What makes a good logo?

I recently had a panic attack. I wanted that oxygen mask to drop from the overhead cabin so I could take a lo-o-o-o-o-ong, slow drag.

My design team and I are working on logos for my classic car site Gone Autos. I have two designers on this issue, and neither of them was really knocking it out of the park. Bummed out, I was. I wanted to flee, retreat, and run away. I was worried that nothing they were developing was making my emotional EKG blip.

And then...light bulb!


Like a lightning strike, I received an email from one of the LinkedIn groups that I subscribe to. One of the conversation threads started with a list of 25 outstanding logo designs. I looked at them, and they lit me up! Inspiring! And I got to thinking.

Warning: pontification ahead.

Seems to me that a great logo does several things. It’s visually simple while simultaneously combining or reconciling a few different abstract ideas.

And that’s what was missing from the logo designs I had received so far. Honestly, what was missing was the discussions between me and my designers about what ideas might work and what wouldn’t. Then again, you never know what will work if you don’t try.

So now they’ve tried. And failed to inspire. Then I saw some transcendent logos, and I got inspired. So I communicated my ideas to one designer and have put her back on the trail.

In my desire to flee when I didn’t see something that inspired me immediately, I forgot the fact that great ideas take time to polish and refine.

I wrote in an earlier post about needing the patience to let some of my revenue-generating ideas work. Gotta remember to apply that idea to important work like creating logos too. If it’s really important, slow down and give yourself the time to do it right. Or you’ll be doing it again. Over and over.
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