What is a logo?
A logo is the visual embodiment of a brand and can quickly tell your customers who you are and what you do. A well designed logo can distinguish your business from your competitors while fostering brand recognition and customer loyalty.
What isn’t a logo?
A logo is not art. While aesthetics are important for logo design, it’s worth noting that a logo is a business tool. It is an identifier or signature for your brand and should be memorable, easy to read by others, and understood with little interpretation. As a designer, it’s tempting to think that a logo design needs to be smart or clever. But often, the meaning behind a new logo doesn’t come from the hidden messages intended or created by the designer. Instead, it comes from the continued marketing/advertising efforts, customer engagement and reaction, and all other associations made with the brand over time.
A logo is not an advertisement. A logo should be simple and doesn’t need to include all your business’s services, contact information, and license numbers (unless required by certain industries).
What makes a good logo?
A “good” logo is simple, relevant, memorable, timeless, and scalable.
The best logos are often the most simple. This is because simple symbols that lack embellishments are legible, recognizable, and easy to remember.
Your logo must be relevant to your industry and target audience. Picking the right imagery, fonts and colors for your logo will attract the audience you want and tell your customers what to expect. A logo design for a large bank may use serif fonts and a traditional color palette, while a logo design for a kid’s brand would be more vibrant and playful.
A logo should have impact and leave a lasting impression. This is why it’s so important that your logos be simple and relevant. The more complicated and off-the-mark, the less likely your customers will remember it.
Don’t give in to trends. They come and go and can leave your logo looking outdated. When you feel tempted to do this, ask yourself “will this logo still hold up 5 years from now?”
The best logos are versatile and scalable. A versatile logo is one that can be used in a variety of mediums and formats. It can be rendered in black and white, in print, and on the web without interfering with the integrity of the mark or the overall brand. A scalable logo is one that is readable and legible and all sizes. A logo should always be created using vector software. This will allow scaling in either direction without affecting the logo’s resolution.
How to Design a Logo in 7 Steps
1. Design or Creative Brief
Get to know your client’s business, brand, and personality. Find out who they are, what they do, what their business goals are, and what makes them different from their competitors.
Research the client, their industry, and their competitors. This will help you understand the expectations of their clients and industry and allow you to create a relevant logo mark.
Conceptualize and sketch out the ideas you have. This can be with words, on paper, or in a computer program of your choice.
Decide which of your sketches/ideas work the best for the business and begin designing high-fidelity logos for presentation. Designing your logos in black and white before adding color can help you focus on creating the most versatile and scalable designs possible.
Present the designs to the client. It’s often best to do this in person. This way, you can explain your design decisions and answer questions and concerns from the client.
Take the client’s concerns into consideration and apply these to best practices for logo design. The client will often have feedback like “I don’t like red”. It’s important to acknowledge these client concerns by asking follow up questions. This will allow you to better understand and address the underlying concerns.
Create a style guide outlining logo dos and don’ts. Provide final logo files in vector and raster formats for client use.
Tools to Use
To ensure that they are scalable, logos should be designed using a vector graphics software like Adobe Illustrator, or comparable. Vector programs use paths (or mathematical plots) to define shapes instead of pixels. Vector illustration allows for infinite scalability, while raster (photoshop) is pixel-based and therefore cannot be infinitely resized without losing resolution.