How to Design a Good Logo – 17 Practical Tips
An interesting logo is one of the most crucial marketing tools. It is the logo that determines how well-known a company or organisation is. The logo not only shows what the company does, but also presents its character. That is why the whole logo design is such important.
- Many people who are not concerned with the industry use the words logo and logotype interchangeably. That is a mistake. Although a logo and a logotype have a common denominator, they mean two different things in the designing reality.
Logo = graphic symbol + logotype
A logo usually consists of a symbol (a graphic sign) and a logotype (a typographical sign in a given typeface).
Of course, there are logos made up only of a graphic symbol (e.g. Toyota, Mozilla) or a logotype (e.g. Facebook, IBM). These are, however, the minority and only companies with a well-established image can afford to have them.
- A timeless logo is very simple and consists of only few colors. Paradoxically, you need a lot of knowledge and experience to create such a logo and a lot more time than to design a logo which is showy, but completely ineffective.
- A very good logo can easily earn very good money. Whereas, a weak logo is usually the source of costs.
- Do not use more than three colors. There are not many valuable examples which go against this rule. Do not create an exception to the rule – it simply will not be received well and likely will not work. Avoid very bright, but also gloomy colors. Learn about the meanings of colors in marketing and psychology.
- Do not use more than two typefaces (typographical features). Use sharp font lines for dynamic companies and soft ones for those of a more subtle character. A producer of boxing gloves should rather not use a sign similar in style to one used by a kindergarten or a toy shop.
- Get rid of everything in your design which is not absolutely necessary. An ideal logo design is not one to which you cannot add anything. An ideal logo design is one from which you cannot deduct anything.
- A logo should always look good: whether it’s small or large, or black and white (positive/negative).
- Make sure the logo can be easily identified when the colors are reversed and when they are made smaller. Not only elderly people have sight problems and the logo will not always be looked at from a short distance.
The logo needs to be easy to remember. A good symbol should be simple to describe over the phone. Something which is remembered easily does not need to be very complicated.
Do not listen to laymans’ opinions (those of your children, family, or friends). Listen only to people who know and understand your product and brand and to those who know what characterizes good logotypes. Creating a logo should be concerned with values which represent your company.
- Do not combine elements of popular signs. Under no circumstances should you use ready graphics. Avoid following a trend – try to create a timeless symbol.
- You should not approach the logo designing too emotionally. You just need to remember that it is a tool from which your brand should profit every day.
- The logo should appeal, first of all, to the recipients and not to the creators of the brand. Do not think about what you like, but about the recipients, who are your clients.
Consider the following:
demographical features – e.g. gender, age, and the level of income
preferences – what is important to the recipients? What are their priorities and values?
states and behaviors – how do the recipients spend their time? In what stage of life are they now (e.g. young mothers)?
- Stand out – on the one hand, it is banal, but on the other hand…it is simply true. At the beginning of the logo-designing process, you should pay attention to the competitors. In one place, collect all the signs used by your greatest rivals and try to make conclusions on the basis of them.
Think about what patterns are common among your competitors. On the basis of this, create a list of forbidden ideas.
If, for instance, the majority of your rivals uses blue, do not use it in your projects.
- Get inspired by professionals. If you have never designed a logo, it will be very difficult to create something from nothing, especially if you do not have experience. Look for interesting designs of other brands. Of course, I do not mean that you are supposed to copy the ideas of others. It is about finding models and general designs.
- Where you can find inspiration:
- Put all your initial ideas on the so-called mood board:
i.e. on the inspiration board. You can use special tools for that, or simply put a few files in one folder; it also works, if you paste photographs e.g. in MS Word.
For whatreason? So that you determine, in one place and on the basis of different examples, in what direction you should go with your designs. It is not enough, if you state that your logo should be e.g. friendly. You need to determine, on the basis of visual examples, what this “friendliness” means to you. This is necessary, if you work in a larger team or commission an agency to do the projects. Make use of this free program for creating mood boards:
- Designing a logo – what to begin with
On a piece of paper, write down 2-4 key words, which best describe the character of the venture or company for which the logo is being designed. Write down the connotations around each word. This way you will create a graphical mind map, which will help you choose the right form, color, etc.
Once you know what your logo should look like, start drawing. Sketch as much as you can. At this stage, there are no better or worse projects, so do not quit, if you think that a certain idea or connotation does not seem very effective. Over time, you might notice, that that is exactly what you are looking for. Try out different typefaces (or create a few letters yourself; later, you will copy them in a vector program) and graphic symbols. Do not worry about colors yet; you can choose them later in a drawing program. It is a lot easier to change the color, e.g. in the Adobe Illustrator program, than trying to do it by hand on paper. Focus on the shape of the logo.
If you feel you have run out of ideas – take a break. If it is possible, get back to the project the next day; you will have more distance to your designs; it will be easier for you to reject the worst ones.
Choose 2-3 best sketches and polish them up in a graphic program, but remember to work with vector graphics (e.g.according to your needs and preferences without the loss of quality. Once you feel that the logo you are creating is really good, you can end the designing process.
Check the effect of our work in printed form. Prepare the project and print out two color and black-and-white copies, preferably in different sizes. Make sure each of them is legible. If not, iterate.
Of course, there are good logotypes in the world, which do not fulfil a given rule presented here, but those are very rare cases.