosy and only pick the principles that can benefit them.

And when they hit the roadblock, they have no other way but to resort to these basic principles. Instead of treating these principles as options to choose from, they need to see how these values can help them create a good logo design.

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What Makes a Good Logo Design

A good logo means more than just a picture. It's more than just a pretty combination of text, color, and images. A good image has to be memorable and represent the brand well.

The public mustn't have any problem identifying the logo anywhere. And since the symbol is an extension of the face of the brand, it must be easily recognizable. Many large companies became household names thanks to how their symbol is easy to remember. 

But being memorable isn't the only thing that makes a good logo. It needs to fit several more aspects. It has to be aesthetically pleasant and timeless. To help designers and the public understand what constitutes a good logo, we present the eight basic principles of logo design. These principles can work as an outline work on. And maybe some designers can draw inspiration from them as well.

Created by Lucas Fields | https://dribbble.com/shots/18497896-forma-logo-design


The 8 Basic Principles Of Logo Design

A good symbol needs to have almost all of the basic principles here. When it comes to preferences, designers and clients can have different perspectives. And the public also will have their say in that matter.

Some people may consider these principles to overlap each other. But one thing is for sure; these principles are better when the designer utilizes all of them during their creative process. 

Breaking down these logo design basic principles means more than just explaining. It also means providing extra information on why they matter. Designers can't dismiss or disregard any of these principles no matter where they are and what they're working at.

Created by Abdullah Mubin | https://dribbble.com/shots/16616404-Vofievty-Logo-Guidelines

As a foundation of a good design, these eight principles can help designers to give their best work that the client will love. There are no buts and ifs, and these principles are certainly non-negotiable.


1. Being Timeless

A good reason why IBM never bothered to change its symbol is that it's a timeless design. Back then, the logo was considered as groundbreaking and unique mainly because it highlights and capitalizes on the fact that IBM is a computer company.

But after many decades, and where companies often see changes in their symbols, IBM stays the same. This is not without reason since the brand name and image merged and became the company's real ambassador.

It's worth noting how Paul Rand, the creator of the IBM brand image, has worked for other companies. Yet the simplicity and timelessness of IBM's picture are what people remember him for. His case is a prime example of how being timeless can transcend various applications, including the designer's reputation. 

Created by Abdullah Mubin | https://dribbble.com/shots/18144994-F-Logo

The Japanese company Nintendo has changed its brand image numerous times ever since its inception in 1889. But they are keeping several logotypes at the same period for different purposes. However, ever since the mid-1960s, the company has stayed with the simple image of its brand name inside a circle. Despite some changes, the overall look stays the same. 

Being timeless has a strong connection with being memorable. However, both principles are not exclusive to one another. Many memorable ones are not timeless. Yet, a good logo will always be memorable and timeless at once.

Created by Irma Shonia | https://dribbble.com/shots/19205930--Horse


2. Always brand-appropriate

Another key principle in designing a symbol is keeping it brand-appropriate. This is a reason why Lego hasn't changed its image for the past couple of decades. Let's take a look at Toys "R" Us as an example.

As one of the largest toy retailers worldwide, Toys "R" Us is synonymous with toys and fun. Many people have a fond memory of the brand. Their image reflects the fun any visitors can enjoy when they visit.

They put the R backward to imply that a kid wrote it. The designer understands that they need to make any kid feel relatable and thus attracted to come. And the parents also will consider the store as the best place to buy because of its logo.

Created by Omnium | https://dribbble.com/shots/17174457-Selected-marks-2021

In this sense, the designer nailed the project and managed to keep it that way. As the store's image only has a minor change in the decades, they're in operation.

The same goes for the luxury brand Chanel. Ever since its inception, they are using two Cs as its logo. Most sources said that the brand's founder, Gabriella "Coco" Chanel, didn't intend to use her name as a logo. The design was inspired by the monastery where she spent most of her childhood. It only worked for a better association that she shared the same initials with the logo.

