Requirements for a Logo | What are Logos Made Of?

Requirements for a Logo
What do you need in a Logo
Commissioning a Logo
(RFT) Request For Tender for a Logo
(RFP) Request For Proposal for a Logo

The 3 Components of a Logo

A logo has one or two of three components

  1. an image (or illustration)
  2. text (name of the business)
  3. a symbol (like Nike’s tick) (

Abstract symbols (like the tick) need to be backed up by a big campaign to establish that symbol in the hearts and minds of your targeted audience. Symbols are a special case outside the scope of this article.

We will focus on logos that have images and text that our brains will immediately identify.

The 2 Types of Logo Text (Business Name)

If text in a logo is the business name. The business name is either an associative name or a family name.

  1. Toys R Us – a name that associates with business products and services
  2. Giorgio Armani or Marks & Spencers – the name of a person or family

Sometimes (like in the case of Apple and Amazon) the name doesn’t link to the nature of business, nor does it link to a person or family. These instances are incredibly rare.

What do you require in a Logo?

What do you require in a Logo? If you were commissioning a marketing of design firm to produce a logo what do you ask for? What do you insist on?

I am the Entrepreneur – I Need the Logo

If you need the logo you must decide whether you want a

  1. text only logo (of your business name) or
  2. a text plus image logo
  3. or an image only logo

Look at the below examples to understand what is best for your business area.

I know the type of Logo I want

  1. So commission a design company, a friend, even a design student.
  2. Avoid creating your own logo because you lose objectivity – most either hate or love their logo work – these feelings skew your judgement and your ability to step outside the box.
  3. Ask for 3 to 5 logo options and shortlist 1 or 2 to be progressed.
  4. Ask for each logo on 5 key mediums (see list below).

The logo quality checklist has 7 “must-have” bullet points – tick them off.
Ask 7 potential customers which logo catches their eye and generates interest – take the 7 checklist views and the 7 “customer poll” views into account – as the entrepreneur – you make the final decision.

The Logo Litmus Test – the Killer Questions

Talk to 10 random people – show them the logo and ask them these questions.

Talk to 10 random people, show them just the logo and ask them these questions.

  1. What line of business is this company in?
  2. What sort of people are their ideal customers?
  3. What’s different about these guys?

A logo that cannot communicate the line of business is useless.

If the logo can convey the target customers (kids, pensioners, pregnant women, car owners) it deserves a second look.

A great logo also conveys differentiation – what things does it do, that its customers care about – that makes it stand out from the rest.

If the logo is still standing after the 3rd question – ask the tie-breaker – do you like this logo? If most people say yes then you should seriously consider using it.

Before you do – there are still more things for you to consider.

The 10 Things Every Logo Must Do

Every logo has a job to do. There is a function to perform. That function is the same for any and every business slash organisation. The logo must

  1. be memorable
  2. convey the line of business
  3. be professional and likeable
  4. appeal to potential customers
  5. communicate how the business differentiates itself
  6. evoke the desired human feelings and emotions
  7. be visible
  8. use the appropriate colours
  9. make the right associations
  10. fit well in (on) 7 types of medium

Logo Checklist – How do I inspect a Logo?

Logo Plagiarism Check – Search the net for similar images (This is How) – If other shoes fit don’t wear it – your designer is stealing someone else’s work and is passing it off as their own – if your business becomes successful, stolen images will become a problem – and most of the time and money spent building your brand will be wasted. You may also lose reputation and trust – and once this is gone – it is nigh impossible to get it back.

The 7 Horsemen Checks

The 7 horsemen of the apocalypse are the why, who … questions. Look at how the below logos (brands) convey and communicate.

  1. Who you are – Colonel Saunders, Estee Lauder, Google, Jaguar (Fast animal, Beast, Predator)
  2. What you do – GMail (does e-mail) – Oracle (foretells)- is a font (database) of knowledge
  3. Where you are – London Underground (is in london and under the ground), British Airways (British and In the Air), London Eye (Use the Eye to SEE London)
  4. What you are – Toys r Us (says we do toys)
  5. When you are – Millenium Dome, Bet365 (You can bet 365 days of the (non-leap) year)
  6. Why You Are – British Heart Foundation
  7. How you are different – EasyJet – an easy jet not a difficult slow jumbo elephant

Look at the logo in front of you that has “Text and/or Images our brains can link (associate)”.
What does it convey, explain and say about your business? How many boxes does it tick?

Why Differentiation is Key – Logos must Differentiate

Differentiation – If another business can use the logo then how is your business different. Find the one or two things that sets your business apart from the rest. Potential customers must value those 1 or 2 things.

Your logo must communicate the thing that sets you apart from (and brings you together with) the rest. Bet365 say 365 days a year. Sets apart. The word “Bet” says it is a betting company.

Logo Colour

Does a particular colour lend itself to your business?

The AA provides roadside assistance for breakdowns. We associate yellow and black (high contrast) with making ourselves visible.

Therefore yellow and black is a natural colour for the AA.

Blue – Airlines, Ferries and Ocean Liners are blue by nature to reflect sunny skies and the deep blue sea.

Green – Organic foods, responsible business behaviour, renewable energy sources associate with either green or brown (earth/soil).

If a colour will trigger your customers to think of you – that colour belongs in your logo – entrepreneurs typically understand their customers better than designers – so entrepreneurs should be pushing logo designers towards one or two core colours.

The 7 Key Logo Mediums (Environments)

Any business even if it is just one man and his dog will need a logo that presents well on (and around) 7 types mediums. Each medium comes with its own set of challenges

  1. web page (ideally see through)
  2. shortcut icon (for bookmarks toolbars)
  3. letter head (in black and white)
  4. business card ( small space )
  5. social media (facebook, twitter, pinterest, gmail, youtube)
  6. physical media (doors, leaflets, billboards, t-shirts, mouse-mats, pens, coffee mugs, painted onto cars and lorries)
  7. long distance visibility – like the M in McDonald’s – the M is designed to be visible a mile away

Requirements for Web Page Logos

  1. Web Page – The challenge is to achieve a high quality image that is lightweight, see through and can adapt to different viewing perspectives (large PC, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, laptop).
  2. Shortcut Icon – very very small 16 pixels squared – max 32 pixels squared – must link with main logo
  3. Letter Head – logo on letterhead must present well in black and white

Logo Summary

I hope you have found this brief primer on business logos. There is much room for creativity and the logo is your one opportunity to make an impression and shape your brand image, your coorporate identity – in the heads of (potentially) millions of people.

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