The Best Logos Ever Designed Are Simple Not Interesting & Not Overworked

Why Designers Should Strive To Make Designs Simpler vs. More “Interesting”. Make your logo simpler, more legible and timeless vs. trying to be clever. 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 logo.

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.

Jijibaba logo designed by Astrid Starvo, Atlas
http://www.astridstavro.com

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47 replies
  1. emergerq
    emergerq says:

    Most designers try too hard. Simplicity is beautiful. A fashion logo cannot be compared to a industrial type logo. Two very different worlds.

    Reply
  2. Phoenix MH83
    Phoenix MH83 says:

    We were taught in school that a logo should be able to tell you something about the company. It should have a since of identity. People should have a since of what you do. Just about NONE of the logos you chose on that thumbnail do that lol they are just well established businesses now so the logo are recognized.

    Reply
  3. Whilliam Haskins
    Whilliam Haskins says:

    You can still have a simple logo that ends up being dated. The jiiibaba logo looks dated because of the font used. That’s why the younger guy had such an adverse reaction to it. The logo looks like it was made in the early 2000s and is due for a font update. It’s bulky, thick, and goofy looking because of the unequal thickness on the “a”s and “b”s. Yes you should go for simple overall, but just because a font is simple doesn’t mean it will last the test of time; the jiiibaba example used is proof of that.

    Reply
  4. Kevin Christian
    Kevin Christian says:

    When the young designer look the luxury brand they say "they’re not boring" – 0:42 but actually is, i think its a bias because they know its a big brand and famous, when they see the city steel logo they say " i dont get it, its boring 0:32 " when that brand goes up i believe they will say its good logo. its bias
    i love jijibaba logo its like community with the letter i .
    i think the city steel logo is amazing, pretty simple, and people love everything simple i guess but the typeface need a little modification.
    .
    .
    simplicity is good and memorable

    Reply
  5. Filip Stojanovski
    Filip Stojanovski says:

    People in my area where i live also generally dont understand that a logo is not an emblem, so what Chris said about fighting an uphill battle, i have to fight that AND trying to explain to them what will work and what wont.

    Reply
  6. Her Thighness
    Her Thighness says:

    "Those are cool!" I think what they’re noticing is that they recognize them and think the brands are cool…but the logos are ultra simple and ‘boring.’

    Reply
  7. fivebythree
    fivebythree says:

    On the "City Steel", the I is the elephant in the room. Check out the profile of an actual steel beam… Bloody brilliant! Doesn’t even need the C mark.

    Reply
  8. Nelson Porras
    Nelson Porras says:

    No offense, but is the guy with that Jr. Ron Jeremy mustache a designer? Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. The best logos don’t just have good form or just good function. They have both.

    Reply
  9. Rahul Bhogal
    Rahul Bhogal says:

    Some solid points. Love Dieter Rams! Another great example of a timeless simple logo is Crate & Barrel. Simple is powerful.

    Reply
  10. Rolf Reiner
    Rolf Reiner says:

    The letter i with "serif" mentioned is an obvious reference to the cross section of an i-beam, the quintessential element of steel construction

    Reply
  11. Doodelay Explains
    Doodelay Explains says:

    I love the conversational style of all this lol first time ever watching a video that combines the feel of radio with the aesthetic of a tutorial lol

    Reply
  12. Phoenix MH83
    Phoenix MH83 says:

    City steel logo makes no sense. Take away the words and look at just the logo. What comes to mind? Not city steel. Coming up with any simple elegant logo doesnt make it the best fit.

    Reply
  13. Kyouhyung Kim
    Kyouhyung Kim says:

    City Steel logo feels strong and solid. The shape and the color of the strokes resemble the H-beams, which are quite clever in my opinion. However, the kerning on the "STEEL" looks a bit inconsistent with the "CITY", and despite the clever details the overall outcome looks a bit generic.

    Reply
  14. frank javier
    frank javier says:

    There’s nothing wrong with boring clean and simple, many times it works. But there’s a massive unbalancing happening from the font to the logo. One is heavy bold and sturdy, while the other folds in its sleekness and leads to nowhere, it doesn’t serve a purpose. the color is doing more work than the logo. There’s no harmony between the two. The logo it’s self is hard to tie back into the "industrial" feel. The logo could’ve been an orange dot and wouldn’t have made any difference. Therefore it’s not captivating, I.E. Boring. That’s what ‘we’ mean. It’s not that it’s bad, or poorly executed, but it’s boring in the way that it simply doesn’t captivate the audience, nor does it contribute to the company name or attitude.

