Logos are a funny thing.
A logo must be memorable, otherwise the consumer will not remember it (duh) and the company behind it, and will be less likely to go back to the company for future purchases.
Yet, a logo must not be so overpowering that it becomes the central focus of the company’s products. If the company exists primarily on sales from logo wear, it is not a company I want to patronize. The products have to have some redeemable value aside from the presence of a logo.
A logo must be simple, straightforward, and instantly recognizable. It must encapsulate the entirety of the company’s mission and philosophy, and must appeal to individuals in the target market. It must not be so simple as to be forgettable, yet it also must not be so complex as to be confusing or indecipherable.
It must say everything important about the company in the span of a glance, both memorable and not too intrusive, easily remembered, yet not glaringly obvious.
Logos often say more about the company to a potential customer than anything else the company can provide. Mission statement, product offering, company history…none of these are as powerful as the logo. Companies must carefully develop their logos, and consider potential changes to the logo even more carefully.
The logo should therefore be conceived in meaningful exchanges between company and graphic designer. It should be birthed slowly and allowed to develop in an almost organic way, symbiotic with the company and its mission. This is why I fear for the future of good design when more and more companies are turning to crowd-sourcing and quick fixes for their design needs. (And there I go with my anti-crowd-sourcing tirade again.)