The 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:
- Make it meaningful. A strong visual metaphor has impact and clarity, which enhance memorability.
- Make it different. There is no excuse for anyone anywhere to ever design another swoosh logo.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.