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What Makes a Logo Great and Iconic? With Sagi Haviv

What’s the difference between a good logo and a bad one?

Sagi Haviv is a partner and designer at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, a brand design firm behind many of the world’s most recognizable logos.

In this video, Sagi joins Chris for a livestream to talk about what makes a logo great and iconic, and why some logos are an acquired taste.


What’s a Good Logo?

There are a lot of misconceptions about what logos should be or should look like. Many people feel a logo should be pretty, or say a lot about the company, or be well-liked. According to Sagi, these are just simply not true.

A good logo needs to be three things: appropriate, distinct and memorable, and simple. The magic happens when a logo is distinctive and simple. It needs to be recognizable and translatable across platforms. One way you could test the simplicity and distinctiveness of a logo is to try and draw it by hand from memory.

A bad logo, then, is rather complicated and out of tune with the brand’s personality. It’s not reflective of the company, and it tries to be too many things.


What a Logo Is, and What It Isn’t

A logo is not communication. It’s identification. It’s the period at the end of a sentence; not the sentence itself. This is why simplicity of the logo is so important.

The simpler a logo is, the more recognizable it becomes, and the easier it is for us to identify what company that logo represents. The point of the logo is that it endures over time.


Perform a “Slap On” Test

The logos you create will not live on a blank white screen. To test whether it works across different platforms and surfaces, try the “slap on” test. Slap the logo on to a bunch of different images, and see what works. It’s a good way to test whether the logo is simple enough, while still serving as an identifier of a certain company.


First Impressions Can Be Misleading

Sagi advises that we shouldn’t put too much stake into the first impression of a new logo. In fact, a lot of logos are never love at first sight.

They take time to develop and grow on us. Logos gain meaning and power over time. If the logo functions, it will grow on the client and spectators as time goes on.


How to Land a Client

Selling design work and creative strategy is not always easy. Sagi lends his advice based on his experience and says first to not accept free work. Some clients may ask for work on spec, or to do a test project, but Sagi firmly advises not to work for free, regardless of your experience.

Designers should focus on forging meaningful relationships with clients to build trust as well as their reputation in the industry. Good, clear communication between the designer and client is crucial, so it’s important to set up that strong foundation early on.

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