30-Second Summary:

  • A good logo is one that is simple, unique, easily recognizable, versatile, and reflects the brand image.

  • A bad logo is one that is complicated, busy, generic, and doesn’t reflect the personality of the brand.

  • Learn the basic principles of good logo design and how to use graphic elements to create an iconic company logo.

  • Research your competition.

  • Find out what appeals to your target market.

  • How to make your logo.

Your logo is the first impression a prospective customer usually has of your business, organization, product, or brand. It distinguishes it from all other entities in a world where people are bombarded by visual imagery every day. As the foundation of your brand, it is vital that you design a logo that captures its essence, one that stands out in the noise, and stands firm as a beacon of your brand as it grows. Your logo is what your customers see when they visit your website or social media profiles, they touch it on your labels and products, sleep with it, go on adventures with it, and can even fall in love with it. It is the part of your brand they engage with the most and should be truly outstanding and iconic. Find out how you can combine typographies, graphics, symbols, colors, and lines to design the perfect logo for your brand.

1. Learn About Logo Design

There is a range of online logo generators or logo makers that make it really easy to make your own logo without employing the services of a professional. This makes creating your own logo completely doable and there are several of these apps which even allow you to create a logo for free. You should, however, take time out to learn about the various principles of graphic design if you’re going to produce a logo that looks professional and does your company justice.

Principles of Good Logo Design

A logotype collection of well-known world brand's printed on paper. Include Google, McDonald's, Nike, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Apple and more others logo

Although the quality of a logo is subjective, there are certain elements that make a logo either good or bad. You’ll find that all good logos are:

Simple

When you have a logo that is simple and straightforward it is not only more likely to stand out, it will also be more versatile. A perfect example is the NIKE “swoosh” which works in full color or monochrome, on billboards or labels, and never loses the essence of the brand. If you have a logo with different typefaces, multiple colors, overlapping graphics, shading, and images, it becomes cluttered and confusing. Choose a few elements to work with and give them space to breathe so that the message is clear and your logo stands out.

Unique

A good logo is memorable and easily recognizable which means that it has to be unique. Your design concept must be different enough to attract attention, and memorable enough to remain in people’s minds. Originality is key to making your logo unforgettable. 

Versatile

Your logo is the foundation of your brand and has a lot of work to do. It needs to stand out, be easily identifiable, and embody your brand whether it is on your products, signage, digital profile pics, or app icon. The simpler your logo is, the more versatile it will be. If your logo works well on any color background or in black and white without losing its identity or impact, it’s a winner!

Scalable

A good logo is completely scalable and works on a promotional pen as well as it does on a billboard. It must be able to represent your brand on any item you want to see your logo on. Again, simplicity is key, too much detail doesn’t scale well to small sizes.

Balanced

People are naturally drawn to design that is balanced. If your spacing is too close or too wide, for example, it may subconsciously leave people feeling like something’s not quite right, this uneasy feeling becomes part of your brand message. A well-proportioned design is when elements are balanced with one another to determine visual hierarchy (what you look at first) and work together to create a whole.

Timeless

A logo that will serve you as well in ten years time as it does now will build loyalty and trust for your brand. A classic look which follows solid design principles will make your logo timeless and continue to embody the essence of your brand as your company grows. A logo that is trendy or quirky may get you immediate attention but will likely be meaningless in the future. A good logo will stand the test of time. 

Different Types of Logos

There are nine different types of logos:

  1. Wordmarks/logotypes
  2. Letterforms
  3. Lettermarks/monogram logos
  4. Logo symbols/brand marks/pictorial marks
  5. Abstract logo marks
  6. Mascots
  7. Emblems
  8. Combination marks
  9. Dynamic Marks

 

Graphic Design Elements

Your use of shape, line, color, and font, all add to the story your logo has to tell.

Shape

Shapes are used as containers and symbols and are extremely important because they all have subconscious associations which will help convey your brand message to your audience. They are often used to balance a design or make it stand out. Here are a few of the associations humans have with different shapes and things you should consider when incorporating them into your design.

  • Circles: Unity, safety, wholeness, fulfillment, complete. Great for brands with short names, monograms, or symbols. Use a strong typeface to ensure that scaling doesn’t affect legibility.
  • Rectangles and Squares: Poise, tradition, balance, stability, solid. Ideal for longer names but note that rectangles can prove to be a problem when scaling to spaces like square profile pictures.
  • Triangles: Movement, direction, strength, power. In addition to indicating movement, they can be used to replace letters like ‘V’ and ‘A’.
  • Organic Shapes: Freedom, nature, warmth, comfort. Organic shapes can be particularly eye-catching and are well-suited to brands who want to elicit feelings from the heart rather than the head.
  • Lines: Vertical lines are more aggressive than horizontal lines which are calmer and more tranquil. Use vertical lines to indicate strength and dominance. The style of the line also adds to the message it puts across. A line that is thick and imperfect like a brush of paint tells a different story from a line that is thin and straight.

