10 Tips for logo design
Designing a professional logo from the ground up
Logo design can appear, from the outside, to be a deceptively simple task. But when you sit down to craft a logo that reflects your brand, you may find that the logo design process is not as easy as it had once appeared. Indeed, the logo design process can take anywhere from days or weeks to months of your time, depending on how much you have planned, whether you have clear goals in mind, how much work you do in a single sitting, and how much you already know about graphic design.
Many people choose- understandably- to outsource this task rather than doing it themselves. Logo design, especially good logo design, can be a huge time commitment, especially when you’re already running a business of your own. But if you’re insistent on creating your own branding tools, here are a few things to keep in mind throughout the design process.
1. Preparation is Key
Probably the most important part of any design process is the planning phase, because everything from that point builds on it. This means that knowing what you want, in advance, is crucial.
Of course, many times you may deviate from that, as you find better ideas or change your approach entirely. But finding and maintaining an overall direction is always important.
It may even be good, in this phase, to start with a simple sketch. Then you can mull over that initial logo design- maybe store it in a drawer for awhile and come back to it- and make changes as you see fit. You can repeat this process as many times as you need, depending on the time you have available and the quality of work you want as your final project.
2. Find Inspiration
When designing a logo, it’s always a good idea to study other logos, see what they do well, what message they send, and how effectively they send that message. The last of those is often overlooked, but many logos are not perfect- just look at the array of logos that carry unfortunate double entendres. You may find that studying logos, both in their flaws and successful executions, gives you a critical perspective that can be invaluable throughout your drafting process.
…study other logos, see what they do well, what message they send, and how effectively they send that message.
3. Draft, Then Redraft
As a general rule, if you’re done with your logo, you still have a lot left to do. A big part of this is again up to you and how much time you’re willing to commit, but even bringing a logo to market that has something new to say and says it originally- in other words, a passable logo- can be tedious and exhausting.
You may even find that upon completing a “final” logo design, your perspective has completely changed about what it represents or what your brand means. You should indulge that feeling somewhat, but also remember that you need to release a finished design eventually.
4. Capture Your Brand Identity
It may be enough for some companies to design the best-looking circle around, and leave it at that, but your logo can say a lot about your brand.
Is your company quirky? Is it professional? Do you represent the layperson, or the top echelons of the business world? Your logo can capture all of that and more if you let it. In some cases, a logo that doesn’t fit your brand can be worse than no logo at all, so keep in mind who you want to attract, and who you’d rather not alienate.
5. Consider Social Media
It goes without saying, but your presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr, and so forth can make or break your brand. In fact, some companies have made a name for themselves on social media alone, drawing in crowds of people who wouldn’t think twice about them otherwise.
Virtually all of these sites have something in common: they all include a place to put your logo. But the avatar sizes and shapes vary, which means that researching where you’re going to be placing your logo is also important. Some companies even design variant logos to fit different environments and specifications, changing the color scheme, shape, or entire design for different contexts.
6. Talk to Experts
If you’re new to graphic design in general, then having somebody around who knows the field a little better than you can be invaluable. If you’re on good terms with anybody who’s pursuing a graphic design major, has experience with designing logos, or has a degree in the field, that could prove beneficial to you. Similarly, you could look around the Internet for forums, and get somebody to critique your design. A total stranger might even be more objective in their critique of your logo.
7. Talk to Your Audience
In the design process, any outside audience, who could look over your logo in advance, is going to be beneficial to you. That could include experts, but it could also include your audience- people who are going to be using, consuming, or associating with your brand.
Games have beta testers; films have test screenings. Asking somebody in your audience what impressions your logo gives them and what they might change about it is probably the best way to avoid major branding mishaps.
8. Keep It Simple
Part of the reason people think logo design is easy is that most logos are simple. They use simple shape combinations, have simple color schemes, and don’t try to load in too much meaning. This is not an accident.
A logo with too many colors, an overly complicated design, and too many implied messages can disorient your audience, to the point that they won’t even want to understand your brand. So don’t get too ambitious- a simple, clean logo speaks a lot louder than a messy one.
9. Get the Right Software and Hardware
A mouse might cut it for simple designs, depending on what software you’re using, but for more intricate designs, especially involving your own illustrations, you’re going to want a drawing tablet. These can be very cheap, or very expensive, depending on how serious you are about your work. Obviously, don’t draft your logo in Microsoft Paint. Adobe CC (which includes Adobe Illustrator & Adobe Photoshop) is a very good option here. While there are plenty of alternatives (some even free) just remember that in many cases, you get what you pay for.
…just remember that in many cases, you get what you pay for.
10. Break the Mold
One of the benefits of learning the rules of design is being able to break them. If you have an unconventional idea that you’re aching to implement, and you have experience behind you to back you up, go for it. Ultimately, the trends of graphic design may show what people want to see in their designs now, but trends change- art advances. Just don’t ignore people when they tell you they don’t think something works. There’s something to be said for risk taking, but you never want to alienate your audience.
Building your own logo from scratch can be hard. From the initial planning stages to the final design, there are so many things to consider. If you need help on this journey, we provide consultation to help you identify the things you want in your logo. We recommend 99Designs to actually design your logo. However, even still, as it is often the case, you may not even know exactly what you want to begin with. As part of our web design packages, we provide free guidance in your interactions with 99Designs to ensure that your branding remains consistent throughout your online presence.