5 Characteristics of a Great Logo

posted in: Branding, Design 2

Nothing represents your accounting firm more clearly than your logo. From envelopes to social media sites to business cards, this image goes everywhere your firm does, and each time it appears, people think of your firm. Because it’s so ubiquitous, your logo needs to be not just okay, but awesome.

This visual representation carries the weight of your reputation; it should work to bolster a positive impression of the firm every time it is seen. A weak logo, or one that isn’t treated well, works against all the effort you put into client service, marketing and building your brand. So how can you assess the quality of this critical component of your overall branding? Take an honest look at your logo. Can you give it full credit for each of these five attributes? Great logos are:

  1. Distinctive: Everything you do to market your firm revolves around helping you stand out from the crowd, and your logo should do this in spades. Its color and shape must both be distinct from those used by other CPA firms as well as popular brands in completely unrelated market sectors. In short, your logo must be unique. Obviously, there are only so many colors to choose from, but the way you design your logo should make it trigger thoughts of your firm at the slightest glance. After all, what’s the use of having a logo for your accounting firm if, upon seeing it, viewers are likely to think of sneakers, their alma mater or another firm?
  2. Simple: The best logos are simple. This not only makes them easier to recognize, but also helps them stand out. Overly busy or detailed logos tend to be overlooked, since they demand more work to visually decode. Choose a simple graphic that the brain can instantly recognize and you’ll be rewarded with better recognition wherever the logo appears, along with positive feelings in those who see it. Your logo symbolizes your firm, and whether we consciously think of it or not as we process the information, humans appreciate an easy success – including the task of matching a symbol to its meaning.
  3. Memorable: Think of Target, Nike and Apple. You instantly pictured each of their respective logos, didn’t you? All three deserve kudos, because whatever your feelings about the organizations, theirs are some of the most memorable logos around. (Note that they’re also exceptionally simple and distinctive, attributes that contribute significantly to their ability to stick in your mind.) They’re not right for your firm, but they are perfect for the brands they represent. When making logo design decisions, aim at something equally memorable but tailored for your profession and the clients you serve.
  4. Flexible: Your logo doesn’t have to do the limbo, but it needs to look good everywhere it goes. That means in black and white as well as color. Speaking of color, your logo should be clear and attractive against backgrounds of many hues, since you won’t always be able to choose its backdrop. Scalability is critical as well. Design your logo to look magnificent on business cards and websites, but also ensure it works well when it’s very large and very small. Your logo should be just as attractive in billboard scale as it is in tiny form, like beside your name on Google Maps when viewed on a smartphone.
  5. Timeless: You want your logo to stand the test of time. It’s certainly possible to change logos, but that sort of rebranding comes at a cost. Choose a classic look for your logo – one that can be updated as needed (tempora mutantur) but that will still be something your firm can be proud to let represent you many years down the road. Again, the three distinctive brands mentioned above are a perfect example. All have been updated over the years to reflect the evolution of popular design styles, while remaining true to their original graphic.

A great logo is a real asset for your accounting firm. Invest the time to get it right, and if you don’t think your logo is perfect, take steps now to tweak or replace it. Once you’ve settled on a logo you love, show it the respect it deserves by creating brand standards and consistently following the guidelines they provide. Your logo is your firm’s flag, so make it beautiful and wave it proudly!

Follow Sarah:
Sarah Warlick is responsible for making us and all of our clients sound professional and eloquent as the content director at bbr marketing. In this role, Sarah is in charge of ensuring that all copy is well-written, accurate and free of pesky typos before it heads out the door. Additionally, she is a prolific writer and a frequent contributor to bbr marketing’s blog sites. She spends a good deal of time writing copy for our clients and has a unique way of crawling into our clients’ heads to create ghostwritten copy that sounds as if it came directly from their pen.
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2 Responses

  1. Scott Dine
    | Reply

    Excellent points and suggestions, Sarah! With tens of thousands of CPA and accounting firms in the market, it seems like a daunting task to create a logo or brand that is distinct and memorable; however, with the right team supporting the firm, the the seemingly impossible is certainly possible.

    Thanks for the great tips!


    • Sarah
      | Reply

      You’re absolutely right, Scott. It’s a real challenge to design a logo that stands among so many others, and it is that plethora of competing brands, firms and logos that makes the task so critical. But as you say, the right team and a committed approach can achieve the near-impossible. I appreciate the comment!


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