Thousands of logos compete for our attention every day. While we may not always consciously recognize their importance, when a change is made to the logo of a brand we love, collective protest is often the result.
In a much-publicized case a couple of years ago, Gap unveiled a new logo that was widely maligned. More recently, the University of California introduced a logo that represented a stylistic shift from the previous traditional look; the gradient effect on the C quickly became the focus of criticism, even motivating several online petitions calling for a repeal. In both cases, the organizations buckled under public scrutiny and reverted to their original designs.
Clearly we care about logos. But what makes a great logo? And how can you make one that not only stands out, but also cultivates a loyal following?
Experts note there are at least three necessary traits: It must be distinct from other logos (especially those of competitors), instantly recognizable (imagine it on a neon sign in Times Square) and legible at all sizes (from billboards to mobile devices). That said, there are many ineffective logos that follow these rules. What sets the great ones apart is that they help audiences connect with the organization's mission or personality in a meaningful way.
A memorable logo might be deceptively simple. Or it might have multiple levels of interpretation that allow us to fall in love with it over time, as we see it applied to advertising, business cards and websites. And while there is no certainty that a logo will stand the test of time, one way to prevent it from quickly becoming dated is to eliminate unnecessary content and to resist anything trendy.
The 20 logos showcased on the following pages were thoughtfully crafted with unique characteristics and wit that lend them eye-catching appeal and longevity. Let them be an inspiration as you create the public face of your own organization.