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The Best Logos Ever Designed Are Not What You Think

Make your logo simpler, more legible and timeless vs. trying to be clever.

If there’s one piece of advice we can give when it comes to your logo designs, it’s to keep it simple. Many designers think they need to take a more clever approach or make their logos interesting to really “wow” the crowd. In reality, the simpler, the better. Logos should be able to stand the test of time.

The best logos in the world are often the simplest: Nike, Apple, Google, B&O, Levi's, FedEx, CBS, UPS, Warner, Girl Scouts, ABC, United Airlines, American Airlines, and IBM to name a few. They often use very common typefaces like Helvetica or Futura and refrain from over embellishment. Still don't believe us? Look at some of the most expensive luxury brands and study their logos.

In his newest book, Blair Enns talks about the value of logo design isn't based on hours worked, or even the perceived quality of the design. To illustrate the point, he states, the Nike logo was designed for $100 while the Pepsi logo was $1 million. Is the million dollar logo better than the $100 logo? Is it worth 100,000 times more?

Designers often mistake the effort or cleverness of a logo as the hallmark of value. It is not. Furthermore, Michael Bierut says too much is made of a logo. A logo is only a very small aspect of the brand. It's not the whole story, just the opening paragraph of a long story.

It’s not about the latest, coolest thing, or the most interesting and dynamic. Those things get old really fast. It might not seem like it in the moment, but the effect those kinds of design can produce fades fast.

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