Texas-based graphic designer Armin Vit chronicles thousands of new brand and identity projects every year through Brand New, a division of design firm and publishing enterprise Under Consideration, which he co-founded with his wife, Bryony Gomez-Palacio.
The ex-Pentagram designer has reviewed hundreds of thousands of the world's biggest and bravest branding projects, so who better to explain exactly what does – and doesn't – make the perfect branding?
We caught up with Vit to find out what makes a standout logo. Here are his five top tips…
01. Do the gut reaction test
The first thing I look for when evaluating a new logo or branding project is an initial, aesthetic, gut reaction: do I like it?
If I don't – if it requires a lot of explanation to make it make sense – then I won't enjoy it. But from the get-go, if it looks good, smart and well-constructed, then I'm at least interested.
02. Does it work?
I then look a lot at execution: how it works; how it might work in different contexts. I compare it to what they had before and what other companies in the same industry have. Does it stand out? Does it blend in?
I thought the Air BnB logo was really interesting. They were confident in their process and designers.
Nowadays most icons are taken: the Nike swoosh is taken, the Apple apple is taken – so coming up with a little symbol that can stand for something as big as Air BnB was really impressive.
03. Good logos make sense
Next, I look at every part of the explanation available from the client or designer. If the idea's good, you read the explanation they give you and think yeah, that makes sense.
When a logo's good, it's instantly clear and there's a solid, simple explanation behind it.
04. Have courage
What's the most common pitfall I see brand identity work fall prey to? Sometimes a project doesn't stand out. Either the designer or the client doesn't have the courage to do something different. Or if they chose to do something similar, they didn't have the commitment to it very, very well.
The most recent Google logo was really fantastic. Not so much the word mark, but when you look at the whole system behind it and the care that went into it.
It's a giant company taking a huge leap, going a completely different direction but somehow managing to maintain that quirky DNA they had. That sort of thing stands out regardless of the haters.
05. Take a step back
The key piece of advice I'd give a designer or studio tasked with a rebranding project is: when you present your work for the first time, make sure you've looked at it from an outside point of view.
Everything might make sense to you because you've been involved in the process. But designers and clients can get too involved in their own processes, and forget to step back and see how others are going to perceive it. Take a step back and ask: is this right? Does this work?