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Logo tips from the biggest brands

We all know that a logo should be unique. That’s the whole point of them –to represent your company alone, a design that somehow encompasses what you are all about and consumers associate with you the second they set eyes on it. Copying someone else’s logo does you no good, it makes you look as though you have so little going for your business you have to rely on another’s good image and may even cause you legal problems. However it is unavoidable that your design will be at least somewhat similar to others, after all there are only a certain amount of colours/fonts/shapes in the world. Beyond this, you may notice the same colours or basic shapes popping up again and again –even amongst the most popular brands in the world. Why? Certainly not because these huge companies can’t afford better designers, it’s because they work.

A 2015 study which looked at the top 50 of Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” found that red and blue were by far the most popular colour choices, with 25 out of the 50 using one of these shades as their dominant colour and blue being slightly more popular (a 2009 study backs up these as being the most popular choices, also noting that red was slightly more common in the nineties before being taken over by blue in the last decade). It also showed the preference for keeping the colour scheme of a logo simple, with 43 of the 50 using only one or two colours within the entire design. A very colourful logo can easily look garish, in practical terms it can also be a bit of a nightmare –a logo needs to stand out and look good across many backgrounds and it may need to be translated into black and white at some point, more colours mean more chance of clashing and make any changes difficult.

In addition to examining the design traits of the logo, the same study polled 1000 people to discover what they like best about the brands’ logo designs. Interestingly they found that despite rectangle being the preferred logo shape of the brands, those polled favoured round designs. However both shapes are very simple, making them easy to replicate across platforms and also stick in the mind. It also showed that clear, upper case text was the preferred option for the company name, and the name was written in full in 42 of the brands.

So, what can we take from this? That the world’s biggest brands know that the logos which make the biggest impact are also the simplest. It may seem like the best way to create a memorable logo is to go for something very complex and different, thinking that it will stick in people’s minds. Instead you are best off keeping everything very simple, using one or two colours and an easy to read font to leave a lasting impression.