How to Make a Logo: All You Need to Know
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Designers agree that making a logo is a big deal. It’s nerve-wracking. That’s because a logo isn’t a design you change every now and then. Once you design a logo for your business, you have to stick to it with only a few modifications as your business grow.
In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about making a timeless logo. We’ll start from the importance of a logo, then elements of a logo design up to how to evaluate your logo design.
1. Why do you need a logo?
The first step to making a logo design is understanding why you need a logo.
Your logo has a huge impact on your business. Think of your business logo as a display picture on your dating profile. It’s the first thing that would attract (or repel) people from your profile. So, you want to make it the best, yes?
A custom logo can be helpful to many ways including:
- Captivate the mind: Humans find images more intriguing than words. So, your business logo design offers you a way to captivate your audience’s mind when you have a message to pass.
- Execute branding: your company logo is a critical aspect of your branding process. Your logo design will inform your personalization -the colors you use on your website, your newsletters, social media platforms, your business card, and your merchandise.
- Establish legitimacy: A logo-less brand isn’t only easily forgettable, it’s also seen as illegitimate, unprofessional, and shady. While your company logo may or may not carry your company name, a professional logo aids your brand recognition and legitimacy.
- Stand out from the competition: How else would your audience find you distinguishable in a pool of many others in your industry if it’s not for your logo? A distinctive logo helps your current and potential customers recognize you from others in your industry.
- Create a following or customer retention: Customers make an immediate connection with a logo they’re familiar with. You can also use your company logo to give your customers a sense of being part of a larger community.
- Communicate your unique swag: Your logo design is an important part of your brand personality and brand identity. It helps you communicate your brand’s uniqueness especially when it shows in materials and merchandise.
- Communicate your brand message: your logo is a powerful way to communicate your message without words. The fonts, colors, and logotype will help you tell your brand story and help your customers attach a feeling to your brand.
- The base of all your brand identity design: When creating a logo, you’re not just designing a symbol or icon that serves a single purpose. You’re also building the foundation of your brand identity. Your company logo will inform your branding materials- graphic design colors, typography as well as other branded assets that represent your brand.
Once you have a clear definition of what makes your brand unique and what your values are, you can make a logo design that complements that definition.
To get a hold of what brand identity is about, ask yourself these questions:
- What problem does our business solve?
- How did we get the business idea?
- What makes us unique?
- How do we want our customers to feel when they think of us?
- What words will people use to describe us?
- What values are personal to us?
With these benefits in mind, you want to make sure your logo counts. So what happens next?
2. Find inspiration for your design
Inspiration is an important part of any creative endeavor. And ideas can go a long way when you want to create a logo for your business. Yet, it can be nerve-wrenching searching for logo inspiration for your own logo. Not to worry, we’ve got some tips to make it easy.
- Begin with a Brainstorming Session
Brainstorming is a proven way of generating new creative ideas. Especially when done right, a brainstorming session can help you pin down the best logo idea you can conceive. This is even better if you’re a conceptual person.
Here are four criteria that will help you get the best creative ideas court of your brainstorming session:
- Remove all distractions
If there are other important things to do within the organization, having a brainstorming session wouldn’t be the right idea. Make sure you want to do this at the time you’ve chosen. This will help you stay organized and focused on the goal.
- Pour all ideas out
Brainstorming is about purging ideas (even the horrible ones) and recording them. You might want to set a time frame to get the ideas flowing. When the time stops, you can then begin to rank ideas (not discard them). Although ideas don’t stop coming after time stops, the timing just helps you stay within focus and not drift. You can still take ideas after the session.
- Think like your audience:
If you’re just starting out without a customer base yet, think of words associated with brands like yours and how your prospective customers might describe you, and what things are important to them. Make a list of those words. You can think of symbols, histories, or images associated with these words to infuse into your own logo design. This is also helpful if you’re already in business and looking to create a new logo.
- Make sure everyone participates:
There’s a reason rainbows are multicolored- It’s because magic happens in diversity, Bring in everyone from every department- the newbies and the experts; family, friends, and business partners. The wider perspectives, the more creative the ideas will get. Check out some minimalist logo design ideas.
- Create a Mood Board
A mood board could be the perfect tool to get your creative juices flowing especially if you’re a visual person. You can make an actual board where you have cut out printed images pasted on it or create a digital board with a platform like Pinterest.
