What is Logo Design?

What is Logo Design?

“A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies.”

-Paul Rand

Paul Rand is considered an empire in the world of design, specifically logo design, and he certainly got it right with the above statement!

The fundamental function of a logo resides in quick and easy identification of a much greater thing.  Said “thing” might encompass anything from a person, place, or perhaps a furiously famous corporation.  Logos are images.  Symbols.  Signifiers for greater ideas.  An impeccable logo for let’s say, a business, will immediately conjure up thoughts regarding some or all of the following:

*The business’s mission

*The business’s product

*The business’s impact on your life

 Try this on for size:

Chances are great that you’re not only quite familiar with this logo, but you further have the distinct smell of freshly fried French fries wafting past your nose, vividly see the Ronald McDonald clown in your mind, and recall all past and present memories attached to this iconic EMPIRE of business….A Business.  Or, is it simply a wildly popular, family-fun food joint?

What is Logo Design?

In the world of web design, logos are considered the epitome of a business’s brand.  Some web designers would even argue that logo design is one of the most challenging aspects of web design and online marketing at large.  Think of the power of a logo, like the McDonald’s logo above.  Something so simple holds decades of success within a mere yellow “M.”  This symbol is more than just a “Golden Arch,” it is the BRAND upon which the McDonald’s empire dwells.

Let’s break it down, though.  Logo design is critical to a business’s brand, specifically in connection with other forms of digital marketing, online marketing, social media marketing, and of course web design.  At On Top Visibility’s Long Island, New York web design firm, we understand the importance that a logo will have on both our reputation, as well as our clients’ reputations.

From the perspective of a web designer, logo design, when successfully addressed, will always possess three essential qualities:






It might seem that the more ornate something is, the easier it will be to recall and, thus, the more powerful it will be.  In the world of logo design, simplicity is a necessity.  And, the proof is most certainly in the pudding!  Take a look:

It doesn’t get much simpler than this.  And, it also doesn’t get much more effective at articulating the $623.5+ billion brand that is Apple, in a mere glimpse of a half-bitten fruit.  The logo is more than a delicious piece of fruit.  It is an iconic symbol of a business that stains your mind with its simplistic quality.



It is a fact that we retain the identity of truly powerful logos, from childhood through old age.

Being able to recall a logo, coupled with a simplistic quality, is of the essence in logo success.  Let’s take a look at the ever-evolving, yet poignantly memorable, Starbucks logo:

While we’ve seen the evolution of the “mermaid” over the course of the last decade, Starbucks has always remained true to the integrity of the original symbol.  The signature kelly-green hue of the circular sphere, encompassing the black and white crowned mermaid, is an iconic representation of our favorite “cup-a-Joe” hot spot.  Color plays an integral role in this logo’s memorable qualities, but the crude nature of the mermaid graphic is also simple enough to recall over time.


Aside from being simple and memorable, a logo must obviously possess a degree of pertinence to the business it represents.  Sometimes relevance is more covert, but it should always be present nonetheless.  Here’s a perfect example of relevance in logo design:

The Olympic Games, representing a global honor of elite athleticism, are intelligently and beautifully represented through logo design.  The 5 linked rings symbolize the unity of the various nations participating in the Games.  Further, the varying colors encompass another aspect of the different nations involved.  These rings conjure up immediate recognition of famous athletes, incredible acts of athleticism, unity, power, and global respect.  The relevance is there and, more importantly, brilliantly paired with simplicity and memorable qualities.

Logo design is more than just a stamp of your business.  These fleeting images are the most basic visual representation of you.  And, this visual representation is an integral and powerful tool, especially in a societal culture where immediacy and images reign supreme.

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