Paul Rand was an iconic American art director and graphic designer, responsible for some pretty famous logo designs including IBM, UPS, and ABC. He said, “The principal role of a logo is to identify, and simplicity is its means… Its effectiveness depends on distinctiveness, visibility, adaptability, memorability, universality, and timelessness.” Ask yourself the following 7 questions to see how your logo stands up to Rand’s criteria.

Step 1

Green star surrounded by eight green dots

Is your logo DISTINCTIVE? Does your logo use style, color, type, and/or composition to stand out from the crowd?

Step 2

Green star with blurry shapes around it

Is your logo VISIBLE? Is it noticeable, legible, recognizable, and accessible to everyone that sees it no matter where they see it? A good test is to make sure your logo looks good in black and white as well as in color.⁠

Step 3

Is your logo ADAPTABLE? Does it work across many applications including web, print, and merchandise? Is it responsive so you can use it in various orientations without concern? Also, look at it at the smallest size you’d likely use it (often that’s on an envelope return address)!⁠

Step 4

Is your logo MEMORABLE? When someone sees your logo, do they connect it to your product or service? A logo should capture someone’s attention and leave a positive impression. They should be able to easily recall what it looks like. Test: shortly after showing your logo to a new acquaintance ask them to describe it.

Step 5

Is your logo UNIVERSAL? Is the core meaning and emotion of your logo evident to everyone that views it? This logo test is sometimes difficult since audiences can be diverse. Think about your brand colors, typography, and graphics, and what they might represent to different viewers. Do they make a universal connection?

Step 6

Is your logo TIMELESS? One way to remain timeless is to avoid using too much detail in your logo. This is an instance where less really is more. If following a trend in style, don’t do so blindly. Make sure it fits with your business goals and follows the other essential points we’ve noted in this series. You want your logo to feel fresh and relevant years from now!⁠

Step 7

Is your logo SIMPLE? A logo should be distinctive yet uncomplicated. Rand stated “Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”⁠

⁠To test your logo against some of the concepts you’ve learned in this series, upload a PNG of your logo to Logo Lab to see how it performs!⁠

Let us know how your logo performs! We can help you make sure it passes the test.

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