Designing Memorable Logos

Memorable-LogosThe branding agency Siegel+Gale has just released a study about what makes a logo memorable. They polled people to see what brands they considered most memorable, then asked what aspects made the logos memorable.

The methodology of the Siegel+Gale  study useless for helping anyone designing memorable logos.

  • First, the methodology only determines what brands are most familiar–and that is more a function of longevity and prominence than it is of good design.
  • Second, most people cannot accurately tell you why something is memorable to them. They will say “simple,” for example, as a reason something is memorable, but rather often, very simple designs are also very forgettable.

Here is some better advice for designing memorable logos:

  1. Make it meaningful. A strong visual metaphor has impact and clarity, which enhance memorability.
  2. Make it different.  There is no excuse for anyone anywhere to ever design another swoosh logo.
  3. Make it understandable. If you can describe it, your brain can better retain it. People can describe the Apple logo, but what about Microsoft’s?
  4. Make it exciting. The old Yahoo! and Ebay logos were fun, bouncy and exciting. The new ones are boring sans-serif, corporate-safe and forgettable.
  5. Make it practical. Will it fit on a tiny part or work as a favicon? Will it scale to the side of a truck? How will it look as a lapel pin? Is it dynamic for television or Web video? Think about how the logo will be used and make sure your design fits.
  6. Promote the heck out of it. Prominence and longevity–lots of exposure over a long time–drives logo memorability. A good design is a start, but excellent execution is what makes the difference.

The Web and Designers blog has a whole series of articles that are far more helpful than the Siegel+Gale study for learning about designing memorable logos.