The logo checklist / by John Hannent

I speak to people every day about their logo or the design of their new one. While we try to provide an ‘enlightening’, pain-free service, it’s evident that many of the pains of branding can be easily avoided.

The intricacies and conceptual stuff involved with logo design I won’t bore you with (unless you hire me!), but if you run your logo through this checklist, you’ll get some idea of if it’s fit for purpose.

Is your logo legible?
Seriously, can you read it? Can you read it across the room? Is it recognisable across the room? If you look around, you’ll see thousands of logos that fall at the first hurdle.

Is your logo scalable?
More of a technical issue this one, but I come across it time and time again. Is your logo in a format that will blow up? A Jpeg won’t. You need to have a ‘vector’ version of your logo, normally supplied as an ‘eps’.

Does it print small?
While it may seem great that your logo has several colours, fades, typefaces, fine rules and intricate serifs but will it work in single colour? Will it work embroidered? Will it work when it’s badly pad printed by a Chinaman looking at the clock or at Ping Pong Ting bending over?

Seriously though, if your logo prints as a small blob at 5mm, it doesn’t reflect very well on you. While many govern a ‘minimum size’, they have to hope someone reads the Identity Guide.

Does it work in one colour?
Well, does it? Any logo must retain its recognisability in one colour. Colour infils, pale colours tones may not translate well into single (mono) marques.

Does it work in reverse?
A good logo will work in reverse as well as a positive image. A face for instance doesn’t reverse easily. You may plan your next social media assault around reversing your logo out of a photograph only to find out that you’re now represented by someone apparently from the Black & White Minstrel show.

Will it look after itself?
A good logo structure is durable. Both in it’s design and how you hold it as an asset. Can you give it to anyone and rely on it? You may need new formats, designs or a supporting document (an ‘Identity Guide’) to ensure its wellbeing.

Will it age?
Every logo has a shelf life. One that’s been properly designed will have a long one. That saves you the often considerable costs of re-applying and re-establishing the ‘new’ logo further down the line. 

Look carefully at your logo, or your proposed designs, and ask yourself if it’s based on a ‘trend’... or was it based on a trend (the worst case scenario).

Is it ‘future-proofed’?
While your logo isn’t your brand, it’s the (visual) focal point, the signature of your company. People with far higher foreheads than myself will bore you to tears with branding advic so, for this purpose, it’s good practice to look at your logo as being your ‘brand’. While you may not want to look past your immediate requirement of something to print on a product and business card, what about in a year’s time? Will you want to exhibit at shows? Will you want to sponsor or endorse third party stuff? Will it need to work across a hierarchy of product? Does it need to work abroad?

A good logo will work across and beyond all of these requirements. Does yours?