Think about how your business (your company name perhaps) can be visualized in symbols. Gather all the images you feel drawn to including graphics or illustrations, other logos, color palettes, and all sorts of random images. This will serve as your inspiration gallery.
- Check out the competition
What better way to get inspired than checking what’s already out there? Check out your high-performing competitors. What’s working well with the audience? What should you avoid?
The key thing to note while stalking your competitors is the common pattern in your industry and how you can set yourself apart from the cliche. If all other businesses in your niche are going traditional, you should consider a modern logo design.
3. Choose your logo design style
At this point, you should be feeling inspired enough to start translating your ideas into a design.
Bear in mind that your logo design would be the result of a combination of different elements including shapes, colors, typography, and graphics. Taking each element apart and how it can help you make a good logo is more beneficial than jumping at all the design elements at once.
So what is the best style to make out of these elements? There is no one-fit-all style for all logo designs. The best style is the one that’s best for your brand. Here are a few styles to consider:
- Classic Style
Classic is always associated with longevity. Although they might not use all the color palettes that you would consider fun, they still remain timeless, functional, and captivating. A classic logo design isn’t affected by changes in trends. They also provoke emotional responses from customers. However, before you consider using a classic design style, make sure you have a befitting explanation because they may be challenging to define and subjective.
- Handmade and Handcrafted Style
Handmade logos really show how personal and honest a brand is. It portrays attention to detail. The care that comes into making handmade logos helps to show that that brand is unique in its own right. The style is efficient when combined with other styles to pack a heavy punch.
- Modern and Minimalist Style
Minimalist and modern logo designs are focused on functionality. They communicate brand ideas in the quickest way possible, So, they use reductive design elements to keep things simple and neat. Although they might be challenging to achieve, once you get it right, you can show your customers that you’re modern and up-to-date.
- Retro or Vintage Style
Vintage designs are very popular styles of logo today. It’s undeniable that we all love the nostalgia of “good ol’ days”. Sometimes, we also desire to make a statement of individuality by rebelling against the trend. Retro designs (you get the hint the word comes from retrospect, yeah?) evoke nostalgic feelings. They also give a sense of intentionality to your business logo.
- Quirky Style
This style of logos is common with new-age brands. They have a cartoonish context, sometimes with slime-inspired elements, cute illustrations, and happy colors or quirky fonts. This is a good logo design style if you’re a “young at heart” type of brand.
Mix and match them all to suit your brand. There’s no set-in-stone rule that says your own custom logo can’t be both fun and retro or classic and handcrafted at the same time. The only thing to be careful of is overdesigning. Ensure the styles you’re mixing blend in a way that doesn’t make your customers confused. Also, make sure to visualize them on a transparent background. Check out some modern logo design ideas.
4. Choose the Right Logo Design Type
Now, that you’ve figured out the style, how do you intend to set the style? Familiarizing yourself with the different types of logo design can also give you a direction in you want to design your logo.
You can consider any of these types of logo designs:
- Word mark, letter mark, or monogram
This type of logo design relies heavily on typography. Wordmarks (or logotypes) use the business or company name as the logo; letter marks also called monograms either abbreviate or use the initials of the company or business name to create a logo. While these styles may not portray what your company is about, they’re effective in making your business name stick.
- Brand mark
This style of logo design makes use of a pictorial representation of the business. It is a style that creates instant familiarity in the minds of your customers since it will often include an image that represents your industry. For example, using a stethoscope for a business in the health industry, or a spatula for a restaurant business logo. These are sometimes cliche logos. A good way to execute this is to choose symbols that represent your brand name rather than your industry.
- Pictorial marks
This is similar to brand mark styles. only that they may be unrelated to your industry. Yet, this type of style can help you captivate your customers. For example, think about Lacoste’s crocodile logo and how memorable it is, yet unrelated to the company.
- Abstract logo mark
Abstract logo marks are less recognizable and usually more geometric. They’re great for showing uniqueness. However, we strongly recommend pairing these symbols with your company or business name until you’ve built enough recognition to let your symbol stand solo.
A mascot is a fun way to represent your brand. You may use a real-life character or popular animal related to your industry. The idea is to give your company a face that customers can relate to.
This may be a crest or banner type of logo. An emblematic logo design is a great way to use shapes to create a stunning logo.
