A logo (from the Greek λογότυπος = logotipos) is a graphic element, symbol, or icon of a trademark or brand.
A unique logo is often necessary to avoid confusion in the marketplace among clients, suppliers, users, affiliates, and the general public. Once a logo is designed, one of the most effective means for protecting it is through registration as a trademark, so that no unauthorised third parties can use it, or interfere with the owner's use of it.
There are several elements of a good logo. An effective logo:—
- should be unique, and not subject to confusion with other logos among viewers
- is functional and can be used in many different contexts while retaining its integrity
- should remain effective whether reproduced small or large
- can work in "full-colour", but also in two color presentation (black and white), spot colour, or halftone
- should be able to maintain its integrity when printed on various fabrics or materials (where the shape of the product may distort the logo)
- displays basic design principles (space, color, form, consistency, and clarity)
- represents the brand/company appropriately
Logo design is commonly believed to be one of the most important areas in graphic design, thus making it the most difficult to perfect. The logo, or brand, is not just an image, it is the embodiment of an organization. Because logos are meant to represent companies and foster recognition by consumers it is counterproductive to redesign logos often.
Some well-known examples are: Apple Inc.'s apple with a bite out of it, Coca Cola's script known the world over, IBM, also known as "Big Blue" has simplified their logo over the years, and their name. What started as International Business Machines is now just "IBM" and the color blue has been a signature in their unifying campaign as they have moved to become an IT services company. Some automotive brands can be summed up simply with their corporate logo- from the Chevrolet "Bow Tie" mark to the circle marks of VW, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, to the interlocking "RR" of Rolls-Royce each has stood for a brand and clearly differentiated the product line. Other logos that are recognized globally: the Nike "Swoosh" and the Adidas "Three stripes" and the golden M of McDonald's are all well-known brands, defined by their corporate logo.
If you don't think a good logo is important, just look at the controversy surrounding the logo chosen for the Olympics games in 2012.