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The 7-Step-Paul-Rand Logo-Test

The 7-Step-Paul-Rand Logo-Test

David Tucker
6th Jul 2019
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Any logo designer, be it a professional and experienced one or a novice trainee, is at times doubtful of the quality and effectiveness of the logo they have designed. Opinions by reliable experts can count a lot but is not a reliable solution at all times.

To help any graphic artist or logo designer to answer the crucial question of whether their logo is an effective one or not, Paul Rand has come up with the 7-Step-Paul-Rand Logo-Test. This article aims at helping you put your logo to the 7-step test and learn where your logo stands according to Paul Rand’s standards.


A Luminary Graphic Designer

A graphic designer and art director by profession, the genius Paul Rand hails from America and is a leading name in the field of logo designing. He is especially famous for his creations for corporate giants such as Steve Jobs’ NeXT, IBM, Enron, ABC, UPS, etc.


Formulating The 7-Step-Paul-Rand Logo-Test

When Paul Rand was hired by Steve Jobs for creating the logo for NeXT, Rand refused to provide any revised versions of his logo. Instead of supplying Steve Jobs with other options, the legendary Paul Rand came up with a booklet of around 100 pages.

This document, suggesting a test based on 7 steps, revolutionized the world of logo designing. The core of this test relies on the quality of simplicity and minimalism.

Till date, aspiring designers apply this test to their creative works to improve their credibility and performance.

This test consists of 7 steps to gauge a logo and determine its value and scope. Each step tries to answer a question regarding one aspect of logo design.

As you answer questions 1 to 6, rate your logo on a scale of 1 to 10. However, on reaching question 7, rate your logo on a scale of 1 to 15. This is due to more weight being given to the last aspect of the criteria set by Paul Rand. If your tally is something below 60, then your logo needs some serious revisions. However, a total of 75 is believed to be ideal. The 7 steps are as follows:


Step 1: Is the logo distinctive?

The first question you need to ask yourself while reviewing the logo is if it is distinctive or not. It has to be unique, a logo, unlike any other. It needs to be easily distinguishable and have some qualities that set it apart from other logos in the market. Having a distinct logo will help the brand beat the competition in the market and appeal to its target audience. The logo needs to be unique in any of the several areas; lettering, spacing, fonts, text placement, color selection, etc.


Step 2: Is the logo visible?

The second question you need to answer while critiquing your artwork is if the logo is visible or not. Visibility plays a major role in determining the success of your design. If a logo is visible, it means it is easy to notice and can be clearly seen without much trouble.

Most logos are easily visible if they are covering a lot of space. Colour also plays a vital role in enhancing visibility as different backgrounds can have different effects on the hues of each color. The colors need to make your logo clear and easy to distinguish. Since most logos are drafted using black and white, it is challenging to predict the visibility of a logo. Smart designers need to have a clear vision keeping in mind the resulting effects of various backgrounds on the visibility of the logo.


Step 3: Is the logo adaptable?

Third, you need to check your design and test it for adaptability. An adaptable logo is one which can easily appear on several platforms and across several mediums; be it a newspaper, a mug, a ballpoint pen, a website, a mobile app icon or a billboard. It should be clear and recognizable across all mediums. It does not lose its visual appeal or original graphic identity due to variety in shape or size of mediums.


Step 4: Is the logo a memorable one?

The fourth question you need to answer to determine if your logo is a strong one or not is about how people associate with it. You need to ask yourself if the logo will prove to be memorable or not. A logo should be something special, it should feel like something not easy to forget. If your logo has this quality of being exceptional and unforgettable, consumers will readily form an association of your logo with the service or use its brand provides. If your logo does not have any visual appeal, some striking feature or any emotion, it will fail to arrest the minds and captivate the imagination of your target audience.


Step 5: Is the logo universal?

Another very crucial question you need to address to determine the scope and market value of your logo is whether it is universal or not. If your logo embodies universality, it can easily appeal to a wide range of people and connect your brand to consumers across the globe. The logo with a universal appeal can convey the same story, emotion, and brand image worldwide. This quality can prove to be the most challenging to achieve as the world is full of varied audiences with different viewpoints and ideologies. Universally accepted colors and images that hold certain significance can be used to achieve this goal.


Step 6: Is the logo timeless?

A question quite abstract in nature but important nevertheless, is whether the logo is timeless or not. One easy way to ensure that your logo is a timeless representation of any brand is to steer clear of any current trends or fads. No matter how tempted you are to incorporate a particular font, colour, image, or word in your logo only because it is in vogue, resist the temptation at all times.

Maintain a minimalistic approach and avoid unnecessary fancy artwork to create a classic and unfading logo, as less is more. Do not go overboard by adding too many elements just because it is trending. In this way, your logo has chances to outlast any trends which are around temporarily.


Step 7: Is the logo simple?

This last question is what it all ultimately boils down to. You need to ask yourself if your logo is simple or not. Paul Rand laid great emphasis on this quality of a logo. Paul Rand is of the view that a good and strong logo should embody simplicity and minimalism. Rand suggests that a logo should be crafted with great precision, control, and restraint. It should be trimmed off of any excess and frivolous elements to reveal the core, unique idea in its purest state.

Too many details should be removed to be left with the kernel of the logo. However, you should keep in mind that there is a fine line between being ‘simple’ and ‘boring.’ Your logo should not be devoid of extra elements to the extent of becoming unappealing to the audience.

Paul Rand considers this point as the most important one of all. Hence, he suggests a scale of 1 to 15 to rate a logo for simplicity.

Final word

While drafting a logo, any designer can apply the 7-Step-Paul-Rand Logo-Test to their artwork and score themselves. This will help you realize whether your logo can successfully create a long-lasting impact on the market or not.

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