Keys to an effective logo

What will your symbol symbolize?

Some logos show a picture of a product or activity that a consumer quickly reads literally. Others have a subtle symbol that evokes a feeling or characteristic of what they're selling.

It's key to understand what the most important and appealing aspect of your business is, and to find the shape that represents it best. Then you can refine the weight, size, angles and curves in it, to ensure its greatest effect.

Shaping up a basic feel

People understand the different basic shapes to have meaning. Circles evoke harmony. Squares have solidity. Triangles have tension. Spirals are creative.

Similarly, the way those shapes are created has an impact. Those with smooth curves are gentle; those with sharp or jagged corners are energetic. Countless variations affect that meaning: open or closed, free-form or ordered, connected or separated, positive or negative.

There are three kinds of symbol shapes:

Geometric have regular, easily recognized, simple patterns.

Natural/Organic are irregular, often curved, and asymmetrical.

Abstract are simplified and/or stylized depictions of actual forms.

Line variations to add meaning

For each basic kind of line – vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved and zig-zag – within an image, there are variations that give meaning: blurriness, gracefulness, softness, delicacy, etc.

In combination or alone

Your logo may be a combined word form and shape/symbol, or you may want to sometimes use each of these alone.

The use of a symbol, when you're well-established, can make the viewer think of your brand name without reading it. This is quite powerful. But if the consumer is not familiar with that mark, it will have no meaning.

The word form you choose has the advantage of saying your brand name, and it can also be developed into a shape that carries meaning.

For brands that are looking to establish themselves, the combination is usually the best device.

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