Can a logo design be simple and eye-catching?

by admin on December 16, 2012

I was working on a logo for a client the other day and she asked for something which made me stop and think; for her logo design to be simple and eye-catching. Initially those two things made sense, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised they actually contradict each other.

Take the Nike ‘swoosh’ logo, is that simple and eye-catching? Most might say yes, but the logo in itself is not eye-catching. What makes the Nike logo stand out and catch your eye are the images and marketing that goes with it. What makes us pay attention to the brand is our recognition of it, as opposed to the design element itself.

The Nike ‘swoosh’ is some 34 years old now and has had MASSIVE media exposure over that time. The same goes for logos like Kmart, Big W, Apple, Coca-Cola, Google, eBay the new Microsoft logo and more. 

I think the problem is most people think these are good logos because they belong to BIG companies, but these companies aren’t successful because of their logos, there is so much more driving their success. Just because their logos are popular doesn’t make them good or the ‘right’ way to design a logo.

I rarely design just a word, or flat shape. Like how Steve Jobs said that he wanted buttons on iPhone screens to look so good you’ll want to lick them, I want my logos to give people the same feeling. A flat, boring logo is like a mask hiding something. A 3D logo design with some personality is whole, real, and inviting. See examples of my logo design portfolio here.

I believe logos should pay themselves off ten-fold, and by that I mean your logo should open up a sales dialogue based on itself alone (all it takes if for a handful of people to pay attention and say “hey, cool logo”). Big companies don’t need logos which jump out at people and grab attention; they rely on recognition (and large-scale marketing gimmicks).

If you’re in small business and someone starts talking to you about the importance of brand recognition, tell them to sit down and have a biscuit. Don’t get me wrong, brand recognition is important, but it’s the LAST thing you should be thinking about. As long as you’re a small business in this crowded market place, you should be asking “how can I get people’s attention?” and focus all your logo design and marketing efforts in that direction. 

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