A logo is like a face.
Logo design is one the most important yet most difficult tasks for any business or organization. An organization’s logo is what visually represents them in the world, sort of like a face. What does Nike look like? What does AT&T look like? What does FedEx look like? We don’t get to select our face but we do get to select our logo.
Communicate a vibe.
Your logo design should reflect who your organization is or who you would like it to be. It should do so in a way that only an image and/or a typographic treatment of your organization’s name can do. It should not be literal, it should communicate a vibe, a personality. If your company does health care consulting, having a rod of Asclepius, commonly but mistakenly called a Caduceus, in your logo is probably not the greatest idea. For one thing it’s a cliche if there ever was one. More to the point, it probably says nothing about your organization that sets you apart. Are you friendly, no-nonsense, authoritative, hard-hitting, a gentle touch, serious, flexible, reliable, laid back, aggressive? A well-designed logo can convey a composite feeling of who your organization is. It might be subtle and it might be hard to actually put into words, but good logo design should just communicate a vibe.
It’s a mistake to say we do this, that and the other thing and expect to incorporate a representation of each thing in the logo. Look at the logos we all know. The Nike swoosh, the AT&T globe, Exxon Mobil and FedEx, essentially just type, say nothing about sporting goods, telephone services, oil and overnight delivery.
Analyze and interpret later.
It sound weird but it’s sound advice. Although it’s hard not to, don’t overthink a logo while it’s in development. It should just be a feeling, a vibe. Does this feel like us or not? As with a great piece of art or music, analyze later if you must. But when you’re seeing the art or listening to the music, just look or listen and feel first. Resist the temptation to interpret until you are comfortable with the vibe.