Logos: 4 Tests for an Objectively Good Logo

Stephanie Asmus
6 min readDec 9, 2022

A close friend of mine recently asked if I’d review a logo they were considering using for their brand. Logos can be stressful. They’re the face of the brand. They’re an identity. Done right, the logo will be how customers connect with, share, and remember the brand. Logos can take a lot of time, effort, and money. So we want to get it right — right?

The trouble is, logos are highly subjective. What might be compelling to me is not necessarily true for you. To help put some objective lenses around whether or not a logo is “good”, I have a 4-point check system to run any logo through.

1. Does the logo communicate the brand?

Looking at brands like Target, Apple, Red Bull, and Shell — they all use imagery to represent the brand name. Customers see the image and think the name. Of course, it doesn’t have to be so literal (though it doesn’t hurt). The imagery can be more interpretive, such as Nike’s swoosh representing the goddess Nike’s wing.

There are more complex outliers to this general rule, but for the vast majority of us with humble marketing budgets — let’s not overcomplicate things.

Whether it’s the literal brand name, the industry, or the soul of the brand you’re trying to capture. Make sure the logo does indeed communicate the brand.

Ask friends, family, or focus groups what they think — as long as no one is confused as to how you got to your logo or what it’s supposed to be — you’re in great shape to move on to #2.

2. Is the logo unique?

This one’s probably obvious, but you’d be surprised.

Originally, the Pepsi logo and the Coca-Cola logo were very similar.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola both came on the scene in the 1890s, both from pharmacists, both under similar logos, both with similar products. By the 1940s, the beverages were no longer pharmacy folklore and fully competing cola brands.

Pepsi realized it was a disadvantage matching their competitor, they knew they had to differentiate to build brand loyalty. To start, they had the idea to put their logo on the bottle cap (novel idea at the team), and they also wanted to use color to set them apart from…

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Stephanie Asmus

Austin-based designer, writer, and entrepreneur. www.stephasmus.com | IG/@stephasmus