Let’s get something straight, there’s no such thing as a simple logo. A logo, by its nature is complicated. It has to be concise, and represent the idea and function of your company in its simplest form. It is something like a Chinese character, functioning at the same time as a word, a letter, and an idea. Every stroke in a Chinese character forms a beautiful combination of a meaning. Like a logo, some characters include multiple characters (or images), creating new meaning when they are joined.

When I have new clients ask me for just a “simple logo”, they may not realize that even the simplest of logos take 30 to 40 hours.  And logos can cost upwards into the millions and months to figure out.  When I was working at Team Detroit around in early 2000, Ford had a company from the UK come in to do a complete exploration of the blue oval and their identity.  After millions of dollars and thousands of different indiscernible versions of the blue in the blue oval, and hundreds of variations on where the glint in the logo should be, the blue oval stayed virtually the same. It took an entire team of experts and marketing managers to realize the blue oval was fine. The blue oval has gone through iterations over the decades, and been updated to reflect that.

“But I only went a little bit of text and one small graphic”, clients say. “That shouldn’t take too long.”

It shouldn’t, but it does.  Doing a logo the right way for a client is a process, that should usually start with a brand positioning statement (if the client does not already have one). Having a clear vision about what the brand needs to communicate will expedite the process in creating a good logo. The brand position helps a graphic designer identify the critical things the identity needs to communicate.

Lastly, the logo and tagline should be simple, and doing something simple takes time and restraint.  A strong and simple themeline communicates in one look what your company is about.

The simplified process for developing a logo:

  • Identify brand statement/positioning
  • Themeline/tagline explorations
  • Graphic explorations
  • Logo iterations
  • Color and Font variations
  • Final logo

Some other things to think about. When someone is designing your logo, make sure it is neither too vertical, nor too horizontal. A logo needs to work in many applications both large and small, online and offline. So although something may look cool on your computer screen, remember the many application your logo will be used in. Also, as a client, ask your graphic designers for all your build files when your logo is complete. You own those files and have a right to all the editable files for future use.  When you create a print ad or website, your developer/designer may ask for those.  You want the originals.