Everyday we are exposed to thousands of visuals. If you are anything like me, your day starts out with browsing your Instagram feed, reading the day’s new blog posts, and pinning new inspiration to your Pinterest boards. We are flooded with images that both knowingly and unknowingly influence our style. So I raise the question, with so much exposure to creative content, how does one design an original logo?
Often I hear people say, “I can design a logo. It doesn’t look that hard? You use a font and add a graphic, and voila, you’ve got yourself a nice looking logo.”
As a designer who works regularly on logo projects, I will share with you that creating logos is a lengthy and complex process. It involves research, sketching, conceptualization, and many rounds of revisions before it finally evolves into the final product.
Creating a logo for your business can be an intimidating process. With a little guidance and a lot of thought, you can create a logo that is not only appropriate for your business but also impactful.
What is a logo?
When we think of famous brands we often think of their logos. A logo’s primary purpose is to identify. It uses a concept to communicate a message about the product or service it symbolizes. A good logo should inspire trust, create loyalty, and distinguish itself from others in a crowed market.
"A good logo should inspire trust, create loyalty, and distinguish itself from others in a crowed market."
There are three basic types of logos:
Iconic/Symbolic: Uses a symbol or icon, whether abstractly or accurately, to represent a business or organization. These types of logos are less literal and allow for more interpretation.
Logotype/Wordmark: Uses a company’s name to create a unique typographic treatment to represent a business or organization. A key consideration when developing a wordmark is ensuring that it remains legible at a variety of sizes and mediums.
Combination Mark: Uses both text and a symbol/icon to represent a business or organization. The text can either be integrated or separated from the graphic element.
I recommend hiring a designer. I know I sound a little biased here, but trust me. If your logo looks unprofessional then so will your business. Hiring a designer will help ensure your logo is unique, memorable, and legitimate.
Whether you are working with a designer or not, keep in mind the goals of your logo and consider these questions:
What message do you want to convey?
Are you a luxury or sustainable brand? Is your product or service serious or approachable? Think about your audience and how they will interact with your logo. Where will they see it? How is it going to be used? How do you want users to feel while interacting with your logo? Brainstorm what attributes your logo will need in order convey your brand’s message best.
How will your logo be different from the competition?
Stand out from the competition by using an original concept. Push aside those Pinterest boards and break out the pen and paper. Make a list of reasons how your brand is different, and from that list, cultivate a concept that best represents your product or service. Often times new businesses are influenced by popular trends and create logos that aren’t appropriate given their business. Over time their logos become outdated and never produce a meaningful message to their audience.
"Make a list of reasons how your brand is different, and from that list, cultivate a concept that best represents your product or service."
What type choices should I consider?
Making the right type choices for your logo can be a tricky task. Many brands overlook the importance of type and end up using a random or default typeface for their logo. The result is a boring and forgettable logo that misrepresents the brand. You want to use a typeface that displays your brand’s personality. Take time and test out a variety of options. Look for dynamic shapes that exist within letterforms and rhythm between letters. Also, experiment with weight, size, and spacing. All of these characteristics will result in a specific vibe or feeling.
For example, if your brand is characterized as high end consider a classic serif typeface like Bodoni or Adobe Caslon. If your brand is casual and organic, try using a handwritten typeface like Notera or Hommade Apple. Check out a large selection of typefaces at myfonts.com (paid) and dafont.com (free).
Remember, simpler is better. A good logo should look effortless even if it took several hours of blood, sweat and tears to create. It should be easily recognized and memorable. Above all be true to your brand. If you spend the time creating an original concept you will end up with an original logo.
Danielle McWaters is the creative behind Designsake Studio, a boutique studio specializing in design, direction, and branding. Danielle is a believer of design and it’s ability to create new connections and lasting impressions. It drives her to create things that are not only authentic, but that matter. Working alongside her clients, she develops strategies and solutions to transform big ideas into stand out design.