Logos: What Makes a Good Design? - Part III

hand-and-trophyAnd Now the Good Stuff
In our last few articles about logo design we’ve seen some logos that didn’t quite work because of design flaws, problems with concept or lack of visual appeal.

This time we’ll look at some of the most famous logos in the world, and some that aren’t so famous to see why they are successful.


coca-cola-logoCoca-Cola is one of the most recognized products in the world. The logo has several things working for it. The font is unique and recognizable, the soft drink bottle in the background serves as an immediate icon for the product, and the design is simple.

Interestingly enough, the logo was not done by a professional graphic artist.

The script-font was created by Coca-Cola’s bookkeeper in the late 1800s when the company was just starting. The distinctive bottle was introduced later in 1915 and became instantly associated with the drink. The bottle’s image was incorporated into the familiar Coca-Cola logo later.

boss-hog-studiosThis logo was created by Mathieu Schatzler, a talented graphic designer and art director located in France.

The logo was designed for Boss Hog Studio, a music recording studio.

The implementation of the stylized sine wave is really nice and the overall design is simple and to the point.

The choice of the black background gives the logo some drama. If the logo was placed in front of a white background, the power of the image would have diminished.

The “Design Your Sound” motto fits in nicely with what the owners of the recording studio are trying to get across, “We’re professional and we’ll work with you.”


This logo is familiar to all who use Photoshop, Illustrator, or any of the many software products this company produces. Is this logo boring? Probably. Is the logo easily recognizable? Definitely.

Here’s an example of a logo that would have probably gotten a “C” in a graphic design class. But the idea behind this logo is simple: “Adobe.”

No need for embellishments, fancy concepts, or adobe brick images. It’s clean and simple and no nonsense.

Sometimes a successful logo can consist of nothing more than the brand name and its first letter.

Who would have thought?

LemonStand is a company that produces a software application that allows web designers and web developers to incorporate eCommerce features into their websites.

LemonStand provides the software to integrate a shopping cart, metrics, and other features for eCommerce.

The company is taking a chance on logo and name-brand confusion. LemonStand might very well be a company that produces soft drinks or lemonade. But the idea of a lemon(ade) stand also means selling. In this case, the humor is what gives this logo an “Oh, now I get it” response for its clientele.

Not every logo can pull this off, but considering the company is actually a software company, the design makes you smile and sticks in your mind.


John J. Graham designed the peacock for NBC (National Broadcasting Company) in 1956. At the time, most television sets in America could only display black and white images. But color broadcasts and color televisions were becoming more popular.

The NBC logo shows what can be done if a concept and practical application are joined. The colorful logo was used in a functional way to precede and announce a color television show, while the actual design of the peacock became the icon for NBC.

When designing a logo, creating a unique icon is sometimes the way to go. There are many examples of this in the business world. Apple Computer, McDonalds, and Nike all have very recognizable icons that represent their companies.

accountantThe Bottom Line
From the logos we have seen in this article, the prominent feature that is common to all of them is they are relatively simple and eye-catching. To keep things simple can be one of the hardest things to do when designing a logo.

When you take graphic design education courses, it allows you to understand the principles of good design but it is a temptation to over complicate things when trying to come up with a good idea.

The factor of “going with your gut” can be helpful in designing logos. We’ve all had the feeling where things were going well in a design and when they weren’t. The idea of listening to your instincts can be the difference between a good design and one that just misses the mark.

Next Time…
We’ll take a look at how designers take things literally when designing¬† products and packaging. You’ll get some inspiration from these examples and they may help you to “think inside the box” when searching for graphic design ideas.

See you then!

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  1. Posted November 15, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Nice article :) a logo is so easy to get wrong but can often be just as easy to get right, I believe it all depends on the companies own branding efforts too, a designer can only provide the tool, it is then down to the company owner to market it correctly.

  2. admin
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for dropping and for your comments. :D
    Logos seem to have a life of their own, it seems. Sometimes the most basic designs strike a nerve with the general public and go on to become internationally recognized brands. But when all is said and done, it is the public, not really the company, that determines a logo’s success. ;)

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