    If the logo would have been created in a triangle form, perhaps more like a pyramid, then it would create interest into the over all name. The pushback you’re getting is that it simply doesn’t tie together to make a cohesive uniformed identity.

    The mark would have to be used over time, over and over and over again before people associate it with the brand name. It doesn’t do it’s job on first glance, and THAT’s the issue, THAT’s where it’s boring.

    Reply
  15. jjjuhor
    jjjuhor says:

    City steel seems to me to be one generic hexagon logo. Type is good but emblem is forgettable. Also the green bluish desaturated background gives vibe of pollution to me, so not really that sure about that either.

    I get that you are their mentor, but their opinions actually made sense so you shouldnt judge them so blindly just cuz they are starting out.

    Reply
  16. Nelson Porras
    Nelson Porras says:

    Here’s a question you may be interested in answering on one of your next videos. I recently came across a project where a company wants to create a logo that will depict the company, but without using the name in any part of the logo. Of course you, like me, are probably thinking it will be a wordless mark of some king. Here’s the kicker. The logo needs to somehow read the company name without spelling it out. Hope this makes sense. This to me sounds like the challenge of all challenges in logo design, and I’ve been doing logo design for a long time.

    Reply
  17. Glyn Dyer
    Glyn Dyer says:

    Chris,
    You missed the letter “I” in CITY STEEL is a steel I-Beam in section. It’s the strongest part in the whole logo for me. It sells it and makes it interesting and not boring.

    Reply
  18. Angery Angery
    Angery Angery says:

    Okay. Life Plan =

    1. Create a way to easy logo
    2. Make a company
    3. Sell cloths which are way to expensive
    4. Copy from everyone else or put 0 work in it.
    5. Profit 💸💸💸

    Reply
  19. Mark Langridge
    Mark Langridge says:

    The bell bottoms remark is a very good point. Do you want your brand represented in bell bottoms, or a good suit? A good suit is simple, elegant, and timeless. It works for pretty much everything. I like that City Steel logo because it’s strong, simple, and it can work in a variety of configurations and applications for print, product, web, etc.

    Reply
  20. Clint Jurgens
    Clint Jurgens says:

    Your designers or interns (they really come across as that) are either ignorant, or playing that part of an ignorant client really well. But I’ve seen them before in previous vids and I really think your vids are better served without them. Either that, or they need to become better communicators and thinkers to add value to these vids.

    Reply
  21. Teh LaughingMan
    Teh LaughingMan says:

    I mostly agree with him, but how does one argue about trendy looks while wearing a straight brimmed hat which is the current douche trend of hat wearing. Curve that brim bro.

    Reply
  22. Roberta Smoki
    Roberta Smoki says:

    The best logo is one that is instantly recognized, for years and years. That’s what identity is about. NOT cute, doesn’t have to be clever.

    Reply
  23. Welldoneyou
    Welldoneyou says:

    Are the other people purposely trying to act dumb to good logo design? If they don’t understand the fundamentals of iconic and great logo design, then they’re surely in the wrong profession and should find another job. Because to me, it shows they don’t have the eye for design.

    Reply
  24. VM CV
    VM CV says:

    simple is good but the "graphical C" I need to agree with those guys. It’s not as good as it should be. Maybe it looks very complex.

    Reply
  25. Such a BadDragon
    Such a BadDragon says:

    My God, there’s such good quality content on this channel, yet I keep getting distracted by Chris in almost every video. He is so tense and controlling…At a point it felt like he would only listen to a sentence only if it started with "you’re right". He is clearly an expert in his field, but what you guys are doing here is first and foremost about communication and he’s struggling.

    Reply
  26. Doodelay Explains
    Doodelay Explains says:

    I kinda feel like your friend was saying that the logo is great but because logos aren’t mindblowing things to begin with, there’s nothing to gush about – even when looking at the best logos on earth one never fawns over it. They are more like a star in a constellation. An individual star isn’t particularly interesting inside of a constellation, but the image that all the stars create together makes or breaks your opinion of the constellation. In this case, the company brand.

    Reply

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