Your logo is a visual representation of your brand.

It brings to mind everything a company stands for. Think about the golden arches from McDonald’s or the rather minimalistic apple logo with a bite taken out of it from Apple. Both logos are not only easy to immediately recognize right away, but it is clear what they offer—fast food and tech products.

Your company may not have the brand recognition as these two companies do. But the importance of a quality logo cannot be stressed enough. Logos are often the first impression that consumers have with a company.

So get it right the first time to establish a strong brand identity. Here we look at several design tips to create a great logo that makes a lasting impression.

1. Keep it Simple

The number one rule when designing a logo: Keep it simple.

One thing that logos from the top brands have in common is that they are all kept relatively simple without any needless clutter. This a valuable lesson when designing a logo for your company. Complicated logos are not only difficult to identify, they make it harder for audiences to engage with.

One only needs to look at the Nike logo to see this principle in practice:

 Even a company that does billions of dollars in revenue a year has resorted to a simple swoosh in all its branding. Even a minimalistic design can be powerful and timeless when done correctly.

2. Convey the Brand’s Message

Logos act as an introduction to a brand.

Some of the best ones are those that have meaning behind them and convey a message. The FedEx logo may seem rather plain but take a closer look and you see an arrow within the typeface pointing to the right.

The Apple logo features a fruit missing a “byte”, a wordplay on“bite”. The logo is also said to be a tribute to Alan Turing. Wikipedia is another good example as their logo represents an unfinished globe from puzzle pieces.

Each of these logos have different meanings behind them and convey to some degree what the brand focuses on. Even before getting started with a design, think about the message you want to convey. Remember, your logo will be used on all your marketing materials including your website so it needs to make a good first impression.

Research other brands in your industry for inspiration. But be careful not to blatantly rip off any designs. Your own logo must be original and reflect your brand.

3. Think About Colours

Every aspect of your logo needs to be taken into consideration including colours.

Bright colours are useful to capture attention but they can also appear brash. While softer tones reflect more sophistication. Companies such as McDonald’s and KFC use red to make their logos more bold and also to stimulate hunger. Colours such as black, white, and gold relationships are often used by companies such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada to exude luxury.

Here is an infographic that breaks down the psychology of colour:

So with that in mind, the colour you select in your logos should be reflective of your brand.

4. Decide on a Typeface

Logos typically consist of a symbol and a wordmark.

The exception are companies such as Apple, Nike, and Mercedes who have all spent decades and billions of dollars on making their symbols renowned. Instead of symbols, some companies may instead opt to make their company name as their logo.

Here is an example from Coca-Cola:

Logos from Nike and Coca-Cola are easy to recognise. One has only a symbol without any lettering while the other has its company name in a unique typeface as the logo. The approach you decide on depends on the kind of name your brand has. If your company name has a rather generic name, then you might want to include a symbol that others can identify the brand by. But you could easily get away with just a custom typeface if your brand name is more unique. If you decide on using a typeface as your logo, then use a custom type to ensure that it is unique.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Companies such as Apple and Coca-Cola may have different logo types, but they focused first and foremost on building a strong brand.

5. Be Flexible With the Design

Logos from companies such as Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, and FedEx are iconic. But it took time before the logos began gaining traction. Even these companies and many others have changed their logos throughout the years.

Here is the original logo from Apple:

And here is what the original logo from Coca-Cola looked like:

So the logo you design will undoubtedly evolve as your brand grows. But it is still important for logos to encompass the key principles of good design. A great logo is not only simple, it is also easy to identify and is a reflection of the brand.