The Chanel logo, seen above, is one of the most recognizable and iconic logos around. Designed by Coco Chanel herself, it hasn't changed in nearly 100 years.
There aren't many logos you can say all that about and the ones you can are simple and uncluttered.
I could have chosen any number of successful brands with simple logos to demonstrate the point - Nike, Apple, Amazon, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Gucci, Bass, World Wildlife Fund, etc. - as almost all logos that stand the test of time share common elements:
1) They're simple
Simple doesn't mean easy. It means they aren't crammed with unnecessary embellishments.
This can be really important regarding reproducing the logo in many formats, from on screens to printed on paper to sewn into clothing.
2) They're memorable
Their simplicity makes them easy to remember. You don't have to remember lots of details, which makes the logo easy to spot.
Our eyes tend to be drawn to things that stand out, including things we recognize, which has obvious implications for logo design.
3) They don't rely on colour
The days of asking "will it fax?" might be over, but being able to reproduce a logo in black and white is a good test of whether or not the logo's adaptable and, therefore, memorable.
Another reason, of course, is to not alienate colour blind customers.
How to declutter your logo
What's written above can be condensed into these three points:
1) Remove unnecessary embellishments
Do you really need the gradients, bevels and intricate details? Probably not. If anything, they're probably going to make your logo date very quickly.
2) Make it simple
Cut back on embellishments and cut back on unnecessary details. Make it simple to recall and reproduce.
3) Make it in black and white first
If it looks good in black and white, you're probably on to a winner. You can add colour, if you want to, but taking it away can seriously affect look of your logo.
Why you should consider it
Hopefully this should be clearer now. Loads of the most recognizable logos in the world are simple and uncluttered.
Not only will this help you to make money, it'll also help you to save a lot. As I mentioned, the Chanel logo has remained unchanged in nearly a century.
Just as an example, compare that to the evolution of the Mercedes-Benz logo, below. See how even a marque with such status has chosen a simpler logo despite obvious advances in technology.
Again, I could have chosen any number of brands, including some established less than a decade ago.
The point is, imagine how much changing your logo can cost. First you have to find the time and money to develop the new logo, then you have to replace it on everything: your premises, your products, your website, your business cards and stationery, and anything else you produce it on.
Just to show that I'm not a does as I say, not as I do type of chap, here's how my logo has changed over the years.
Yes, the big black block is my current logo.
It's an evolution/combination of the cross logo (in the second and fourth images above, representing a compass with an emphasis on 'east') and the blocks, combined with the emphasis on east, seen in the third and fourth images.
As you can imagine, it's very simple to reproduce and doesn't take much to remember.