The Anatomy of a Good Logo: Understanding the Science Behind Visual Identity

What makes a good logo?

Your logo is most likely to be one of your customer’s first interactions with your brand, which is why it’s important to get it right. Before we begin, I feel like we need to clarify one thing—even though it’s generally the first thing people see, your logo is not your brand.

Throughout this article, I have broken down five of the principles we use at The Good Studio to make a good logo.

What is the function of a logo?

Your logo's sole purpose is to help your audience identify and recognise your brand. It’s easy to think of your logo as a country's flag; there may be a meaning behind the design, but its primary use is identification.

Key principles of a logo


Simple: Simplicity within a logo design allows for it to be easily recognisable, memorable and flexible when in use.

This might seem rather straightforward, but we continually see logos within the market that are way too complex. I believe that this is a result of clients placing too much pressure on a logo to represent everything the business does. I like to implement this rule—if a 4 year old can’t redraw your logo in sand, then it might be too complex. 

Memorable: Leading from the principle of simplicity is memorability. A memorable logo is generally achieved when we keep it simple, providing the viewer with a single focal point that allows them to easily recognise your logo. Look at what may arguably be the most memorable logo of all time: the Nike Swoosh—it’s simple, clean, and therefore instantly memorable.

Timeless: Logos, like everything, are not immune to trends. It’s very easy to jump on the latest logo design trend, but this will limit the lifespan of your logo as trends fall in and out of style. Creating a timeless design will allow for your logo to be fitting both for the present and the future.

Versatile: Ensuring your logo is versatile is paramount. We cannot always control when and where your logo is shown, which is why your design must be flexible enough so that it continues to work under all conditions. It should be able to work on not just back and white background but also be versatile enough to work on different coloured backgrounds. Your logo should also be scalable, legible when very small (app icon) and very big (billboard size).

Relevant: Last but not least is the relevancy of your logo. Your logo should be relevant and appropriate for your audience. A logo that would be suitable for a commercial property brand wouldn’t be appropriate for a millennial dental brand, for example. Be mindful of what your logo is representing, and the audience it’s meant for.

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