Logos are amazing things. They are just a few simple shapes and colors, and yet they have an amazing power to convey feeling and emotion. Alone, yellow M’s typically do not create a hunger for hamburgers and fries, nor do green mermaids fill your nose with the smell of freshly ground coffee. But we associate these reactions with logos, which are why they are so important to design well and protect.
But what goes into a truly great logo? Below are our five choices for the best logos for current products, and there are definite similarities that can be drawn between them.
One of the most consistent recommendations when designing a logo is to keep it simple, and Nike does just that. A checkmark, two primary colors, and (sometimes) their slogan. And that, really, is it. Carolyn Davidson, the artist behind the swoosh, only charged $2 an hour for her work, and her final bill was a paltry $35. Phil Knight, one of the founders of Nike, was not immediately wowed by it, but accepted it and began its use. To his surprise, it became on of the most well-recognized logos in the world. (He also did end up giving her a bit more than the original $35 when his company took off.)
Besides its simplicity, the logo fits the brand. It is an athletic shoe, and is based on convincing its consumers that it can help with overall sporting prowess more than any of its competitors. The Swoosh is quick, streamlined, and fits the natural contours of a show. While this may seem a little silly, imagine if they put a square on the sides of their shoes instead; the shape adds a lot to the perceived qualities of the show.
The arches started as an actual structural design of early McDonalds stores, but became so tied to the McDonalds brand that they have remained an ever-present part of their logo. When the older buildings were viewed at a particular angle, the arches intersected to create an M. Interestingly, when they were updating their look in the 60′s, the golden M we all know so well started as a stylized V but was turned into an M by McDonald’s head of engineering as a nod to the original design and the company’s name.
Simplicity, again, rears its head but goes hand in hand with basic nostalgia. Those beautiful arches ordained every happy meal of our childhood, and seeing them tends to bring up old memories of french fries, hamburgers and little plastic toys. There is nothing implicitly delicious about an M, but it is the memories we associate with it that continue to make this logo so famous. Combine that with the color yellow, a color that can evoke feeling of hunger, and you have one great logo.