Logo Design

Logo Design Examples

As the owner of an advertising agency one of the most common problems I see is with people starting a business and they have no idea what a logo should be. The first step is deciding to hire an ad agency to design your logo. Once you’ve made this important decision then it is best to let the experts do their job. In our company all of the graphic artists have a minimum of a four year degree in commercial art and design. Additionally we have years of experience in logo design. The most common problem that we see is that a new business owner or a small business owner will try to get us to design a logo that tells the story of what their business is all about. This however is NOT the job of a logo.


Corporate Logo Design – Logo Design Company

When someone first thinks about starting a new business they think about their logo and contact a logo design company to help them. It is wise to first consider what a logo should be and what a logo shouldn’t be. A logo isn’t supposed to tell the story of your business. It is a mistake to assume that people should be able to look at your logo and figure out what your business is all about.

A logo needs only to do two things:
1. It must be easy to recognize.
2. It must be memorable.

We have a team of professional website designers who can tell the story of what your business does. We also have highly skilled brochure designers who can tell the story of what your business is all about. We only need to make a logo have some icon that people will recognize and remember.

This is why the logo design used by Nike is just a check mark. The check mark has nothing to do with running faster, jumping higher or getting a lower score in your golf game. The logo is easy to recognize and memorable – great logo.

The world is filled with large corporations who all have logos that don’t tell any story at all but they are easy to recognize and they are memorable. The AT&T logo for example uses all lowercase letters and a ball or a globe. Maybe we can imagine the globe to be the world and the horizontal lines are telephone lines or maybe it is just easy to recognize and memorable. Whatever that logo design is, it doesn’t say a thing about High Speed Internet, telephone service, cell phones, software engineering or any of the services offered by AT&T.

Financial Institution Logo Design Examples

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Banking Logo Design Examples

In the design examples above we see some very well known logos from financial institutions. These logo design examples follow the generally accepted rule that a logo should be recognizable and memorable. These logos also don’t look like anything that represents banking. Notice that none of these logos feature bags of money, vaults filled with money, bank buildings or stacks of money. In fact if the word “bank” didn’t appear in those logos and you saw them for the first time today you would have no idea what business they represent. This is exactly how logos should be designed.

Citibank is one of the largest financial institutions in the world. Two things are interesting about this logo. Compared to the size of their website, the logo is small. The logo is also nothing more than a few lowercase letters and a red curved line.

Restaurant Logo Design Examples

logo design

Food Service Industry Logos

These logo design examples also have nothing to do with food. One of them uses the word “restaurant” and the other uses the word “pizza” but if not for that you wouldn’t know what they are had you not seen them before. The first one would appear to be a game. The second one “ihop” might make you wonder if this is about something that involves jumping in some type of sport. The gold “M” shape could be Motorola or Microsoft just as easily as it works for McDonald’s. The last logo has nothing to do with church bells. We recognize and remember each of these logos. These giants of the food service industry know what a logo should be so let’s take a lesson from them.

Gas Station Logo Design Examples

logo design

Oil Industry Logo Design Examples

If today was the first day you had ever seen the Exxon logo would you be able to guess what products or services might be sold at an Exxon store? The name doesn’t sound like a restaurant; with the “xx” in the middle it sounds very high tech. If you saw this logo for the first time you might guess that they have something to do with computers, medical equipment or any number of things but you’d never guess that it has anything to do with oil refining. The Mobile logo could be related to wheelchairs, public transportation or a travel agency. We would have a hard time guessing what they do since we don’t see gas pumps, cars or oil rigs in any of these logos. The Shell logo had we seen it for the first time today might be at a tourist shop on a beach in South Florida. The letter “T” inside of a star which is inside of a circle would never make me guess “gas station”. So our point is proven once again that a logo doesn’t need to tell the story of what the business is about.

Automotive Industry Logo Design Examples

logo design

Car Logo Design Examples

Once again we look to industry giants to see what they are doing with their logo designs and we don’t see pictures of cars or trucks. No pistons, no engines, no futuristic looking vehicles nothing like that at all is used by leaders in the automotive industry. Why does BMW have blue and white shapes inside of a circle surrounded by black? This has nothing to do with cars. The Hyundai logo appears to be a letter “H” tilted to the right inside an oval shape. They could make kitchen appliances with that logo just as easily as they could represent car manufacturing with their logo. The Toyota logo appears to be two ovals inside a third oval. If I saw this logo design for the first time today I’d never guess that the three ovals means that they are in the business of making cars. The Porsche logo is the only one that has something inside that with some imagination might make you eventually guess this has something to do with cars. Maybe the horse would make you think of speed but maybe it would make you think about cattle ranching, or a vacation resort featuring horseback riding. So the one logo containing something we recognize, a horse can lead us to incorrectly guess what the business is about had we never heard of this company before.

Logo Designers

Often we point out these examples to people starting a business for the first time and they will say, “Sure that works for THOSE companies they have millions of dollars to advertise their logo until people know what their business is about”. “For MY business the logo need to let people know what my business does”. We still insist that this type of thinking is a mistake. Take a lesson from the industry giants shown above. Logos don’t give you a clue as to what products or services these businesses offer and YOUR logo shouldn’t either. We don’t run any types of ads showing only a logo; so all advertising will explain something about your business. This is why we only need the logo to be recognizable and memorable.

Need a logo for your business? Check out the work of professional logo designers.

Here are some logo design misconceptions:
1. My company can’t afford to advertise like a Fortune 500 so my logo DOES have to make it clear what my business is all about.
2. My logo should be big so people will notice it.
3. My logo should be created in my favorite color.

The problem with trying to make a logo tell the story about your business (other than the fact that it can’t) is that your business is about many more things than any single image can describe. We often see for example a landscape company goes to the local office supply store and asks for business cards. The store will ask if they would like the clip art of the tree or the lawn mower. This is clip art and not a custom logo design. Even with a landscape company the lawn mower or tree doesn’t tell the full story about the business. This is why we have brochures and websites; there we have room to tell the story of our business and show examples of our work.

In the second misconception we don’t need to make the logo big on a business card, brochure or website because people will see it anyway. Most importantly people don’t come to your website to see your logo; they want information about your business.

There is a great deal of research that has been done in the science of color and a good ad agency can give advice and make suggestions on color selection.