Throughout the decades, Chanel never altered their logo. This logo reflects the clean and geometric cut that the fashion line has. And until today, most Chanel designs are easy to recognize due to their style. 

Created by VASK®️ Studio | https://dribbble.com/shots/17434261-Harone-Brand-Identity

Most clothing brands will take the name after their founders. It's to tell the public who they are and the brain behind the brand. And how they present the logo gives the public an idea about their styles.

Another example is the brand Supreme and Off-white. Both are new brands focusing on hip-hop and street culture. Their logo, similarly, is only the brand name in white with the block of colors as a background. And this reflects in their design which is often loud with vibrant colors.

They also put their symbol obnoxiously across the clothing item in a way that seems to disregard the overall style. They are doing the logo design basic principle of being true to the brand and keeping it appropriate.

Keep in mind that the relationship between the image and the brand is an exclusive one. Any issue with the logo will reflect badly on the company and vice versa.

Created by George Bokhua | https://dribbble.com/shots/18157081-24


3. Keeping it Simple

A simple design can speak a lot and goes a long way. This principle works for various aspects, but its most popular application is in the design world. Both client and designer expect to work with a less-complicated image. But the definition of simplicity differs for each person.

The designer's task is to provide the client with a clean and simple image yet still follow their requirements and tick all of the boxes. They need to convince the client that a simple image is good and will benefit them in the long run.

The best way to do it is by doing a simple logo design. The designer following this principle will prove to the client how keeping everything simple will help them in the long run.

Created by J.D. Reeves | https://dribbble.com/shots/18914263-Recent-unused-S-logo

Simplicity doesn't mean empty or limiting the idea. It's about compiling a myriad of ideas into one before breaking it down to the very core. Many cases of simple symbols go a long way. 

This logo design principle reminds the designers that it's about the final result. Having a clean design with simple lines often bode well for the company. They have a bigger chance to be memorable and timeless due to having a simple logo.

Another thing to remember is how a good and simple image can possess a certain charm and elegance. Many luxury brands, such as Cartier and Svarovski, show the huge benefit of keeping their images as simple as possible.

Keeping the brand image simple also will highlight the products and services they have. Let's see the case of Omega. This Swiss-based watchmaker only has the Greek letter for the word "Omega" as its logo. The simplicity makes it memorable. Many people will quickly think of the watch when they see the Greek letter, even though it's not on a watch.

Created by Abdullah Mubin | https://dribbble.com/shots/16709339-Calsa-Logo-Design


4. Originality

Many designers are struggling with the idea of being original. Most of them believe that originality is all about bringing a fresh and new idea. That is a common understanding of the word original, but for a logo design, it doesn't necessarily that way.

Oscar Wilde once said, "Be yourself; everybody else is taken." This quote aptly summarized the issue with originality. Many people believe that being original always means showing something novel that nobody ever sees. And that is the main problem that has no solution.

With more years and more world population, there is no such thing as originality anymore. A designer who traveled the world and brought their information to the design may think they are creating something new. But the truth is, the indigenous people have seen the design often.

Created by Lucian Radu | https://dribbble.com/shots/19205864-Geometric-Rabbit-Logo

There is no saying that the design has 100% ingenuity. A new design today must have a root from decades ago. Whether it's a blatant copy or plagiarized is another matter. But it's safe to say being original means staying true to the designer's nature.

A designer can learn from fashion designers and fashion enthusiasts who understand how fashion is a cycle. And that's the same with logo design. It's a cycle that will repeat after a couple of years.

Most creative people have issues with this logo design basic principle. Since being novel is highly impossible these days, it makes more sense to interpret originality as being true to nature while keeping the design fresh. They may need to make some compromises, but that shouldn't be a problem.

Created by Shawon | https://dribbble.com/shots/17965790-F-Logo


5. Always Versatile

The quote from Sagi Haviv, the genius designer, encapsulates this principle. He said, "Logos survived because they can adapt in multiple formats." And that is the true meaning of being versatile.

Most designers think that this principle is easier said than done, and they are not wrong. It encompasses various understandings that designers are free to interpret. 

