Simple Design Guide: How to Create a Superior Logo
As you well know, your business logo is much more than an image or a colorful compilation of words. It communicates the value, purpose, and integrity of your brand and plays a significant part in how people perceive your business. Whether you have an established logo or are at the beginning phases of creating your first one, there are a few design considerations you should make in order to craft a compelling and memorable logo.
First things first: Do your research, know your audience
Knowing whom you are trying to engage and what kinds of images, colors, and language they respond to is critical for crafting a logo that is recognizable and distinct from your competition. Your competitors and other industry leaders are a great resource for determining what you want your brand to look and feel like. Take note of what stands out to you. Which symbols and color combinations evoke the feelings you want your logo to generate?
Once you have a clear idea about whom you are trying to reach through your brand and logo, use this Logo 101 checklist to guarantee you are on track to developing a logo that aligns with your brand:
This is a loaded and subjective topic, since style is based on personal preference. However, there are a few stylistic guidelines you should adhere to if you want to establish a long-lasting logo.
Limit your logo to two colors. Consider black and white as your two freebie colors, so have at most only two additional colors in your logo. When you start including all the colors of the rainbow, your logo can look crowded and frenetic. From a cost standpoint, multiple colors mean additional fees when you’re using outside vendors for business cards, T-shirts, travel mugs, etc., as they usually charge by the color. For a small business, additional color fees can add up and quickly eat up your budget.
Proportion is everything. Well-balanced and symmetrical designs tend to be the most popular because they create a sense of quality and are aesthetically pleasing. This does not mean your logo must include only perfect circles or squares. It does suggest you should think about how the logo appears and if it seems balanced to the viewer. The Apple logo is a great example of a logo that is proportionate and balanced without being completely symmetrical.
Image courtesy of Apple
Highlighting key differentiators between your brand and your competition is a strong way to build a memorable logo. Since you’ve researched your competition and understand your value proposition, include these elements in your logo. You want to avoid being easily confused with a competitor or existing brand in another industry. Separate yourself from the rest and be unique.
This is an opportunity to incorporate a piece of your personality as the business owner. It’s your business, and you are an integral part of the business experience. If you have flair, your logo should be punchy. Are you highly organized? A clean, modern design with cool tones may reflect your personality the best. Don’t omit yourself from your business — this is another point of distinction.
Think of your favorite brand logos and figure out why you prefer them and can remember them so easily. These are the things you want to incorporate into your logo.
You’re creating a logo so your business is recognizable and automatically triggers your business’s name when anyone sees the logo. This type of recognition means it must have staying power and has to toe the line between traditional and modern. Of-the-moment trends are great for advertisements, but your logo is intended to appeal to customers for years to come. Creating a logo that features the Pantone color of the year or a specific typography that is popular today is bound to fail you in the long run because these are passing trends. Stay true to your brand standards and guidelines and you can’t go wrong with your design.
When working on your logo, think of the commonalities between companies with timeless logos: UPS, Burger King, Ford, Target, etc. They’ve stood the test of time because they are iconic, but have been able to iterate in accord with changing times without the companies’ losing sight of their brand identity.
If you have an existing logo, you are well aware of how it affects your potential and current customers. In a continually evolving business, logos are revised and revamped every so often in order to remain relevant and modern. However, your new logo should have the same feel as your previous one. Subtlety is key when it comes to successful logo adaptations. Starbucks is a prime example of an ever-changing logo that has maintained its brand essence throughout its numerous iterations.
Image courtesy of Foundry Digital
Keep this in mind as you embark on your logo adaptation.
Versatility of logos is often overlooked. You create this awesome graphic that portrays your business with the necessary panache, but then you try to apply it to different media (digital and print products) and it doesn’t translate. Make a logo that is adaptable and maintains its integrity across various platforms and materials. Check the pixelation when you reduce and enlarge the logo. The clarity should remain the same; if it is at all skewed, revise it until its quality is consistent across all media platforms. Also review how your logo looks in black and white. You’ll be surprised how frequently you’ll need to reduce the colors in your logo for external use. All of these tests verify that your logo can be used to its fullest extent without jeopardizing its quality.
An appropriate logo reflects the culture and values of the company. It engenders confidence about the brand and its authority within its industry. Keeping your industry and your target audience top of mind during your logo-design process assists you in developing an appropriate logo. Consider common colors, symbols, and conjured emotions from your competitors’ logos to design a logo that is in line with industry preferences and suitability. For example, a compelling logo for an accounting firm would not include neon-green lettering and cartoon-like images. People look for reassurance, financial responsibility, and professionalism when selecting an accountant, and those colors and images do not reflect those values; they’re not a fit for the audience. Again, “appropriate” is a subjective term, so use your best judgment, and if necessary, solicit unbiased opinions from people outside your organization to gather their feelings about your design. If strangers feel good about the logo and its relevant industry, you’re on the right track.
DesignMantic published a fantastic SlideShare about traits of memorable logos and homed in on the most common associations related to specific design elements.
We hope these tips are useful to you no matter where you are in your logo design.
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