You see them everywhere, and you know many of them without even thinking about it: the graceful script of Coca-Cola; the Nike “swoosh”; the brown and gold of the UPS shield; and many, many more.
These logos are immediately recognizable, and not solely because the companies that own them spend millions upon millions of dollars to get them in your face as often as possible. What helps make these logos memorable and effective is that they pass the FUSS test.
What is the FUSS test? It is a simple list of acronyms I use to ensure that a logo meets the following criteria: Flexible, Unique, Simple, and Suitable.
The examples I mentioned above are all of these things, and your small business logo should be as well. Following these few simple rules can help ensure that your logo is memorable and effective, as well as something that of which you can be proud. Let’s take a look at each of these factors individually.
An effective logo is FLEXIBLE
Your company logo will appear in a myriad of locations, so it is important that it looks just as great on a 29-cent giveaway pen as it does in full-color on your website. ”An effective logo looks good whether it is large or small,” writes Tom Search from CBS MoneyWatch. “It should have the same visual effect when printed on a business card or a billboard. A good logo does not rely on color to be effective.”
What this means, among other things, is that your logo must adapt and scale to the medium. Avoid thin line weights that can disappear at small sizes. Use bold fonts which can be easily read from a distance. You know you have to be flexible in your business; your logo should be as well.
An effective logo is UNIQUE
How many coffee shops have you seen which use a cup logo with stylized wisp of steam rising from it? How about seafood restaurants that have some sort of fish-shaped sign over the door? Apart from your personal local favorites, most of these logos are completely forgettable.
Your logo doesn’t have to (and perhaps shouldn’t) depict what your business does or what you sell, as designer David Airey is memorably quoted on Inc.com: ”The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an aeroplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer.” Your want your logo to stand out from the crowd, so avoid clichés as well as overused icons (the world doesn’t need another logo based on a globe).
An effective logo is SIMPLE
“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity,” wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and he could well have added logos to the list. Think about Apple and Mercedes, two of Airey’s examples listed above: Both logos are not only iconic, but they could not be simpler.
“Just like Shaker style furniture only uses ‘necessary’ pieces of wood, a logo design should only have ‘necessary’ artwork in it,” writes Rebecca Bauer Ritz of Bauerhouse Design. Don’t let your logo become so busy that it takes away from your message.
Effective logos are SUITABLE
A law firm using a clown-themed logo probably won’t see a lot of business coming through the door. The same goes for a kids’ toy store displaying a trucker mudflap girl over the door. To put it simply: Your logo should be suitable for your business and the audience you are trying to attract.
“Your logo is going to make a statement about your company,” Search writes. “People do judge a book by its cover, a building by its facade, and a house by its curb appeal. Be careful to present yourself so that your prospects’ first impressions correspond to what you want them to perceive.”
At Deluxe Interactive Services, logo design is just one of the graphic design services we offer for small businesses. If you are considering a new logo for your business, take a look at our portfolio, then contact us. We’ll be happy to work together with you to create a logo that passes the FUSS test with flying colors!