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Logo Checklist: 4 Must-Have Elements

If you’ve followed along with any of our previous posts about logo design, you’ll know that we take it very seriously. We feel strongly that your logo is not your brand. It’s a part of it, but you can’t expect your logo to carry the entire weight of your brand.

Logo design should be simple and recognizable. As business owners we often want our logos to represent everything that we do and everything we have been through. Instead, it should accurately identify the business and elicit the desired feeling from customers.

But first, we’re going to take a look at four items on our logo design checklist and show you examples. Each final design meets all of the four criteria, but you’ll see how each uses the checklist items in different ways. And no, we won’t be doing before-and-after shots here. We’re only going to show the simple and effective “after” views.

Please keep your current logo or desired logo in mind as we work our way through each item.

Great Logo Design Checklist Item #1: Readability

We know that “readability” isn’t sexy or something that comes to mind when you think of high-end logo design. Most design firms probably wouldn’t even think about broaching the subject with their clients. But, that’s just who we are at Allen Wayne.

In our 50-year history, we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses, associations, and government agencies. One of the biggest challenges we see with these entities is how to communicate the entire name of the organization into the logo not to mention taglines.

Here’s a great example of the importance of readability in a logo design we did for an association event.

In early 2020, American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) was hosting there 59th vegetable and flower seed conference in Monterey, California. They needed their logo incorporated with the event information. They also needed the design to be consistent across the printed materials, signage, access badges, and mobile-friendly website.

In one cohesive event logo, the following had to be clearly spelled out:

  1. The company name—American Seed Trade Association (ASTA).

  2. The long history of the event—59 years in a row.

  3. The purpose—vegetable and flower seed conference.

  4. The location—Monterey, California.

  5. The date of the event—February 1 to February 4, 2020.

As you can see from the final result, we were able to communicate all of this event information into one logo design.

While there is certainly a lot of copy and information, the font styles, font sizes, and use of colors makes the event logo incredibly easy to read. The most important elements are front and center and take up the most real estate.

This design really highlights how important readability is with logo design.

Great Logo Design Checklist Item #2: Modularity

In this example, we want to sow you the importance of making your logo modular. It should be like the couches you see on TV where they can be endlessly configured to suite every purpose and occasion.

To achieve logo modularity, each piece needs to stand alone and work equally as well with all the other pieces.

The work we did with Veterans Outdoor Fund is a great example of a modular logo.

Clearly, the configurations of this logo are infinite. The components each represent the brand and the mission while being able to be used in all types of mediums. This logo has been used on T-shirts, in brochures, in digital formats, and on company annual reports.

No matter the configuration used in these mediums, this logo and its components are immediately recognized as Veterans Outdoor Fund.

Great Logo Design Checklist Item #3: Contrast

Now we want to talk about contrast. There are a few ways this can be applied. So, to help you as much as possible, here are three ways to incorporate contrast in your logo design:

Contrast in font weights and font sizes.

The example with ASTA applies here. If you’re not doing an event logo and instead doing a business logo, having the company name in a large and heavy font with a tagline in a smaller, thinner font can create excellent contrast and dimension.

Contrast in color.

Adding color or making color changes isn’t just for aesthetics. You can add impactful emphasis on certain words or iconography to elicit the feeling you want from potential and current clients.

Here’s something that many people don’t consider from the start: Background colors.

It is important to think about background colors when determining your color pallet. You want to create a visually appealing contrast with your background color and you want to make sure your logo will hold up when printed or placed on multiple colors.

Contrast in scale.

Large or oversized icons can also add the right imact to your logo. Typically, the company name would be the biggest or tallest item in the logo, but you can have versions of your logo where the icons take center stage given their relative size.

Great Logo Design Checklist Item #4: Brand Consistency

One of our favorite logo designs of all time was for Family Shelter services. We actually did an intensive brand discovery workshop with the organization’s leadership. After the attributes, position, and voice of the brand were defined, we went about the work of creating the new logo and identity.

Because of the important work this organization provides as well as the vulnerability of the people they help, it was critical that the new logo was consistent with the work they had done for years and would continue to do.

Our color theory work followed the brand attributes, reflecting tones of hope, trust, growth, healing, and understanding. The final logo design focuses on a light of hope rising over the horizon, with the land reaching out a hand to help the community.

This logo actually exemplifies all of the four checklist items in that it is readable, modular, has contrast to show dimension, and is completely in line with the brand that needed to convey the appropriate emotion.

Learn More

We’re Allen Wayne—a full-service creative agency with a diverse, talented team that works strategically and collaboratively with our clients to create phenomenal brands. We crave challenges. We solve problems. We develop solutions. Allen Wayne goes Beyond Design to craft an identity and personality for your entire operation. Contact us today and unleash our creativity on your business and brand.


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