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What makes a truly great logo

How a simple mark ends up meaning something big

About once a month, there's a new logo to fight about on the internet. The biggest one in recent memory was the highly controversial Hillary Clinton logo, which did not escape scrutiny from either.

But something about these repeated discussions struck me as missing the point on what makes logos tick. What makes them work often has little to do with the subjective musings. Most of the best logos in the world hit us slowly, arising out of obscurity – not from making a big splash.

So I called up Michael Bierut, the designer of that Hillary Clinton logo, countless others, and author of How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, cry, and (every once in a while) change the world. He sat down with me and helped explain the elements of a great logo in the video above.