You’ll almost never go wrong with a simple design
Of all the design categories we’ve worked with over the years, simple logos are the designs that are favored by most designers, but the most difficult to ‘sell’ to clients, especially when dealing with the end user. Many clients are looking for perceived value in the logo design process, and want a finished product that looks as of a lot of time was invested. A ‘bang for the buck’ kind of mentality. It’s been our experience that simple logo proposals are often dismissed as looking like clip art (paradoxically, simple logos are often the most difficult and time-consuming to develop.)
Sometimes it’s a short-sighted approach. Many of the most memorable logos are simple, uncluttered designs that work because of their simplicity, not despite it. Trying to put simple simple logos into a definition we’d use terms like “staid”, “solid”, and “clean.” Over the years however, the delineation between simple corporate logos and their more complicated counterparts has blurred, and with the advent of a Web 2.0 mindset, it’s difficult to define what a simple logo actually is, often being boiled down to ‘I’ll know it when I see it.’ One way to see examples of simple logos is to view the corporate identities used by most of the top ten Fortune 500 companies. Most of these are simple, clean logos that are usually text logos and if an icon is used, it’s used sparingly and features a ruthlessly simple and linear style.
Simple equals stable
At The Logo Factory, simple design treatments are usually requested by companies that are trying to brand under a flag of stability; OPM (Other People’s Money) companies – financial institutions, banks, accounting firms for example. Others wish to avoid cute visual cliches and overused woo-hoo graphics that become dated in a relatively short time. As these designs avoid trends and fads, simple logos have the longest shelf-life and appeal to the widest market possible – extremely important for companies that are concerned about general population demographics. From a technical point of view, simple logos are usually the easiest to reproduce and are infinitely adaptable for every media imaginable (see our file format reference guide for all the possible variations – simple logos can usually be converted into every file format without much bother, time or expense.) These logos are instantly recognizable, even at the smallest sizes (important when using your logo as a social media avatar). There are a few downsides to a simple logo. It’s difficult to develop a truly unique brand, trademarking your logo may be an issue, and it’s only through repeated exposure of the mark will it gain any traction.
The War & Peace extravaganza?
That’s not to say you need to throw war and peace at your brand – you don’t – but the concept of a simple logo can be quite misleading. It’s not just slapping a piece of nondescript art together with rudimentary type work. Far from it. Take a look at the AGX logo we’ve placed at the top of the page. It is the quintessentially minimalist logo, but evolved out of an extremely complex start and lengthy design process. See, simple logos are often the most difficult to design, it takes a fairly skilled designer, with the ability to develop sophisticated logo design ideas, to pare down complex concepts into a few graphic shapes. It sometimes takes a leap of faith from the client too.