Your logo is your company’s ambassador to the world at large. It is a major way in which people connect with you. And it’s probably the single most important single piece of visual branding you’ve got. So if this piece of your company brand is so important, what can you do to make sure yours is the best it can be?

Here are five simple guidelines you can use to help you on your logo-making journey.

  1. Make it Memorable

You might think this goes without saying, but try keeping an eye out the rest of the day for logos that are bland or boring. You’ll see all sorts of things you never remembered before because, well, they weren’t memorable. What “memorable” means can differ widely depending on your target audience, so use your knowledge of your own customers to best craft your logo.

  1. Keep it Simple

If something is too complex, people have trouble remembering it, and it takes them too long to process. Consider the simplicity of Apple’s apple, or the golden arches of McDonald’s. Even if you can’t read their ad as you drive down the highway, just catching a quick glimpse of their logo instantly makes you think of them. And the more mindshare you can get with your customers, the better you can expect business to be.

  1. Account for Versatility

A good logo should be usable across a variety of mediums and colors, because as your company grows and you come up with new ways to market yourself, you’ll start to need logos everywhere, and each location will have its own constraints. You don’t want to have to spend precious time and money making logo alterations, so make sure to remember versatility and get it right the first time.

  1. Ensure its Enduring

On a similar note, a good logo should be enduring over time — something that’s independent of any sort of references to contemporary events, cultural climates, etc. For example, take the World Wildlife Fund’s panda. This logo works now because it symbolizes an endangered species. If (tragically) the panda were to go extinct, the logo could be seen as a rallying cry — urging people to prevent what happened to this animal from happening to others. If (more happily) the panda were to get off the endangered list, it could be a symbol of victory and of momentum going into the future. In short, the logo can be used pretty much forever.

  1. Create Something Unique

And, of course, create something unique. They say there are no new ideas under the sun, and that may be true — coming up with a logo that is completely different from any other would be a significant challenge. But as long as you are differentiated enough that you can register in people’s heads as a separate entity, you should be OK. You may want to test this if you’re worried that you’re too close to an existing logo, otherwise you may end up spending your marketing dollars giving business to someone else!

A logo is a key part of your marketing, your business, and your brand. Properly done, it can stick in people’s heads and make them remember you, bringing together all the disparate elements of your marketing (and other outward-facing) activities. Poorly done, it will just cost you time and money, and may even end up redirecting your business elsewhere. If you make use of these five tips, though, you’re sure to come up with a logo that will do you — and your business — proud. Good luck!