- Combination mark
This form of logo combines graphics with a letter mark, wordmark, or monogram. These are the most common types of logos today.
5. Pay Attention to Color Combinations
Colors can be very powerful when used in the right way. Something as little as changing the hue of a particular color can evoke a different type of emotion and idea.
This may have to do with cultural affiliations or general color psychology. For example, black generally elicits elegance and boldness, but the Chinese think of black as a symbol of high quality.
While it’s true that you won’t be settling for a monochrome logo design, you want to pay attention to the combination of colors that tells a complete brand story.
You can draw inspiration for your own logo design colors by looking at a color wheel.
You may choose to customize colors based on different shaded to fit your brand personality.
6. Select the right typography
Typography is a craft in itself. Just like colors, fonts also have unique purposes and personalities. It is important to choose fonts that communicate who you are.
- Serif fonts (Baskerville, Garamond, Times etc)
These fonts are good for Vintage or classic designs. They are good for professional-looking logos and brands that want to communicate a traditional, sophisticated, reliable, and practical message.
- Sans Serif fonts (Avenir, Futura, Gill Sans, Helvetica)
These types of fonts are universal and great for modern designs. They have a clean, simple, and humanist look.
- Slab Serif (Claredon, Museo, Josefin)
Slab fonts are also great for a classic design. They give a bold and trendy vibe. Their solid looks give an emphatic statement.
- Script fonts (buttermilk, zapfino, Isabella)
The handwritten style of script fonts makes them great for individualistic designs. They are elegant and great for stylish brands.
- Display fonts, (Febre, Margaret, Playfair Display)
Display fonts have a quirky yet friendly look that attracts, Great for chivalrous, and decorative brands.
Just like mixing styles or types, you might choose to also combine serif fonts with script or display fonts to tell a full brand story.
7. Communicate with your designer
Now that you’ve considered all the design features, you’re ready to put your design skills into action.
Ooops, you’re not a designer? Don’t fret. There are several ways to get a professional logo design without breaking a sweat.
- Organize a logo contest
This is a great way to get a perfect logo. The code is to write a clear creative brief detailing your business details and brand’s personality. Put a good prize to it. Then sit back and watch designers rush to make you awesome logo options to choose from.
- Hire a professional designer
Contact a design agency or look through platforms like Fiverr or Upwork for designers who are worth their colors. Provided the necessary details and you’ll get an awesome logo worth the price.
- Use a logo maker tool
There are lots of free logo resources out there that can ease your logo creation. These tools are great to make a simple logo. A free logo generator or free logo maker can help you design a logo in a few clicks. All you need is to choose from professional logo templates available, choose your logo colors and visual style and your logo will be ready in just a few minutes.
Regardless of what process you adopt for your logo creation, make sure you have an in-house designer. Your designer may only be there to guide you through the design process and not engage in the design. It’s important that you trust your designer to give clear and detailed feedback on whatever you’ve gotten from any process you’ve chosen to go. A great logo can also be born out of your collaboration with the designer. Find the guide for how to make a YouTube logo.
Pitfalls to avoid when designing a logo
There are common design mistakes you want to avoid especially using a free logo creator to design a logo.
- Avoid generic symbols: you don’t need a spatula in your logo to show that you’re a restaurant.
- Don’t give in to trends: Logo designs are meant to stay with your brand for as long as you last with little or no alterations
- Avoid overdesigning: simplicity is the soul of good designs. Keep the colors and other elements neat and simple
- Gun for high-quality: don’t skimp on quality. Whatever you’re paying for is often the deserved price.
How do you know you made a good logo?
Whether you had a free logo design or a paid design, your logo is more about how the customer feels than personal taste.
A perfect logo is one that combines the brand message and uniqueness in a manner that makes the brand relatable to the customer.
Characteristics of an effective logo include:
- Accuracy: matches brand message and evoke the right feeling.
- Memorability: does it stick?
- Simplicity: the best logos are easily understandable and can be printed easily.
- Timelessness: your logo has to be adaptive to time and trends not relegated by them.
- Uniqueness: how does it differ from your competitors’?
- Flexibility: would your logo retain its essence if it’s printed in any size?
Now that you’ve designed your logo, it’s time to integrate the design into your brand. Infuse the colors, font, and style into your brand assets and merchandise. Your brand face is ready for the world. Go show the world what you got.
We’re rooting for you!