10 Logo Design Tips for Establishing Credibility

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Logo designs that demonstrate a company’s credibility have a unique ability to create a community of brand activists. These logos augment brand loyalty by aptly establishing credibility into the logo mark through a visual demonstration of the company’s trustworthy character traits.

Designers strategize on how to mirror the brand’s credibility when conceptualizing a logo design for a client. If you’re wondering how designers visually establish credibility in the logo design that will stand the test of time and spark brand loyalty among its audience, then Dr. Bill Haig—a student of Saul Bass—has some pointers to get you started in the planning process.


Dr. Haig breaks down the credibility-based logo design process into 10 strategies for an effective logo design. He has spent decades studying logo design and what makes powerful logos succeed in the marketplace. He shares his extensive knowledge of the subject from his doctorate thesis. View his ten logo design tips below for a credibility-based logo design, excerpted from the course. To learn more about his credible logo design process, visit his site powerlogos.com.

10 Logo Design Tips for Establishing Credibility

1. Logos must be credibility-based. Credibility-based logo design is based on the simple principle that when companies or people are credible, they are more persuasive. When a company logo, as the source of the company message, portrays the company as competent, expert or knowledgeable in its field of business, while at the same time portrays the company as trustworthy, it will enable the company’s message to be more persuasive.


For example, this timeless Saul Bass logo for United Way symbolizing “helping hand” and “hope” which is what United Way does.

3. Logos must be designed to communicate a company’s trustworthy traits. This gets a bit trickier and really calls on a designer’s knowledge of design as nonverbal communication. You’re using design to communicate desired traits. All companies have different trustworthy traits. A local bus service might want to communicate “professional” and “friendly.” An antique shop, “We’ve been around a long time.” A website designer “cutting-edge” and “highly creative.”

4. Logos must be planned with the client to be credibility-based. Saul Bass used to say that a great logo doesn’t come out of thin air. It has a basis for being what it is. A logo must be planned for desired credibility traits unique to the client.

5. Use the right system. It’s important in planning your logo to start off right. There are three basic logo systems that most logos fit into: text only, monogram, symbol with text.

6. The logo and the company name should work together to express credibility. You may be asked whether the company name should be retained or not. This depends on whether the name is well-known. If your client is a new business, and could benefit from a name change, then go for it. Here is the rationale. The symbol is a visual expression of company credibility; the company name is a verbal expression. Names like Mail Boxes, etc., The Closet Company and Home Depot all say what the company does. On the other hand, names like Cebit, Retrospex and Habasco do not describe the company business, thus negating the opportunity to express and plant the company’s brand credibility.

7. Logos must communicate. Logos must be prominent in the application. Think about how the logo is to be implemented and what variations are required. For an airline, there are long-distance viewing opportunities. There is signage in the airport and at check-in. There are flight attendant uniforms. All of these applications are in addition to the traditional, website, business cards, letterhead, advertising, etc. Think about these applications when you’re creating the logo and how it will be applied.

8. Use of credibility-based color in logo design. Colors must be selected to complement the credibility traits. The reason is that you’re working with credibility-based logo design principles which include desired traits even in color. In this sense, the color usually emphasizes, or may compliment a trait.

9. Form a brand team between the designer, client and implementation resource (preferably a one-stop shop). In the past 40 plus years I’ve been working in logo design, I have seen many good logo programs fall apart and loose consistency during the implementation phase. As a designer, you already know to create a logo so that it can be applied in 4-color, black and white, in various sizes, etc. I believe the more logo implementation resources, the greater chance the consistency with all the various applications can be lost.

10. All these rules can be broken by a designer who understands credibility-based logo design principles. Saul Bass used to say this occasionally when he had a good reason to break a rule when the design was right, in his opinion anyway. The point is not to interfere with creativity. Just use these rules as guidelines.

Learn how to design a masterful logo when you enroll in the course, Logo Design Basics.