• Jeremy Ryan

What Makes A Compelling Logo?

A compelling logo is simple and easily recreated. Logos with too many elements are hard to remember. Was that a unicorn and a lion on the crest?


Symbols are as old as human civilization, they are wordless storytellers. Ancient Handprints on cave walls and hand-painted images of animals, hieroglyphs and religious symbols, mathematical symbols. They transcend all languages. They transcend words themselves. Those simple shapes each tell us a wordless story, we listen with our eyes and understand.


A compelling logo is simple and easily recreated. Overcomplicated logos with too many elements are hard to remember. Was that a unicorn and a lion on the crest? or a lion and an eagle? Or was that a dragon? If it’s just one of those elements it is easy to remember. There is an elegance and an eloquence to simplicity. A great logo can be memorized in the blink of an eye.


With an overcomplicated logo, it’s like that game “telephone,” where a sentence or phrase gets passed around a group through whispers. By the time the last person is told the sentence it is completely different from the original sentence. The more complicated the sentence, the more different it becomes through the whisper mill. In order to prevent this from happening with your logo, keep it simple, easy to remember, and share.


A logo is a communication. A communication, when done simply and effectively, can easily be repeated. It has been said throughout the ages that the best symbols can be drawn with a stick in the sand.


"A good logo can be drawn in the sand with a stick"

You know whether you’re being offered a Coke or a Pepsi by just looking at their logos absent of words, that is the power of a logo.


What should your logo communicate?


Your logo is your company’s symbol. What is your symbol about? How what makes your company unique? How did you name your company?

Some logos are literal like that of the company Janus Capital Group named after the Roman god. While not simple in design, it is simple and compelling in concept: of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. An easily recognizable symbol of the god it was named after, the two-faced head has one looking to the past the other to the future.


This classic choice makes complete sense for a financial services company. The company has an eye on the past and the future, demonstrating stability and steadiness. This logo feels established and enduring.

Other companies take a more conceptual approach like Nike’s swoosh. Nike is named after the Greek goddess of victory, the symbol is not an image of the goddess but of both the wing and of movement and speed. Three messages in one simple enduring image.

This conceptual and new imagery makes perfect sense for a sporting goods company. Sports, athletes, and athletics are fluid and always changing and moving.

At Metamorphosis, we chose the butterfly for our logo. The butterfly is an archetypal symbol of transformation and blossoming, coming into one's own and becoming ones potential. Not only do we feel that the butterfly is a representation of our own blossoming as a business, but also of our goal to help our clients come into their fullest potential.

The butterfly is a migratory creature. The entire life of a butterfly is an epic journey.

Business is transition and transformation and most of all a journey. For all of these reasons, we chose the Butterfly for our own Logo.


So which kind of company are you? What is your approach to your brand? Who is your company? Can you describe your company with a symbol drawn by a stick in the sand?


If not, maybe we can help.