Tips for Designing Your Business Logo
Designing a company logo may sound like a simple task, but this isn't always the case. Unless you are a skilled logo designer, chances are you will have to outsource the job to a professional logo or brand identity designer. A logo is not something you should try and create yourself in the hopes of saving money because, in the long run, this will have the opposite effect and will more than likely damage your business’ image and reputation.
Designing a logo takes time and, during the logo design process, a lot of steps and stages must be completed in order to create that perfect identity for your brand. The trick here is to find someone who shares and understands your vision. As you begin the design process, everyone sees a potential logo from a different perspective. The public does not always have the same perception as the brand owner or the designer. Because of this, it's best to keep a few things in mind as you start the process.
Think about Logo Concepts
Before you begin, put yourself in customer mode for a moment and think about all the memorable and popular logos that you've seen. There are certain qualities every logo must have in order to be successful. The first rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Too many letters, numbers, concepts, or pictures will only confuse the idea. A logo must also be memorable and appropriate. You want a logo to convey your brand’s philosophy as well as being memorable. It must also have versatility and strength, besides being functional across various mediums and applications.
Visualize the Design
Design is perhaps the most important concept in the creation of a logo. From a coat of arms, to company logos, marks, and symbols, and even printed collateral, such as business cards and letterheads, this key part of a logo will catch the public's eye and keep them interested. It's good to scribble down some ideas, even if design is not your forte. You want to give your designer something tangible so that they get a sense for the direction in which you want to take your logo.
Always try to visualize your logo design in black and white before you even consider thinking about color as you don’t want it to depend on color to communicate visually. Try to do some rough preliminary sketches to give to your logo designer. The more information you can give to them the better, as it will help them during the research and ideation stages. Remember: color comes last!
It’s ok to have a color palette in mind and you can let your designer know about it, but designers work in black and white when first designing the logo. Their focus is to get that logo to work well in black and white and color is added later on in the design process.
Moving forward, your overall brand will have its own color system that it uses on graphical elements and marketing collateral that represent your brand. You want your designer to truly understand your brand and the message it conveys, so give them a few ideas they can work with and the assortment of different colors you have in mind.
Avoid Borrowing and Clichés
Once an idea gets popular in the logo and graphic design world, it has a tendency to really take off. This is an area on which you need to tread carefully. While you want your logo to be noticed, you also want it to be versatile and long-lasting. Try to avoid using any type of design clichés (ideas as light bulb pictures, for instance) or borrow from other brands.
Instead, try using the name of the company as creatively as possible. Take a look at the Amazon.com logo, noting that the arrow that points from the A to the Z. This is no accident, and it is a clever twist used to convey that Amazon sells everything from A to Z as well as the smile a customer has when they have purchased the item they wanted.
The Apple logo is another great design. You may be wondering why it has a bite taken out of it, but the reason is crystal clear: it’s there for scale. It was also sort of an iconic treatment that would ensure the logo burns into people’s minds. The logo is timeless and beautiful in its simplicity and has been around for over 30 years. It’s unlikely that it will be changed in the foreseeable future.
Another popular design aspect in famous logos is the use of negative space and a few big logos spring to mind. At first glance, the FedEx logo looks like a plain text based logo but when you take a closer look between the “E” and the “X” you will see an arrow which represents the accuracy and speed of their deliveries.
One of the more obverse, big negative space logo designs is the Formula 1 logo. The negative space “1” is clearly visible and the logo is very simple with the “F” negative space “1” and the red lines to create a sense of speed- a clever logo indeed!
A not so obverse negative space logo design is the Toblerone logo. There are still many people out there who don’t know about this one and you may be surprised as well. If you look closely at the mountain, you may be able to see it. The Toblerone logo contains the image of a bear hidden in the Matterhorn Mountain, which is where Toblerone originally came from.
Choose Fonts Wisely
Different and unusual fonts are also a great idea. A lot of things are in a standard font, such as Times New Roman or similar. Helvetica is also a very popular font and a typeface that is used by many designers quite often. The typeface was designed in Switzerland in 1957 by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann at the Haas type foundry and has received numerous awards and worldwide recognition. It also has its own documentary as well as books about it. Don’t be afraid to branch out and grab the customer's attention with a readable, but eye-catching font.
Think about extremely popular logos and how they have changed over time. (Popular fizzy pop brands are a great example). Don't rush to change a design too soon – even the Nike logo took years to take off. In fact, Nike founder Phil Knight told Carolyn Davidson: "I don't love it, but I think it will grow on me."
If it meets all of the criteria (simple, versatile, adaptable, and memorable), then it's likely that in time it will be a winner. And remember that the logo does not need to explain what a company does, it needs to be an identifier for your brand, and this is a trap that many people fall into.
There really is no right or wrong way to create a logo. However, it's a good idea to look at other companies and learn from them. A logo can make or break your company and has the potential to seriously damage your reputation. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s important to keep these three things in mind when designing your logo:
- Customer Perception - Think about the emotions you want it to convey and how it should make your customers feel.
- Developing trust – Generic logos create poor perception for your brand. A unique and well designed logo helps to establish credibility for your brand.
- Creating loyalty – When there is trust, there is loyalty and customers will tend to go back to what they’re familiar with.
Customer perception, trust, and loyalty, all create a chain reaction in effect towards your company’s performance. It’s important to take note of how a logo can potentially influence your brand and its target market. In the end, logos are deemed to be a potential customer’s first impression of your brand, so don’t create confusion and a negative perception around it. Make sure that your logo can accurately represent your business, but also that it catches your target audience’s attention.
The Logo Creative™ is a UK based brand identity design studio working with clients internationally. They also have a community of passionate logo & brand identity designers on Twitter where they share daily brand identity design work. They also conduct and share interviews with top designers from around the world and have designer spotlights where they showcase other designers' work.