The Basics of Logo Design
Designing a logo is an important step of developing your brand. When executed correctly, this symbol should become synonymous with your brand. Think of McDonald’s iconic yellow “M” — you don’t need to see it accompanied by the full name to know that it’s referring to the fast food chain. While some logos are simple, such as the golden arches, others can be more complex, like the heavily detailed Starbucks logo. There’s no right or wrong approach as long as your logo makes sense for your brand. It shouldn’t just be an arbitrary design or image with no thought behind it — you want your logo to be an additional way to promote your message and push your brand forward. To ensure your logo does just this, there are some very important factors that you’ll want to consider when designing your logo.
Develop your brand identity
Brand identity is all about the personality you want to convey in your branding. Some brands are smart and sharp, like Coca-Cola. Others are warm and playful, like pet subscription service BarkBox. This doesn’t just go for their voice; all elements of their branding convey this message. Because logo design is just one piece of the larger branding puzzle, you need to have a strong grasp on your brand identity before diving into creating your logo. You want to allow your voice and personality to shine through your assets, so you need to actually decide what those elements are, first.
One way to decide on this is thinking about the purpose of your brand. What do you want to offer your audience? Maybe you’re a health food brand and you want to offer wisdom. Your tone would match this to show your audience that they could trust you to be a source of information for them on their health journey. Incorporating a symbol such as a thick tree into your logo could be a way to combine your mission of providing healthy food and serving as a place of wisdom. What if you sell furniture and want your customers to feel like your products can make them feel comfortable at home? Your tone would likely be laid back and warm. When it’s time for you to create a logo, you can use elements such as warm color tones or looser lines to bring this idea to your visual assets. When you’re strategic about how your logo looks, you can create a cohesive brand that has a clear message and purpose.
Think about your style
Some logos are the most effective when they’re straightforward. Think of the Apple logo, for example. It’s exactly that: an apple. You could argue that any version of an apple would have sufficed as its logo. However, the sleek and minimalist style was a strategic choice in order to promote the high-tech company and match the aesthetics of its products. It takes the simple concept a step further, even though the design itself isn’t very complicated — just like the brand itself.
Other logos work well if they are more complex, yet still meaningful. If you look at several of the most well known logos, there are some hidden meanings buried in the design. For example, FedEx has a hidden arrow in between the “e” and the “x” that you may not notice from first glance. However, this subtle detail adds an extra dimension to its branding because it promotes the message of moving forward and transporting from one place to another, which is integral to the company’s mission. Another brand that offers this hidden messaging is Baskin Robbins. Though what initially catches one’s eye is the “BR” in the logo, looking closely shows that the numbers “31” are highlighted within these letters, alluding to the 31 flavors of ice cream the shop created for every day of the month, a marketing technique created in the ‘50s. These subliminal messages show that a lot of thought went into putting together this logo.
You also want to consider the visual style of your logo. If your product is geared toward children, it might be a good idea to have a logo that looks more cartoon-like. If your brand is very sophisticated and academic, you might want to consider using a real image in your logo. Look at the competitors in your field, too — to make sure the style of your logo stands apart from theirs. By thinking about these elements, you can create a meaningful logo that is unique to your brand.
Find a medium to create your logo
It can be challenging to know how to put your ideas down on paper. If you’re not an expert graphic designer, you may have no idea where to start. Using pen and paper to draft up an idea works well if you’re just learning. However, when you want to move this to a digital format, you should explore tools that can help you clean up your design and make it look more professional. There are free tools out there that can help you create a logo, like brandcrowd and FreeLogoDesign. While these websites are easy to use, they don’t offer much flexibility when it comes to being creative, and as we’ve discussed, your logo should be especially tailored to your brand so you can get across your unique message. Using apps like ProCreate for the iPad or Adobe programs such as Illustrator can be useful for those who are more experienced in design. However, if you’re looking to take your logo to the next level, consider hiring a professional graphic designer to help your brand shine — like us here at Creative Juice!
Utilize good design elements and principles
You might remember from our recent blog post that there are certain design elements and principles you can follow to create an appealing design. Some of these elements include typography, shape, and color. When you’re thinking about these things, remember: everything has meaning. A script font can suggest ideas of grandeur or sophistication, while a more rounded font can promote a whimsical or youthful message. Color psychology explains how different colors can make people feel certain emotions.
You can incorporate these elements into your design by following principles such as contrast, balance, and repetition. For example, the Audi logo capitalizes on the repetition principle by featuring a series of four circles. These interlocking rings are uniformly spaced out and look sophisticated and high class, something that is embedded within Audi’s brand. These small details might seem like they’re unimportant to expend much thought or energy on, but we can see how being strategic about these aspects of your design can actually do even more for your branding than the more obvious elements. By learning and following the traditional design elements and principles, your logo will look more professional and people will feel like they can trust your brand to provide them with a high quality product or service.
Create multiple versions
You want your logo to be multipurpose and still work on different products or assets. Because of this, you should have a few different versions at your disposal. An easy option for creating variations of your logo is making it in different colors. These can be some of your brand colors, or a black and white version. Having these on hand can save you time and allow you to introduce variety into your content when you’re working with different colored backgrounds. You can also create a more simplified version to use in different cases. Think about Nike — it’s primary logo is the classic swoosh with the word “NIKE.” However, on some of their products, you will see just the swoosh mark without these words. This simpler logo is still immediately identified as part of the Nike brand, yet it offers more variety for the products they create.
Think again about Apple. About a decade ago, the logo was a bit different. It still had the classic apple shape, but it was a rainbow instead of today’s sleek silver color. It’s OK if your logo and even brand changes over time, but if the roots are authentic to your company’s mission, some of these assets can transcend these differences. If your logo is meaningful, like Apple’s, it’s likely it will last a long time, even if — and when — your brand evolves.
Inspiration is everywhere. Flip through commercials or look at spreads in magazines to get a sense for what other companies are doing well. Our world can be inundated with logos, so taking note of what stands out instead of blending into all of the rest can be a good clue for what that brand is doing right. It isn’t enough to just model your logo after one that you like, either. You have to think deliberately about the story you want your brand to tell and how your logo can help get you there.
If this all sounds like a lot to think about, don’t fret. Creative Juice is here to help. We can walk you through the process from beginning to end. Reach out to us today so we can help you develop your brand identity and create a stellar logo that will not only catch your audience’s attention but also hold the true meaning of your brand. 🍑