Logo designers are professional graphic designers who create unique and custom brand imagery for the individual or company who hired them. Logo designers can either be freelancers, full-time employees at a design firm or advertising agency, or work under a temporary contract. Most professional designers have an undergraduate degree in graphic design and may also have experience in marketing and advertising.
Creating a logo for your business can feel overwhelming. This first impression is supposed to communicate your business’s purpose, expertise, and mission.
1- Keep Your Story in Mind
What do you want everyone to know most about your business? That you’re trustworthy? That you’re professional? Maybe that you are a ton of fun to work with! It’s important to think about what is most important to convey because believe it or not, people will have preconceived notions about your business based on your logo. Think of it as a first impression.
Here’s a good logo to examine:
Take a second and reflect – What did you think when you saw this logo?
It conveys professionalism and innovation. It is effective and timeless. Its simplicity will allow it to be used effortlessly across various mediums. These are all benefits to this logo – let’s keep these in mind as we examine the elements of a memorable logo.
Remember to consider not only what your business provides, but your audience as well. You could be a non-profit that helps children, but your audience wouldn’t be children. Your audience would be adults who have an interest in the wellbeing of children. So be sure to make it appeals to adults but also clearly says, “We help children.”
The colors in this example are playful and reminiscent of children. The wrapping arm clearly shows someone with more stability offering support and balance. Finally, the clear font expresses professionalism and trustworthiness. This would be a great logo for a non-profit whose mission is helping children but whose audience are adults interested in children.
Who is your audience? Be sure to keep this separate from those you serve or who your clients are – they might be the same or they might be two completely different groups of people.
Did you realize that there are actually psychological influences behind different shapes and what they communicate to the mind? This can be a powerful tool in choosing a shape for your logo.
Here’s the quick guide to shapes and what they communicate subconsciously:
Here is a great article on the meaning of shapes in design if you are interested in learning more.
The Olympic Rings are a world famous logo where the interlocking circles imply community and cooperation – perfect for the largest global sporting event. (Of course the Olympic logo hasn’t always been as beautiful as it is now)
Similar to shapes, colors also subconsciously communicate and unspoken message to your audience. Check out the list of colors below and pick some that are congruent with the message you want your logo to convey.
Metallics like gold are powerful when done right but look cheap and terrible when not done well. If you use a metallic like the logo below, be careful that it looks good in both gold but is still interesting in black and white.
Like most of what we’ve discussed so far, there is a lot more info out there that you can dive into. Here is a deeper dive into color theory for design.
Trends come and go and you do NOT want someone to look at your logo and think, “That is so 2016.” Be careful to avoid trendy designs, fonts, or colors. Vintage designs and watercolor are very trendy right now and should be used carefully if at all.
Here are a couple of trendy logos and styles that are should not be emulated if you want your design to stand the test of time.
6- Be Original
What makes your business different than the rest? Think of your product, your mission, and your company to stick with concepts that are uniquely yours. You can be original and still keep all other elements listed here in mind to keep your ideas in check. Think of the process of using your product, how it makes someone feel, or even consider the end remnants of what’s left after your product has been used.
7- Choose Your Fonts Carefully
You will want to choose a timeless font, but you also want to stand out from the crowd – consider a custom font. Coca-Cola’s logo is a perfect example of this – it is simply their brand name in a custom font. Now anytime someone uses those characteristic “C’s” the viewer immediately thinks, ”Coca-Cola.”
8- Consider Symmetry & Movement
Consider the shape of your logo and how you want the eye of the viewer to move across the design. More symmetrical or balanced logos convey stability and trustworthiness. Logos that have curves or are weighted to pull the eye a particular direction imply energy and innovation.
Make a list of all the places this logo will be used, some examples include:
When you are designing your logo keep the variety of uses in mind. Your logo should look fantastic in color, black & white, and gray scale.
Instagram is a great example of a logo that is versatile and can be used in a number of situations. It looks great in both color and in black and white. They also redesigned the already famous Billabong font, allowing them to have their brand name in a custom font with a nod to the 1970’s.
Keep your logo simple. Overcomplicating design can lead to confusion and negatively affect the other elements discussed. For example, a complex logo is likely less versatile and more likely to go out of style – this is a good rule of thumb but not a rule. It can be tempting to chase after flowery fonts and elaborate designs, but examining some of the most famous logos today, we can see that simplicity outshines the rest.
Google Chrome, Apple, FedEx, and McDonald’s are some of the most recognizable logos today and yet they are all incredibly simple.
If you are looking to hire a logo designer, keep in mind that not all graphic designers are equipped with the same skills and capabilities of designing a great logo. You will find that some designers specialize in creating video content, while others prefer designing infographics, and some are more comfortable with making print advertisements more visually appealing. A good logo designer can’t just be proficient at creating a logo, they must also have a wide variety of other skills.
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