When you think about a blue bird, what company comes to mind? How about the letter “M” that forms two golden arches? These are two examples of logos that have become synonymous with the products they offer.
If you have a small business or work as a freelancer, your logo is your shopfront. It is likely to be the first thing people see.
While your logo can be simple, it should represent what you do and make people remember you. If you’re not sure how to design a logo, here are the steps you should take to create a memorable logo.
1. Understand Your Company and Your Goals
Before you open Photoshop or rush to hire a graphic designer, you need to answer several questions:
- Why did you start the company?
- What are you most passionate about in this company?
- What makes your company best at what it does? What solutions does it offer?
- Who is your target audience (age, profession, socioeconomic status, gender, etc.)?
- What are three words that you want your audience to use when they describe your company?
- What is the goal of your logo? To provoke familiarity, get clicks, describe your service, help sell branded merchandise, or something else?
These will help you learn how to design a business logo best suited for your company. For example, if your company values include integrity and reliability, perhaps you should go with straight lines and basic shapes. If your core audience is young adults, maybe the logo could be more playful.
With the answers to these questions, you can also pin down your key elements. Your company may excel at connecting people or problem-solving, for instance, and both inspire their own unique imagery.
2. Gain Inspiration From Other Logos
It’s easiest to find inspiration from people who are already doing it. Research other companies in your industry (and related industries) and look at their logos.
This research will give you an idea of what works, what doesn’t work, and what you want to avoid. Take note of the colors, shapes, images, and fonts that you like and don’t like. This will help you narrow down your design.
You can also check out non-logo resources to draw inspiration from. For instance, you can Google the three words you would use to describe your company, and see what results you get on Google Images.
3. Figure Out the Key Elements of Your Logo
After you understand your goals, motivations, and get a general sense of what you like, you need to decide on the different elements of the logo. So, don’t take out the sketchpad just yet. Make sure to consider these elements before you get started:
- Logo style: Your style may be vintage, modern, techy, romantic, or something else. Above all, it should reflect the values of your business.
- Logo type: There are five main types: a Symbol logo is just one main icon or shape, a Wordmark uses the company name, a Lettermark creates a symbol from initials, and a Combination Mark combines the elements of both Wordmark and Symbol logo types. Finally, an Emblem is similar to a crest, and has the company name in it.
- Color palette: The best logos are recognizable even when they are in black and white. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use colors—just try to limit them to three or less. Also consider the different emotions the colors evoke, and how they can help your business (such as blue for loyalty, or purple for luxury).
- Typography: The font you choose also says a lot about your brand. Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman, are more traditional. Sans Serif fonts, like Helvetica, have a more modern tone. Script (like Brusher) are cursive fonts and thus more flowery. And Display fonts are more unique or quirky.
You can use websites like Coolors to gain inspiration for your color palette. As for the fonts and images, you can use royalty-free versions, or purchase others for commercial use.
4. How to Create Your Own Logo With This Information
The previous stages should put you in a good position to understand what you want. Once you go through all of them, create a mood board using Pinterest, or just copy and paste everything into a Word document.
The board should include all of the images, fonts, colors, and logos that you like. You can create several boards if you have a few concepts in mind. Show these boards to your colleagues to see what works best.
If you choose to hire a designer, this board will help them visualize what you want and is a great starting point. Along with the board, include a few words about how it represents your company.
If you decide to make the logo yourself, this board is also useful. There are some great websites that you can use to create logos for your business, all of which have templates that match many different logo styles.
Some of these sites will ask you the same type of questions that we outlined in the first step of this guide (logo type, industry, style), and will then use your answers to show you the most relevant designs.
5. Create Multiple Versions and Sizes of Your Logo
Now that you know how to design a logo from scratch and you’re well on your way to creating a finished product, it’s time to talk about deliverables.
First, you need to ensure that you have several sizes of your logo to fit all situations. For instance, you may want a small, round logo for your Twitter thumbnail, a rectangle for your website header, and a print-size square for your business cards.
Also ensure you have different iterations of the logo, such as a black and white version, a version using just one color or inverted colors, as well as one with a transparent background. For that, learn one of the many ways to make a background transparent.
You want to make sure you have a logo for any situation, so it can appear across all of your marketing materials and maintain your brand identity.
What Not to Do When You Create a Logo
If you feel a bit unsure about the final result, there are a few things that can help you decide if the logo is no good.
Did you fall into any cliches with the design (e.g. a picture of a feathered pen for a copywriter)? Did you use too many colors? Is the logo too detailed to be recognizable on a small scale? Does it not reflect your company’s values?
If the answer to one of these questions is yes, maybe you need to go back to the drawing board. But don’t worry—you’ll get there eventually.
There are a lot of apps available for making logos on an Android smartphone. Let’s find out the ones worth installing on your smartphone.
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