4 attributes of great logo design

When a client asks me to design a logo, I take into account the 4 major things a logo should do: identify, personify, differentiate, and adapt. These 4 functions are the foundation in creating an excellent logo from scratch.


The most important part of a logo is the brand name. There are 2 types of brand names:

  1. names that identify what the company does, and
  2. names that don’t.

Timeless brands like Coca-Cola, The Weather Channel, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks Coffee are names that quickly identify what the company does. Names like Apple, Nike, Sony, Lego and Microsoft don’t identify the industry, yet we all know what they do because the brands are established.

Sometimes company start-ups start with brand names that include the industry name, but after time drop it because it’s not needed. Take Apple, for example. In 1976, it was founded as Apple Computer, Inc., but in 2007 the industry word “Computer” was removed (read more at Wikipedia.).

With start-up businesses, it’s usually a good idea to include the industry or the element that is commonly known by all.


A logo should reflect the company’s personality. This is true not just for the graphic element (also called an “icon mark”), but also the font-face. Selecting the right font can make all the difference in the world and sometimes, if the style is applied correctly, the logo may not need an icon mark at all. On the other hand, some icon marks do very well even standing apart from the brand name. A famous example is Nike’s swoosh.

Beyond the font-face and an icon mark, another important element to take into consideration is color. Color psychology plays a huge part in the personality the logo represents:

  • Red: usually means authority, passion, decisive action
  • Blue: corporate, stability, competence
  • Green: earthy, money, health
  • Yellow: happiness, youth
  • Purple: a little bit like red—royalty, authority and sophistication


A brand should stand apart from the others. If a logo doesn’t personify a brand, it won’t differentiate it either. Unique design elements often help make a logo distinct.

Take a category like fast food. Isn’t it amazing that McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Hardee’s and Arby’s all look very different from one another? They stand apart because they were designed strategically. The font faces, icon marks and colors were carefully chosen to make each brand unique.

If your logo looks like the other guy’s, you may want to think about overhauling your logo.


A well-designed logo communicates a brand’s meaning and emotion at any size on any medium. This means whether you are looking at a billboard, a website, a print ad or a business card, the logo can be scaled at all different sizes and still convey a consistent message.

Logos should also look good in black and white, and they should be simple enough to be embroidered or screenprinted on promotional products.

And so …

The goal of a logo is to make a memorable impression, so potential customers immediately recognize it when they see it and know what it stands for. A well-designed logo will identify, personify and differentiate your brand, and will adapt to a number of platforms.

So how does your current logo match up? If you think it could do with a bit of tweaking or even a complete overhaul, give DTS a call. We can build you a logo that will help your brand get the recognition it needs.

Speak Your Mind