99.9% of the time, your first idea is the most obvious answer and the most obvious answer isn’t unique. Your goal is to create a logo that will make a memorable impression on a viewer and that idea needs to be linked with a unique visual. Look for a different angle or the road less traveled. Find the connection that makes that idea unique to begin with and extrapolate that connection into a hand-crafted visual. Once you find that deeper idea, the logo will resonate better with both the client and the target demographic.
Plan for everything. Your logo will have to be legible at many sizes and on many mediums; therefore, you will need to plan for them. Think that line might be too thin? Print out what you have at a tiny size and see. Concerned your logo may be restricted to being used in a more vertical space? Try to design alternate versions that work better in a more horizontally oriented space. Afraid the logo might not stand out enough in the environment in which it’s placed? Try using fewer colors or make a higher contrast version (or simply a 1 color version). All of these situations can be accounted for and outlined in a brand standards guide that should be used as a supplement to the logo files themselves.
A logo needs to transmit an idea to its viewer, ideally in the simplest way possible. Strip away all of the unnecessary elements and trendy gimmicks and you’re left with an idea that will stand the test of time.
One of my favorite logos liquidfish has produced has been the Surveysaurus logo, which changed for the better when adhering to these tips. It came to us as an idea and with a little inspiration, we were able to push it beyond the obvious and execute a truly unique and memorable mark.