That’s an Apple, Mommy! A Three-Year-Old Child’s Test of Logo Design Success
I was sitting with my three-year-old son one afternoon after school. As we waited for our Apple TV device to complete a software update, he out of the blue spoke up, “That’s an apple, mommy!”
Sure enough, there was the ubiquitous Apple logo subtly displayed on the middle of our television. A light went off in my head and I realized the power of a well done logo can be felt even by a young child. True, my son might not know that Apple is a tech company that focuses on highly usable (and entertaining) products, but he has probably seen that mark enough times around the house to associate the two. He was quite proud of his discovery and so was I.
As designers, I think that we sometimes take for granted the brands that have been around for some time. We’re quick to take note of new, brilliant marks, but really as Al and Laura Ries state in The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, “A brand is not built overnight. Success is measured in decades, not years.” Being both easily recognized and relevant after decades is a great feat for any brand.
Look around your home. What logos stick out to you immediately? Do you have more than one product with the same logo? What feelings does that simple mark elicit from you? Perhaps you get a sense of familiarity and comfort, or maybe even excitement and anticipation. That’s the power of a good brand. It grabs you and you grab it right back. We are creatures of habit and can become very loyal to our brands.
Now, I’m not saying that all that you need for a great brand is a good logo. However, I do feel that a great, well-thought-out logo is a good step towards building a good brand.
There are qualities that most great (not good) logos share. Check off all of these boxes and you might be on the right track.
10 Qualities of a Great Logo
- Simple (can quickly identify the what and wherefore of the brand)
- Readable (visually legible)
- Memorable (easy to read)
- Versatile (size, medium, color, etc.)
- Self-contained (achieves visual closure—Gestalt Principle)
- Understandable to intended audience
- Consistent in meaning cross-culturally
- Positive association
- Aesthetically pleasing
In the end, the most perfect logo ever will only go as far as the brand that it represents. The quality of the brand’s products and social behaviors are integral to success. Will your customers adopt and bring your logo home with them, or simply forget about it? And yes, a three-year-old child should be able to look at your logo and understand what they are seeing. If you don’t have one handy, be sure to borrow a friend’s or neighbor’s (with their permission, of course).