If you are looking to improve your current logo or design one from scratch then I've put together a list of helpful tips.
Deciding you need a logo (or a refresh) and jumping to the computer to begin designing seems like the obvious thing to do. However, spending time researching and sketching ideas will be extremely beneficial to you.
Stepping away from the computer allows your mind to come up with fresh new ideas, without being bombarded with online distractions. Obviously, finding inspiration online is part of the process but don't forget to allow yourself time away from the screen.
A good starting point is to write out a list of words that relate to your business. There's really no right or wrong way to do this.
For example, for Forth and Create I might write:
and so on. Write down anything that comes to mind that relates to your business. The research phase allows you to be wild with your ideas, nothing is off-limits.
The purpose of this list is to brain dump your business on paper. This will allow you to get everything out of your mind and it might even strike up ideas for a few designs.
Once you finish your list you can then begin finding inspiration and sketching out logo ideas.
Remember, this is the stage of logo design where you are allowed to make mistakes and experiment, you don't have to worry about if your ideas or too crazy or too plain, just let the pencil and your mind flow.
Think outside the box
Even though your logo is a small part of your brand it should still be meaningful and look unique.
Having a unique logo doesn't mean you need to create an elaborate design. Some of the best logos use simple icons and fonts.
A good starting point is to decide if you want your logo to be a simple wordmark (think Google, Coca-Cola, and Fedex.)
Or if you prefer a wordmark with an icon (think Nike, Starbucks, and Twitter.)
If you decide to only use a simple wordmark think about:
- what font can you use that will fit really well with your brand?
- is there a specific colour you can add to make it look a little more exciting?
- are you able to alter the typography to give it a unique look?
If you decide to use both a wordmark and an icon think about:
- is the icon you are using simple and not too complicated?
- can the icon be scaled down to 1 inch and you can still tell what it is? (More on this below.)
- can you use the icon on its own and people would still be able to tell that it is your logo?
These are just a few things to ask yourself when designing your logo. The more thought you put into it the more meaningful it will be to you and your brand.
Give it meaning
To expand on designing a meaningful logo let's dive into a few more tips and suggestions.
Think about the following before sketching out your logo ideas:
- what is it about your business that makes it different from other people in your field?
- what are your core business values and beliefs?
- if you had to describe to someone your business in images and colours what would you tell them? This might sound strange but the more ways you think differently about your business the more thought will go into your logo.
Once you've designed your logo can you explain to someone why you designed it the way you did? And I don't mean, "I really like the way the font looks" and "purple is my favourite colour." It should really have a personal touch and back story.
To give your logo more meaning avoid the following:
- clichés. If you see 100 people doing it then run in the opposite direction.
- pre-made logos. There's nothing wrong with pre-made logos unless you are looking to design a logo that is unique to *your* brand.
- avoid too much detail in your logo. Just because you want it to be meaningful doesn't mean it needs to be a detailed masterpiece. Less is more.
Don't go with your first design
Have you ever designed something and you end up going with your first design because you think it's "good enough?"
I might be guilty of this *cough* *cough.*
It's important to realize that even the BEST of the BEST designers don't go with their first idea. Going with your first idea is only holding you back from the potential you have to create something EVEN MORE AMAZING! I say that in caps because it's so damn true.
Don't limit yourself to your first idea. If after trying a few different concepts you realize that your first idea is your best option then, by all means, go for it, but at least you can say you explored all of your options.
Do you really need it?!
Yes, you need a logo but do you really need the graphic / icon you used? If you own a bakery do you really need to have that cupcake in your logo? Just because you think it makes sense to have it in there it's totally not necessary.
For example, Nike's icon is a swoosh, not a pair of shoes and Starbucks uses a graphic that isn't coffee, yet if you see both of those icons alone you know exactly who they belong to.
You can read it
I mentioned this above but it's pretty important so it's getting its own section.
Make sure your logo is readable at a small size. I like to scale the logo I'm working with from 4-inches down to 1-inch. If it looks like a blob at 1 inch then consider altering certain elements to see if you can make it legible.
Give your logo spaaaaaace.
If you are using both a wordmark and an icon make sure there is enough space between each element so it feels breathable and less crowded. Avoid overlapping text with your icon unless you are confident it works and the text is legible and easy to read.
Giving your logo elements the proper amount of space will also help when scaling your logo down to 1 inch.
Before celebrating the completion of your logo ask for feedback. I don't mean asking your mom or bff (unless of course, they have design knowledge.)
Reach out to people in Facebook groups, but be wary, asking for feedback in groups can go terribly wrong. Make sure you're doing it right.
You can check out my post on just that here..
It's important to take their feedback into consideration, you did ask for it. It's entirely possible they will notice something that could use a bit of work or might not make sense, etc. Refine your logo until everything looks perfect.
Mock it up
Now that you've received feedback and made refinements, it's time to have some fun and test your logo out on different branding items.
You can get some amazing mockups over at Creative Market such as this one..
and place your new logo on different items to make sure everything looks good across the board.
Expand your brand
After you've celebrated the completion of your new logo it's time to work on the rest of your brand, if needed.
A few branding elements you should have:
- brand tone of voice.
- colours and typography
- social media graphics
- stationary designs
- patterns and graphics
If you would like to learn more on designing your brand check out my post here...
If you are interested in learning more about logo design I have a free email course.
1. Researching your logo idea
2. The 5 things to keep in mind when designing your logo
3. What the most important design element is and how to master it
4. Hierarchy, layout, and spacing
5. Saving your logo files the right way
If you are interested click the image below to sign up.