“A logo cannot survive unless it is designed with the utmost simplicity and restraint.” Paul Rand
A logo is the face of any company, it is the first element people interact with. Logos are meant to visually identify and communicate the identity of the brand to the public. Depending on the brand design philosophy, simple logos consists only of the essential elements, these logos are generally the most difficult to produce and the most successful in the long run.
So, how do you make a successful logo that ticks all the boxes, you may ask? With the help of the Paul Rand Logo Test, that’s how.
The 7 Step Paul Rand Logo Test:
Use word descriptors to assess logos.
- Is it distinctive?
- Is it visible?
- Is it adaptable?
- Is it memorable?
- Is it universal?
- Is it timeless?
And then ask the final question: Is the logo simple?
- Is it distinctive?
The dictionary defines distinctive as, ‘having a special quality, style, attractiveness, etc.; notable.’
What does that mean in terms of designing a successful logo?
Is the logo’s execution unique and different from all the other logos out there? Does it stand out and is it distinct from the logo of any other company?
- Is it visible? I.e., Has the identity it represents been prepared or converted for visual presentation; represented visually?
Visible means easily seen; the logo takes up space in any medium it may live on. Is it readable, legible?
A logo will always live on a variety of backgrounds: images, websites, word documents, etc.
Most designers start crafting their logos in black and white for the best visibility, before moving onto the colour options.
- Is it adaptable? In other words, is it readily adjustable to different conditions?
How will the logo look on a t-shirt or in the corner of a presentation? How will the logo look on a variety of different mediums – will the execution still be effective?
Will the logo still be effective when it is on the smallest medium available? I.e., does it lose any detail? Is it still legible? Can you still make out the tagline underneath or next to it?
- Is it memorable? (Worth remembering; )
The goal of any logo is to be remembered, for any unique aspect it may or may not have.
Whenever a company releases or makes an update to their logo, the public will form an opinion about the new logo very quickly.
Will they remember the logo for its smart execution, with the use of a clever new aspect, or for changing from an older, more popular execution to a new logo that doesn’t work as well?
- Is it universal? (Used or understood by all.)
Will a diverse group of people understand what the logo & the company are about? Does the logo mark used have another meaning in another part of the world?
- Is it timeless? (Without beginning or end; eternal; everlasting.)
Creating a logo that can stand the test of time is a whole other challenge. Resist the urge to use any colours and fonts that are currently fashionable.
The question that has to be asked is, “Will this logo still look part of the family in a couple of years’ time?”
And, finally: Is it simple?
A logo doesn’t need to have the amount of detail that an illustration may have. Take away any detail that makes the logo lose effectiveness.
When designing or reviewing logo options, the question you have to ask is, “Is it clever and simple?”
Paul Rand’s steps as described above can be used while the logo is in the design phase to ensure that the execution ticks all the boxes it needs to.
Logos are such an important aspect of any brand. People relate to and recognize imagery much more quickly than text. In today’s social and mobile world, having a great logo has never been more important.