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7 Pro Tips for Designing a Business Logo

What first impression will your company make?

One of the most important steps in branding your new business comes in the form of a small emblem called a logo. While a logo might seem like a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, it actually plays an essential role in building your reputation, attracting new customers, and solidifying a loyal audience.

Why is a Logo so Important?

Your logo will be used on every marketing material, product packaging, shipping label and platform you use for your brand. From your social media profiles and ads to your promo t-shirts and building sign, your logo will be used in a variety of sizes and mediums, and that’s only a part of why a logo is so important as the face of your business.

Your logo should also drive your brand aesthetic—creating a consistent approach to style that will form a cohesive brand experience.

A great logo can help drive sales. It will make people curious about what you offer. The logo becomes the face of your brand that people are more likely to remember at the start of brand recognition.

A powerful design can naturally instill trust that you are an authority in your industry. An amateur logo can do the complete opposite and drive new leads away because they don’t feel confident in your brand.

Some business owners create their logo as an afterthought—an effort to fill a hole they suddenly find while building their business—but that approach is a mistake. It isn’t easy or cheap to change your logo. So, it’s crucial that you start out with a good one that is well-thought-out in order to avoid the pain of an unnecessary rebranding.

Now that you see how important your logo is, it’s time to see how many different factors go into a logo. Creating the right logo isn’t a one-size-fits-all design process. You will have to know your brand’s purpose and goals to create something truly fitting.

# 1 Define Your Brand Personality

You really can’t create a great logo until you have a firm grasp of exactly what your brand is about. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How is my business unique in the industry?
  • What parts of myself or my team will show through to the customers?
  • What segment of the market are we targeting?
  • What personality will our brand have and how will the aesthetic show that?
  • What other brands give off a similar vibe (think outside your industry)?
  • What is our main difference when compared to our biggest direct competitor?

Avoid generic responses and look for words that really pinpoint the heart of your brand. Is your brand going to be creative and sassy because you target a younger audience looking for something unexpected? Or maybe your brand needs to showcase strength and stability because you are appealing to an audience that is feeling a little lost in their decision-making.

Pinpointing this personality will determine all of the key elements of your logo design and brand aesthetic, including colors, fonts, imagery and more.  You can start creating a mood board during this process to help visually clarify how you will convey these brand characteristics.

#2 Determine the Type of Logo You Want

There are many different kinds of logos. Here are some examples of the various types of logos you could use for your own branding:

  • Pictorial Marks (Twitter, Spotify, Apple)
  • Abstract Marks (Pepsi, Nike, Airbnb)
  • Mascots (Wendy’s, Planters, Playboy)
  • Combination Marks (Toblerone, Burger King, CAT)
  • Emblems (BMW, Stellar Artois, Starbucks)
  • Wordmarks/Logotypes (Coca-Cola, Oreo, Ebay)
  • Lettermarks/Monograms (Volkswagen, Gucci, ABC)
  • Letterforms (McDonalds, Beats by Dre, Adobe)

Choosing the right fit for your company will come down to a number of determining factors.s

Industry: Some industries are much more saturated by a certain type of logo (like using a prevalent mascot or not). You might want to choose something that helps you look like a part of the industry, or you may choose a type of logo that helps you stand out from the rest of the industry as something different.

Audience: Who you are attracting is going to matter a lot, since audiences differ in what appeals to them. Kids aren’t going to be drawn to the same kind of logo as their parents or grandparents.

Brand Personality: Going back to your brand personality as you defined it above should also impact the type of logo you consider. While designers may be more drawn to the sophisticated wordmarks and lettermarks, companies that are more modern and app-based are likely to choose pictorial marks or letterforms for their simplicity.

You aren’t going to start designing at this point—you just want to have an idea of what you are aiming for. If you are going to shoot for a lettermark or letterform logo, then you won’t want to spend a lot of time on choosing imagery that fits your brand (you will spend more time on colors and fonts).

#3 Choose Fonts that Fit Your Brand Style

Your industry, audience and brand personality will have a huge impact on fonts too. Non-designers often struggle to choose professional fonts that really fit their brand aesthetic. If you want to create a professional logo, you need to pick a font that encompasses your brand’s style, stands out from the competition and speaks to your audience.

Script fonts: Cursive, flowy, elegant, creative, hand-crafted (Barbie, Cadillac, Cadbury)

Slab fonts: Bold, strong, forceful, confident (Honda, Star Wars, Puma)

Serif fonts: Classic, timeless, dependable, predictable (Time Magazine, Sony, Rolex)

Sans seriffonts: Modern, upbeat, (Netflix, Google, LinkedIn)

Display fonts: Unusual, offbeat, atypical, branded (Disney, EA Sports, Canon)

#4 Pick Colors to Represent Brand Characteristics

You need to pick a color combination that instantly resonates with your audience and helps them understand your brand. Different colors are associated with different meanings and combinations, hues and shades all impact that meaning as well. Here are just a few examples:

Red typically evokes passion, energy, excitement. When mixed with brown to create a brick color, it becomes more earthy, powerful and a steady energy.

Black and White is a timeless color combination that shows power, prestige and confidence. It offers a classic look for a brand that isn’t afraid to simplify down to the most minimal design elements.

Yellow is boisterous, happy and friendly. If you mix it with white for a pastel, it takes on an even lighter and more carefree look.

Blue is calming, soothing and exudes a bold comfort. When paired with a bright red, the combination becomes brave, patriotic and confident.

Green is often the color of hope, possibilities and growth. Natural greens are typically associated with nature, plants and health. Bright green is youthful, energetic and powerful. When paired with bright yellow, green takes on a money-saving look popular with value brands.

#5 Simplify Your Design

What will naturally happen during this process is you will begin to accumulate elements that fit your brand and could be included in your logo. One thing that truly sets apart a professional design from an amateur logo is knowing what to include and what to cut.

Boil your design down to the bare minimum of what represents your brand. This means choosing one or two colors and using basic shapes for any illustrated inclusions. In most logos,

only one or two letters are used if there is any text included at all—no full words are spelled out because fonts don’t typically scale well.

Remember, you are trying to make a first impression. Your logo needs to convey your message instantly and too many elements will distract from your primary message.

#6 Make More than One Design

Don’t go with the first logo you make. Try some variations that use different elements, different colors, different layouts and even different logo styles. You will want to start with a LOT of small, loose sketches in an effort to narrow your preferences down to the top 3 – 5 design directions.

These very different options will then be created in a more detailed rough, allowing you to really see the pros and cons of the different designs.

#7 Ask for Feedback

Getting an outside perspective can be a huge help after you’ve looked at a design for too long. Fresh eyes may catch things you missed during the design process.

Talk to your friends, family and co-workers for feedback. You may want to get your team or stakeholders involved as well. Just know that whoever you ask for advice may be bothered if you don’t take it. So, only ask if you are really interested in their perspective and willing to consider more than one of your design roughs.

Don’t include options that aren’t really on the table. Be prepared for small tweaks to be suggested. You have to stay open to advice, which can be hard if you have spent a lot of time on your design. Once you’ve determined your final direction, you still may make several versions to pinpoint all the tiny details, like the spacing between your letters, the exact hue of your color or the thickness of your lines.