 You must also consider that the way that you put your design elements together also creates shape. For example, text that is stacked vertically is eye-catching and may need to be combined with a horizontal line or a left-aligned symbol for balance.

Color

The most important thing to remember when deciding on color is that it is not necessarily about your personal taste. Yes, it is your business and you’re going to be living with the logo but, first and foremost, your logo must appeal to your audience and convey your brand message effectively. Color is particularly important because it evokes different emotions and feelings. Meanings can also vary from culture to culture so, if you’re a global company, you must be sure that your use of color is appropriate. For example, in certain parts of the East, you will never find food with green packaging because it has very different cultural connotations.

The Psychology of Colors, Wheel Illustration showing the Meaning of Colors - Marketing Tool

 

Color must be used wisely and you shouldn’t really use more than 3 colors. It’s always a good idea to use colors similar to those your competitors use but in a way that you stand out, rather than blend in.

Fonts

There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of fonts to choose from and, like color, they also convey meaning and need to be chosen to suit your brand identity. Let’s look at different types of fonts and the associations they have.

logo options with the letters R and P in different typographic fonts, monogram with initials RP in various types

 

Serif fonts

The most renowned serif font is Times New Roman. Serif fonts have little “feet” which give them that classic, traditional, and timeless feel. Legibility can sometimes be a problem, particularly if you choose something too fancy.

Sans-serif fonts

These are fonts which don’t have “feet” that serif fonts do which makes them more versatile and easy to read. Sans-serif fonts give a modern, clean, and friendly feel.

Script fonts

Script fonts or handwritten fonts can give your logo a really unique personality. You must be careful about legibility when it comes to script fonts because many of them can be hard to read and only work well for shorter names or monograms.

Modern fonts

Modern fonts are also sans-serif but with a more sophisticated, stark, technological feel. They are very popular with tech companies and app developers.

Display fonts

These are fonts that have high visual impact and are out-of-the-ordinary. They can be fun and give your logo a particular edge but they can also be over used and you must be sure that they suit your brand.

If you want a font that is completely unique you will need to employ a font designer who can create something specifically for your brand. This obviously comes at an additional cost and can prolong the design process.

Symbols

If you think of any brand with an iconic logo it will probably be a symbol. Symbols are a design element that makes your logo instantly recognizable and can even replace your entire logo once your brand has established a strong presence in the market. They can be literal or abstract but they must reflect your brand image and be associated with it. They should also match the fonts you use. For example, you wouldn’t want to use an abstract, modern font with an intricate line drawing. The placement of the symbol is also important and can be used to determine visual hierarchy and overall balance.

2. Do Your Research

In order to create a strong identity that is instantly recognizable and will help your brand gain credibility over time, your logo needs to stand out from your competitors and appeal to your target market. You will need to do some brainstorming around your own brand in order to clearly identify its characteristics and ensure the logo captures them effectively.

The Competition

  • What are your competitors’ imagery and messaging like?
  • What colors, shapes, symbols, and fonts are they using?
  • What do you like about their branding?
  • What don’t you like about their branding?
  • How is your brand different from theirs?

Your Target Market

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What brands do they like?
  • What type of person are they?
  • What is important to them?
  • What appeals to your target market?
  • How do they make buying decisions?

Your Brand

  • What 3 adjectives best describe your brand?
  • What are its features and benefits?
  • What makes it unique?
  • What do you want your brand to be known for?
  • Do you have a slogan?
  • Where will you use your logo most?

Once you have done this research you will have a good idea of the landscape your brand needs to stand out in as well as some inspiration for the look and feel your logo should have.

3. Make a Logo

Now that you know about the various elements that make up a logo, what makes a good logo, and have done the research into the market your brand is competing in, you should be ready to create your logo. You have three options.

  1. You can hire a graphic designer on Fiverr to create a logo for you or purchase design software to do it yourself. Both these options can be pricey and, if you still have to learn how to use the design program, take some time.
  2. You can buy a logo template and customize it to suit your business. The problem with this is that even with customization your logo runs quite a high risk of not being unique which will detract from your brand image.
  3. You can use an online logo generator like Canva, Wix, or Looka to create a logo that is unique and embodies your brand without having any design experience. Logo creation apps have all the tools and options you need to create a logo that really stands out. Best of all it won’t take long and it won’t cost you a fortune. There is a range of these platforms to choose from and it is best to experiment to find which one works best for you. Some use AI to generate a logo according to your design preferences and others provide you with a myriad of tools and design elements that you can drag and drop to create your own design.

It’s best to come up with 2-3 designs that you like and run them by your customers, friends, and family for some feedback before you make a final decision. Remember to check your logo for scalability, versatility, and legibility across various media in case you need to tweak anything before putting it to work to build your brand.