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What are some examples of good logos?


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October 22, 2009 3:42AM


Originally developed to communicate an identity to the illiterate, a logo is a blending of a product or company name with a distinctive typeface and/or artwork. So, to a great extent, "what is a good logo" is in the eye of the beholder.

Certainly, some logos have the advantage of longevity. Logos for Coca-Cola, General Electric, and the Chevrolet "bow tie, " to name three, have been subtly refined over time, but still bear a strong resemblance to their original incarnations.

Other companies change their logos every few years; the most often cited motivation is "to keep up with the times." Pepsi-Cola has had four separate logos since the mid 1980's. NBC has had a succession of logos in its history, while CBS still uses the "eye" introduced at the dawn of television.

Without resorting to (copyrighted) pictures, it's easier to define what makes a logo bad than which ones are good. A bad logo may:

  • Not match the personality of its product. Imagine what would happen if the word "Marlboro" were rendered in a feminine script.
  • Be anonymous or characterless. Setting the brand name in Goudy Old Style (or whatever) is not a logo. It is a type treatment.
  • Be hard to read. You can't communicate the name of your product if nobody can read it.
  • Be changed too frequently. If you want to keep up with the times, fine, but be aware that it takes an immense amount of time and money to establish a logo in the public mind. If you don't have a huge advertising budget, don't change your logo.