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Keep Your Logo Simple


Have you ever seen a logo that looked like a jumbled mess of drawings? Where there are so many elements competing for your attention that you don't know where to look or what it all means? Or where there are so many layered elements that they're all confused together?

The job of your logo is to communicate what your business is all about in an instant. But if you try to say too much in that instant, it's more likely that your clients and prospects will either not get the message at all or that they'll get the wrong message—and wind up pulling the wrong information out of an overcomplicated logo.

The way to avoid confusing your clients with your logo is simple: to just keep it simple. Just like the KISS principle.

Wikipedia says: "The KISS principle (acronym for "Keep It Simple, Stupid") states that design simplicity should be a key goal and unnecessary complexity avoided. It serves as a useful principle in a wide array of disciplines, such as software development, animation, journalism, photography, engineering, and strategic planning."

And, let me add here—it applies in brand design as well.

So, how do you keep your logo simple?

There are a few easy steps to creating a clear, simple logo that communicates your message to your audience instead of confusing it.

1. Keep the brand story that you're telling with your logo simple and don't try to say too much.

Your logo should tell the story of your business's brand. Your business's story is made up of four parts:

  • Your business's personality
  • The type of services or products you offer (either by talking about what you do, or better yet, showing your customers the need you can fill or the problem you can solve)
  • What makes you different from your competition
  • Who you can best help

When you sit down to create your business's story, you'll probably find that you have a lot to say about these four story parts. And the details will probably be complex and involved.

So, the next step in creating a logo is to take your story and scale it back to one, or possibly two, main ideas that you want the viewer—your potential client—to see in your logo.

This simplified story is the key to making sure that your logo will be able to be designed in a simple way. If you're trying to tell a complicated story, then your logo design will probably need to be complicated to communicate everything. But if your story is simple, then your logo can be simple as well.

2. Keep the design of your logo simple—don't include too many details in the icon.

A logo that contains a lot of visual elements may turn out to be too complicated to allow viewers to assimilate all of the information at once. Keep the number of shapes, lines and other design elements at a minimum to make the logo as clear and clean as possible.

Limiting the number of elements and keeping them all at the same relative level of detail to each another makes it likely that you'll end up with a logo that's also scalable. If you include too many design details, it's more likely that when you scale the logo down, some design elements will be too small to see or distinguish from one another or even to print well. Simplifying the design of your logo can help to ensure that it will be scalable.

3. Keep the icon and the name of your company separate.

If you layer your company's name on top of the icon in your logo, then your company's name can be harder to read. And if you have text on top of the icon, it will be harder to see the icon, much less grasp what it means. Separating these two elements from one another will make them both easier to read and understand.

Just following these three simple recommendations can help you to create a logo that keeps it simple—and helps you to communicate with your clients instead of confusing them.

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About the Author

Erin Ferree is a branding coach, design genius and strategic thinker. She's been told that her right-brain, left-brain combination of creativity and logic is hard to come by... and that it's what small business owners need to be successful. She loves connecting the dots between passion and profit, mixing strategy and inspiration and shaking things up.

She deeply enjoys working with entrepreneurs who want to help more people and look good doing it. Who want all of their branding and marketing to make sense and speak to their ideal clients. And who want an open, honest, inviting brand with integrity - instead of using icky, pushy, sleazy marketing tactics and trickery.

She's branded over 450 small businesses in the last 10 years. She's been published in so many books and periodicals that she stopped counting. She's shared stages with some awesome people - like Michele PW, Linda Hollander, Lisa Cherney, Sheri McConnell and Kelly O'neil.

She also enjoys hugging her corgi-dog Stanley, cooking and throwing parties so her friends can enjoy them.

Small business branding, brand coaching and logo design articles at

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