Designers are free to adapt and adjust the logo to fit their needs. And having multiple variations is only one of the many examples of being versatile.

Created by Stan Aleyn | https://dribbble.com/shots/16971994-Valory-Dark-Chocolate-Posters

Having a versatile symbol means the designer can use the image on various media they're using. It can be a print, stationery, digital advert, TV advert, and more.

As one of the logo design basic principles, being versatile means the designer needs to try the symbol on various media. They need to ensure that the final product will look the same as in the primary image.

Created by Masum Billah | https://dribbble.com/shots/18090608-letter-f-logo-water-drop-logo-design-branding


6. Complementary

The image needs to be able to stand out by itself but also connect and match with the others for a better picture. It doesn't necessarily mean that it has to fit in. But it's more to how the designer makes the symbol complements other images or text in the stationary.

This principle is very much in line with the previous principle about being versatile. When most designers think that it's a matter of size and media, complementary is a matter of how to make the whole image look good and reflect well for the brand. 

For example, take a look at Domino's pizza's brand image. It has a loud red and blue domino leaning to the side of the brand's name. Some people may find it redundant. But the image supports the brand's name and vice versa. 

Created by Davor Butorac | https://dribbble.com/shots/18854715-Logo-Collection-2021

The slant is a deliberate direction to have the public's attention to the brand's name. And it also to reflects how most pizzas are in the picture, slanting to one side. And now, the public only needs to see a red and blue domino to think about ordering a pizza.

Another pizza place also follows this logo design basic principle. Pizza Hut with a red roof on top of the brand name. The picture has changed several times throughout the decades, but the principle stays the same. It's a red roof above the name. The public only needs to see a red roof to think of pizza. And when they see the name pizza hut, they picture the red roof right away. 

The public can see how the logo designers are locking the image with typography. They can see it in various food products and apparel. Brands such as Pepsi, Burger King, Subway, Givenchy, Adidas, and many others are following this principle. They only need a glance to see the image to invoke the name.

Created by VASK®️ Studio | https://dribbble.com/shots/16513001-CETAN-Logo-design


7. Balance

A balance in a logo design covers a wide array of things. It's more about the design's aesthetic and how it will appeal to the public. Some images may look askew or slanting to one side. But in all its entirety, it's a balanced picture.

Having a balance doesn't always mean the image placement or style; it's also about the colors and the image they want to highlight. Even the most complicated picture will have a focus and background to support the primary focus.

Keeping the proportion and balance can be problematic for some designers. Therefore, they need to remember to have a focal point to hold the logo's weight.

Created by Andrii Kovalchuk | https://dribbble.com/shots/18740875-Wolf

As one of the logo design basic principles, this idea is fluid and open to various interpretations. But one thing for sure is that being balanced covers various elements. It's about the image and text proportion as well as the colors they choose.

The designer needs to show to both the client and the public that their color choice is working in harmony and stays balanced. The focus will be on both the image and text. 

Created by younique | https://dribbble.com/shots/16858956-STEFA


8. Memorable

A good logo design has to be memorable. There is no but and what if for these final principles. A good logo means it lasts in the public's mind a lot longer. This lasting impression is one thing all designers need to achieve. 

Some designs take time to grow in public. But the company can see how the public responds to its new logo.

Many clients will enforce the idea of being memorable as their priority. It's understandable because the logo is their company's face. And it should be easy to achieve once the designer knows how to work their ideas.

As a logo design basic principle, being memorable is one that everyone knows best. Many people take memorable as the main requirement for a good logo.

Created by MD ALAMIN | https://dribbble.com/shots/19272262-O-Logo-Orbitals


Final Words

It doesn't matter if the designer is fresh off school or a veteran with decades of experience. Following these principles can be challenging for all of them. Keep in mind that a designer is only an agent of the creative mind. It's about meeting the requirements of the client. 

However, by keeping these principles in mind whenever they work on a design, they will enjoy the work or can produce high-quality designs. And on top of that, they're keeping their creative mind full of fresh ideas. 


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