It can be difficult to summarize what makes a great logo great. Often times the simplest of logos are the most memorable but there are plenty examples of complex logos that are able to convey their brands identity clearly. So when designing a logo it is important to keep in mind its purpose. Will its main purpose be front facing on a website shown on countless different screens or on a tag on someone's new pair of pants or on signs on the side of the road or a sports team identity or an app icon. A logo's purpose can vary widely and keeping a brands identity in mind when designing is important.  

Form & Function

Form: The way a design looks; its aesthetics with its use of shapes, lines, and size.

Function: The designs purpose; an identity or emotion that is trying to be conveyed. 


A logo design can fall into a variety of different categories from wordmarks (Google) and monograms (Louis Vuitton) to emblems (NFL) and icons (Twitter) or any combination of types. A logo should be recognizable which means it should be memorable. Something that has become more and more important with the ubiquitous use of cell phones, a logo should be scalable as well. 


A logo's main purpose is to be a recognizable band identity. Where the logo is mainly going to be seen is a legitimate design consideration that should not be forgotten. Therefore a logo designed for a bank that has global branches and online banking should be different than a logo designed for a sports team. 

Designing a Logo

1. The Problem: As with almost all designs you should start with the first step of the design process, and that's to fully understand what the design is for. What is the purpose of the logo design, what function will it serve and what form do you like. Before putting pen/cil to paper determine what the needs and constraints are for the design. Think about the brand's identity and any message the logo should covey. 

2. Research: Search for similar brands and see if you think their logo's work. Or look at brands whos logo's you know work and try to figure out why. (I bet its because they understood the final form of their logo blended well with its function) Your brand isn't the first trendy burger place or apparel brand that uses sustainable materials. Start to get your creative juices flowing by getting inspired by other examples both good and bad. 

3. Brainstorm: Sketch, sketch, sketch. Come up with multiple logo designs in a variety of styles and types. Don't just draw one logo design and move right to putting it on a t-shirt. Iterate and challenge yourself to rough sketch dozens of designs. Some will be awful and should never see the light of day but there will be some that are worth giving a second look. 

4. Design: Start to further develop an idea that you feels meets the brands identity into a full logo design. Make sure that you consider that this logo is going to be used in a variety of ways. From packaging to apparel a logo needs to be designed with things like scalability and purpose fully worked out.  

5. Feedback: Get feedback from clients, step away from the work for a minute, research some more. Then go back to the design brief and iterate your design and make any improvements you may have gotten from others looking at your work. Be open to suggestions but make sure that you are still fitting your design intent. 

6. Finalize: After taking in feedback and iterating the design finalize your design and present your work to the client. Remember you are not designing a logo for yourself, you are working with a client to realize their vison for the logo. Present the final design in a way that conveys your design intent and have mock ups ready to show them how the logo will look in the real world.