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What is Logo Design and what makes a great one?


With the average person likely to be exposed to around 5,000 adverts a day, without knowing it, you’re probably more attuned to what a logo design is than you think. But, to put it simply, a logo represents a brand and can usually standalone without text….

Picture two golden-yellow arches forming a large M, a tick with a sharp upward facing end or a black apple shaped icon with a clean bite taken out of it. Did you think of the brands McDonalds, Nike and Apple? If you did, you’re right. If you didn’t, I’m surprised you managed to avoid making the connection.

The point is, a logo design can often be an abstract object, yet still signify a brand on its own, in any context.

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As highlighted in the examples above, a logo design makes your brand memorable, creates a good first impression and helps to differentiate you from your competitors. But not only that, a logo design can help your audience build trust in your brand – Resulting in increased brand loyalty, engagement and repeat custom.

Here’s another example, let’s say you wanted to buy a famous pair of Nike trainers, and you head down to your local shop. You see a pair that you like, but the famous tick is no where to be seen – not on the shoe, the shoebox or anywhere on the product. Would you buy them? The chances are low.

Logo have become so intrinsic to the products that without them, trust is broken. A memorable logo design is a sign of quality and it builds trust with your audience by associating your logo with the amazing products and services you provide. Looking at the ‘Apple’ logo design for example, you automatically associate the brand with being market leaders that craft beautiful, smartphones, tablets and computers of the highest quality.

Logo designs are also the foundations to expand your brand identity. Going back to the Nike example, there have been many occasions where the famous tick has been fashioned into different colours and used creatively in advertisements or on the products themselves – and that’s without even mentioning the ‘Just do it’ tagline.

"Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company."

- Saul Bas

So what makes a great logo Design?

Now you know what a logo is and it’s primary functions, let’s take a look at what makes a good one. Here are the main elements to concentrate on when designing a logo.


In essence, this is the font or typeface. Most brands opt for two fonts that compliment each other which also creates consistency across their marketing material and other collateral whether that be physical or digital.

Many big brands have custom made typefaces that make up their logo design, such as Netflix, Google and Uber. In this day and age, where user experience expectations are high, going to a website and seeing a page full of multiple fonts will only distract and disengage the reader.

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An image can be as simple as the aforementioned Nike tick, or a it could be a more complex design. It could even be a monogram or a set of icons, such as the Louis Vuitton logo and the designs of their luxury couture.

Whilst you want to choose something unique, you don’t want your imagery to be difficult to decipher, as most companies will use their logo across multiple interfaces and platforms, often displayed at small sizes on digital devices.


Picking your colours for your logo design and brand identity is far more important than just making things look pretty. The colour you pick indicates your brand personality and values – are you innovative? Are you a business professional? Or are you fun and playful? – What do you want to communicate?

Most brands choose a complementary colour palette ranging from two to six colours, which can be used together across a variety of branding material. Many big brands even create their own custom trademarked colours, such as the iconic Coca Cola red, UPS brown and Starbucks green.

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A tagline is optional, it’s typically a short phrase that captures what your company does or it’s values. Whilst most popular logo designs can stand on their own without a tagline, they can offer context and help to build brand recognition in their own right.

"Identities are the beginning of everything. They are how something is recognised and understood. What could be better than that?"

- Paula Scher

What makes a logo design stand out?

This is very dependent on the nature of your business, audience, the message and branding design which will vary across industries. That being said, there are three things you should think about before creating a logo design.


Your logo design doesn’t have to be bigger and brighter than the rest to stand out, but it needs to be well thought out to resonate with your audience. Sometimes, the simpler you are, the better, after all design is visual communication.

Just remember Nike’s tick, it’s simple, slick and communicates an air of productivity, movement and achievement. The name ‘Nike’ is derived from Greek mythology, ‘Nike’ is the goddess of victory.

To find something that works for you, think about the values you want to communicate. For example, if you’re a company selling sunny holiday packages to families with children, you might opt for a bold colourful logo design that can be understood and relatable to a wide age range. In contrast, something more discreet and refined would sit better with business travellers.

Just think about the difference between economy travel brands and high-end, looking at the airlines ‘Ryanair’ and ‘Emirates’ as examples. Ryanair’s logo design uses a simple, all capital wordmark and bold colours – a cobalt blue and bright yellow which extends into the interior of the aircraft most notably in the design of the seats.

In contrast, the Emirates colour palette is far more discreet and refined, subtly balancing the colours of the United Arab Emirates flag with a muted gold which further communicates luxury. The Emirates logo design itself is very sleek and elegant, the custom typeface perfectly compliments the Arabic calligraphy.


This is particularly true for wordmark logo designs (logos that consist of only text). Don’t pick a wacky font for the sake of being different. You want people to be able to read your logo and make the connection with your brand without having to work too hard.

Many big brands use their company name as their logo design, which often seems to be a single made-up word, making it enough to stand out and easy to remember.


Think about where you want to put your logo. Whilst you might be dreaming big, seeing your business’ name in lights, sprawled on billboards across the country, the reality is, your logo design will most often appear digitally on small mobile devices.

You’ll want something you can use in your email footer, on social media, on your website design and an app icon. You need to create something that’s scalable – meaning it looks great at whichever size is required, whether that be on a big billboard or all the way down to a little bottle cap – legibility is key.

"Design is the silent ambassador of your brand."

- Paul Rand


Earlier we discussed the recognisable traits of global brand McDonalds, Nike and Apple. Let’s look at some other brands. A recent survey by Easyfair on 1,500 Brits found Fairy, Heinz Ketchup and Amazon make it to the list of the top 10 most identifiable brands.


Albeit quite a simple design, with the bold red typography against a white background framed by the iconic green which matches the product, Fairy has managed to become one of the UK’s most reputable household names.

Notice the cartoon baby – what does it signify? It signals that the product can clean items to a sterile standard required for babies, subtly reinforcing that the brand is family friendly. Furthermore, it could appeal to Mothers, often the primary caregivers and most likely to shop for the household.



With its iconic red bottle, Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a cupboard staple for many – but why? Does it really taste better, or is the brand’s heritage the reason it remains a firm favourite?

The bold black typography against the white immediately makes the brand stand out, and with the subtle marker to it’s heritage under the logo reinforcing its market differentiation. The tomato icon also suggests that the product uses natural, homegrown ingredients, again, separating it from competition.

The brand’s identity recently had a refresh, involving slight changes to the logo design, visual identity for marketing material and tone of voice, to align its array of products and reinforce its proud history and heritage.


The amazon logo design is simple, but effective. Did you ever notice that the arrow underneath the letters signals the journey from A to Z? This matches with Amazon’s delivery offering. You might also notice that the arrow is styled with an upward curve, suggesting a smile, making the brand appear friendly.

Also, the name of the brand is creative with its link to the Amazon forest, home to the world’s most diverse species. This subtly reinforces that the company is a huge powerhouse, home to thousands of unique products to suit everyone.

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