When people hear the word “logo”, they usually think about a select number of designs that have become recognized worldwide. Which ones are you thinking of right now? (Nike? Apple? Facebook?)
There`s a very good reason for this; logos are designed to connect with your subconscious on a range of different emotional levels. Great logos may be simple in design, but their simplicity is what helps make them memorable.
Of course, there are a number of elements involved in designing an impactful business logo, such as shape, color, typography, etc. But, by bringing these elements together correctly, you can design a logo that instantly connects with your audience—one that evokes long-lost memories while sending deep, positive emotional messages to the viewer’s subconscious.
On that note, here are some bite-sized do’s and don’ts of designing a logo that makes an impact!
Your logo is a visual cue that is meant to connect with your target audience—which means it has to relate to them and the industry you’re in. How do you figure out what styles your audience will connect with? It’s simple: By researching and defining your audience before you begin designing.
First, look at businesses within your industry, especially market leaders, and get inspired by logo ideas. They might use the best designers available to create their logo, so take note of some key design points, like color, shape, fonts, and think about which to implement in your own design. This doesn`t mean your logo can’t be original—in fact, it should be as unique as possible—but it can help ensure that your logo is in the right ballpark and will hit the mark.
Your business name can influence the design of your logo, depending on the length of your name and how generic or unique it is. So, a good starting point is to consider how you can incorporate your name within your logo.
If you have a generic company name, it may be better to use an icon—a symbol that relates to your industry and helps your name stand out from the crowd. But, if your company name is unique, then you can use a logotype (in which your name is your logo), which will give you a clean canvass to work with and let you play with different fonts, styles and colors.
Start in black and white and use simple sketches. It’s best to begin with very basic shapes; then, as you progress, you can start playing around with variations.
Limit yourself to an hour at first, so you can create a flow without being over-analytical too early in the game. And, keep all of your sketches; something you doodle at the beginning might end up being an integral part of your final design.
Both shapes and color psychology play important parts in the logo design process and have profound effects upon the viewers. They can each be used to convey emotional messages, feelings, like creating trust or showing strength, unity, commitment, etc.
For example, blue gives off a dependable, trustworthy and professional vibe, while red emits passion and excitement.
Squares show strength and order, where circles appear timeless and soft. You get the idea.
Finding the shapes and colors that work for your business is vitally important for getting the right message across, so it’s worth it to do your research before deciding on your final choices.
Negative space—or the empty space around a design—is important, as it can create balance and convey extra messages without using words, while still keeping the logo simple.
Great logos use negative space to their advantage. Picture the FedEx design, with the negative space between the E and the X creating an arrow. This brings out the subliminal message of speed and movement, which is a great message for a delivery service.
It might help you to exaggerate the negative space of your logo in comparison to the positive space, i.e. make the space between the words and design larger. Play around with spacing and sizing until you feel you’ve achieved the right balance between empty and positive space.
A versatile logo can be used throughout your branding materials; it should look equally great on a piece of paper and your website.
Start by thinking about where you will use it most. This could be in the header on your website or the sign outside your store. Then, consider the size and legibility; can it be scaled down and used on letterheads, business cards, or as a social media avatar?
Try it out on different backgrounds, images and colors—both in color and black and white—to ensure it doesn`t get lost depending on the context.
Now that you have a logo that accurately represents your business and engages in a positive emotional way with your target audience, it’s time to speak with the devil’s advocates.
This step removes your emotional involvement and any tunnel vision caused by the days you’ve spent looking at your logo, which can lead to obvious mistakes in the design or opportunities that are overlooked.
Although receiving negative feedback hurts a little, at this stage, it can be a positive step in ensuring you’ve created a logo that is not just based on your own design preferences but also appeals to the widest audiences.
An overly-designed logo can confuse viewers and impair its ability to have an instant visual impact.
In contrast, a simply-designed logo is easily readable, recognizable and memorable, and this can be achieved by focusing on one key feature and then highlighting it.
Remember those great logos that you thought of at the beginning? Are they simple in design? Chances are that the answer is “yes”.
Clipart and photographs may provide simple and affordable solutions, but there are many drawbacks.
Clipart is open to the public, so anyone can use the design you’ve chosen, and you can`t trademark it—there goes your individuality. And, photographs may look good in their original size, but the quality is usually affected when it’s resized. Remember, you need your logo design to be versatile, so that you can use it on as many branding materials as possible.
If you physically connect your logo image and text, you will be unable to use your logo as an icon on social media. This means that people won’t be able to share your logo as easily, and you will miss a lot of branding opportunities for your business.
Again, this is about keeping it simple. Too many fonts will make your logo imbalanced, confuse the message, and make your logo look cluttered. Use no more than two fonts (one for your logo itself, and one for your tagline if you have one), and make sure the designs and messages complement each other.
Similarly, don’t turn your logo into a kaleidoscope of confusing colors. Another way to go about choosing colors is to check the color psychology of each color and see which best relates to your marketplace and the message you want to send your audience. Then pick two or three max, so that your message is clear and design is clean.
Once you’ve chosen your colors, test them on different backgrounds and at different sizes to ensure your logo doesn`t become distorted.