The 6 Top Principles of Effective Logo Design

Updated December 26, 2023

The 6 Top Principles of Effective Logo Design

The 6 Top Principles of Effective Logo Design

A logo design for any company or organization can positively or negatively affect it success in the marketplace. So having an effective logo is hugely important. A well-designed and though-out logo connects on an emotional level with a business’ target audience and establishes a good rapport.

An effective logo must accomplish many things. It should be simple but memorable. Appropriate, yet graphically appealing. But more importantly, a logo design must communicate an intended meaning while generating interest and credibility for your business and industry.

Whether you’re opening a clothing store, restaurant or accounting firm, your company needs a logo that’s professional looking, unique, easily recognized, and memorable. When you think about it, that’s a pretty tall order for a small graphical element.

When developing a logo, Chris Dugas, Partner and Production & Planning Director at ZOO Media Group notes, “it’s important to follow a process that ensures that the final design meets the needs of your business, while properly representing your products or service offering. Logo design is the first step in establishing a company’s overall brand strategy. When you think of some of the more iconic logos through history, they generally share the same characteristics. Knowing this, we always strive to follow the same rules of thumb during our creative process.”

Let’s start with the definition of a logo.

Logo Definition

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word “Logo” under the business marketing section means “a design or symbol displayed on a company’s products, vehicles, signs, etc. that expresses the company’s character and purpose and makes it easy for customers to recognize and remember the company.” 

The keywords here are customer recognition and remembering a company.

You want your company logo to be fully understood and remembered when viewed on your website or marketing materials. An effectively designed logo attracts the attention of its consumers and is one of the ways to distinguish a brand from its competitors.  A logo usually includes a combination of graphics such as a symbol, typography, and colours.

We are also inspired by Saul Bass , the famous American graphic designer and Oscar-winning film maker who defined a logo as “…a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company.”  Some of Saul Bass’s corporate logo creations include Bell Telephone’s logo (1969), AT&T (1983), Kleenex (1962), Quacker Oats (1969), to name a few.

Saul’ logo designs are known for their unusual timelessness which should be a goal for all new logo designs.

Effective and timeless logo designs

Some of Saul Bass’ timeless logo designs


Here are 6 of the top principles that you should follow to help you create an effective logo design for your business or organization:

  1. Create a Brand Story
  2. Make it Simple
  3. Make it Memorable
  4. Make it Timeless
  5. Make it Versatile
  6. Make it Appropriate

1. Create a Brand Story

People love to hear stories and tell stories. All companies should have a story to tell about who they are, what they do and their mission. People will often like and remember a logo even more when there is a story behind it. So having a brand story is important when designing a new logo. Having a full understanding of the organization’s story will help you or your graphic designer create an effective new logo design that will help communicate this story visually.

If the company already has an established brand identity but wants to update their current logo, then make sure the team who works on the new logo creative understands that company’s mission, vision, goals, and target audience. Knowing what the company’s existing story is and making sure its fully understood is crucial when creating a new logo design.

Here are some examples of famous logos and the stories behind them:  


The Amazon logo tells the story of their company’s growth over the years where you see the arrow, which is also a smile representing customer service, pointing from A to Z, meaning Amazon offers more than just books but their online store provides everything you would ever need.

Amazon Logo - effective logo design


Using optical illusion and negative space techniques in their logo design between the letters E and X, notice the white arrow facing right which represents Fedex’s mission of offering their customers speedy delivery.FedEx Effective Logo Design Story

World Wildlife Fund

WWF’s commitment is to protect wildlife and wild spaces so what better symbol to use than the giant panda, an endangered specie due to the destructions of their natural habitat.

Efffective logo design Principles

2. Make the Logo Design Simple

Simplicity is a key ingredient in the development of any successful logo design. Just look at brands like Nike, Apple, and YouTube. All three of these logos feature something unique, without being excessive or using intricate design elements. A simple, uncluttered logo will create an identity that is memorable, be it on a billboard on the expressway, or on a crowded store shelf. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean boring.

Having a simple logo design means using 1-2 colours not a peripheral of colours, using easy to read font treatment with graphical elements that are clean lined and easy to understand.  The goal should be to have an easily identifiable logo at a quick glance.Top Principles of Effective Logo Design - keep it simple

3. Make it Memorable

Trying to design a logo that communicates your entire business concept in one simple word or symbol is impossible. So, instead of focusing on trying to ‘say it all’, narrow in on the values and ideas that your company stands for. What emotions do you want your logo to illicit? This approach will go a long way to creating a logo design that is memorable and easily associated with your company.

A memorable logo is also simple yet unique. A logo that looks similar to another logo or uses an icon/symbol that is commonly used by other organizations are easily forgotten or will remind that person of a different company or thing. This is not the goal!

Creating a unique design is how people will identify your business and how consumers will recognize and remember you. When designing an effective logo that is unique and memorable make sure your target audience will never mistake it for something else and will instantly recognize your brand when they see it. Your idea customer should connect the sight of your logo with what your company does or represents and, more importantly, how it makes them feel.Effective Logo design Residential Cleaning London Ontario by ZOO Media Group

4. Make it Timeless

If you can manage to make your logo simple and memorable, chances are it will also be timeless. Never base your logo on a current design trend. Does your logo design stand the test of time, or will it seem dated in 10 years? Longevity is the key where your brand identity is concerned, so make sure your logo is original while incorporating classical elements of design.

An effective logo design should be modern not trendy. A trendy logo should be avoided at all costs as it will only last a short period of time and then you would have to invest time and money to redesign it, so it looks updated.  Every time you redesign a logo you have to rebuild its brand awareness.

By keeping the design simple, a less stylized logo without any fine detail and use a symbol or graphical element that is completely unique and memorable, will last a lifetime. A well-designed logo should last for decades not just a few years.

Google is a great example of a timeless logo that has had very few updates over the years.Effective Logo Design - timeless

5. Make it Versatile

Your business logo is the visual cornerstone of your brand and a major component of your corporate identity. In order for a logo to be effective, it must be versatile and look great across a variety of media vehicles of all shapes, colours and sizes. You want your logo to look impressive under all conditions, even on a small pen, business card or embroidered on a shirt!

In order to have a versatile logo, it should be scalable and there should be a horizontal and vertical setup, reverse, black and white and coloured versions.  You also need to be keenly aware of the use of negative space, gradients, and intricate details. The more detail you include in your logo design, the harder it will become to use in various applications.  You want your logo to maintain its integrity no matter what context its being used for.

6. Make it Appropriate

Your business logo should be designed with an intended audience in mind. The logo should immediately tell the person who you are and what you do.  For example, you normally wouldn’t use a child-like font and rainbow color scheme for a law firm or financial institution. Keep your logo design and branding aligned with your company’s target audience and it will have a much better chance of effectively promoting your business. It’s only by thoughtful and strategic association with a business or brand that a logo design really begins to take on meaning.

Effective Logo Design - Appropriate

Effective Logo Designs - Appropriate


In Conclusion

Never underestimate the importance of an effectively designed logo. Having a well-designed effective logo and brand strategy helps businesses reach their audiences and be top of mind. Effective logos should have a story, be simple, memorable, unique, and timeless. Make sure the logo is scalable and versatile, so it always maintains its integrity no matter what media vehicle is being used and make it appropriate for your target audience.

For outstanding logo designs and corporate branding that will separate you from the pack, contact the London, Ontario graphic design team at ZOO Media Group today!  ZOO Media Group Inc also creates beautiful custom websites and provides digital marketing services for businesses throughout North America.