First, let’s go over the basic logo truths. The general consensus among designers is that logos should be unique, scalable, simple, and work well in monochrome. This is all sound practice, and this article does not argue against any of these mantras. That being said, there is more to gauge quality than these common prerequisites.
With the growing use of tools like 99designs and sites like Upwork—finding awesome logo work is actually quite difficult in the age of the internet. Huge corporations and even medium-sized businesses are difficult to penetrate for an agency, and startups often want to stay lean and outsource their work. Also, due to the digitization of design, we often see less creative forms because graphics rendering programs afford linear forms such as squares, triangles, and simple ovals. In other words, illustrative uniqueness isn’t as popular now because paper and pen (hand, not mouse) skills are actually declining per capita.
What is the Function of a Logo?
To understand what a great logo is, we must first consider its purpose. A logo is essentially a tool for conditioning. Businesses need a way to differentiate their products and services from their competitors, and they do this through unique stylization of the packaging, advertisements, and messages that they offer. If logos and branding didn’t exist, there would be no way to easily indicate who you were buying from. We would be stuck reading every single label and description for every product. Products and services would then be stripped down to their pure utility—we could only determine the value of something based on its actual function. Although this is a Marxist dream, imagine if every product, restaurant, and company had the exact same label set in the same type with the same colours. Would that not be a more boring world to live in? Thus, novelty is extremely important in business, culture, and branding. To conclude, a logo is the unique form (smallest amount of stimuli) that communicates the ownership of a particular good or service.
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