How to Design a Logo You Love. Plus a free workbook to help!
Hello friend. Today I'm writing about how to design a kick-ass logo you love. After seeing so many people in Facebook groups asking for logo advice I thought it would be a great time to share my knowledge and process with you. I'm here to make things a little smoother and to take away any stress you might be feeling. I've also included a free logo workbook to help you start brainstorming your ideas. So let's dive right in.
The first thing you want to do is collect inspiration to get your juices flowing. Head on over to Pinterest, create a secret board and start pinning images you find inspiring for your brand. This can include colours, textures, patterns, styles, anything you like. By doing this you set the vibe and emotion for your brand which will help when it comes to actually designing your logo. A good idea is to write in the comment section of the image what it is exactly that you like about the pin. It might be the texture on the wall, or something really specific that you don't want to forget. After you are done pinning you can go ahead and create a moodboard if you like. I have a whole post on just that including some free moodboard templates! You can check that out here.
SKETCH IT OUT
Seriously, do it. Don't skip the sketching step. Step away from the computer, pull out your paper and pencil and sketch away. It doesn't have to be pretty just do what feels natural. Write out your logo, play around with shapes, add hierarchy to different words, go wild. You might be surprised with something you come up with that you would've missed if you went straight to the computer. I like to spend a day or two just sketching ideas out, there's no right or wrong way to go about this so take advantage of it.
Design in Illustrator
When it comes to designing a logo, Illustrator is your best bet. You want to avoid sites like Canva or any where you can't save your logo as a vector. Why? Vectors are not made up with pixels like a JPG or PNG, therefore you can scale your logo to any size without losing quality. Vectors are perfect for a logo small enough to fit on a button all the way to a billboard on the side of the road, btw congrats if your logo ends up on a billboard. But you get what I'm saying, right?
Another reason to avoid sites like Canva is unless you upload your own original artwork you cannot use their elements in your logo since you do not own them. You can read more from them here. Since it is your logo after all you want to make sure it's 100% original and you're not stealing from anyone, because nobody likes a thief.
If you're not at all familiar with Illustrator you might be thinking to yourself, what in the what, I'm not a designer, how the heck I'm a supposed to use this tool? I know because before I learned the in-and-outs of it I thought of it as this massive software that only the pros used. Fear not, friend all it takes is a little learning and playing around and you too can be a pro in no time.
If you don't want to commit to paying for Illustrator there are a few decent options out there that will do the job. I recommend trying Sketch's free trial, or if you're looking for something free I suggest playing around with Inkscape. But if you can afford it I highly suggest hoping on the Illustrator train, it's worth every penny.
The Quick and Easy Logo Formula
If you're just starting out, designing a logo might seem intimidating but that's why I'm here! Check out my formula before for getting started. Now keep in mind this is the bare minimum but it should be a good starting point for you.
So what does all this gibberish mean? Let me break it down for you:
- Type out your logo on one line. No fancy font needed in this stage.
- Now stack all your words on top of each other. Look at each word if there's more than one, and start thinking about which words are more important than the others. You wouldn't want to emphasize common words such as, "and", "or", "the", etc. Make sure the important words are big and noticeable.
- Once you've decided which words you want to stand out more lay them out to test the waters. Again, avoid using any fancy fonts in this stage, you don't want to distract yourself. As you can see above I tried putting "Sally" a bit bigger because I wanted her name to stand out first.
- In this step I reversed the words. I made "frozen yogurt" bigger and "Sally's" smaller. In this case I want people to know what the store is selling so I decided to keep "frozen yogurt" bigger.
- In this stage start playing around with different fonts. Make sure it makes sense. You wouldn't to use a super thin font for "frozen yogurt" if you want it to stand out. If I was actually designing a logo for Sally's business I would put a little more effort into creating something unique, for the sake of my time I whipped that together quickly.
- If you are thinking of adding any icons to your logo play around with that in this step.
I hope that helps you get started with your logo.
Scale YOUR Logo
Once you've designed a logo you're happy with it's time to make sure you can actually read it at multiple sizes.
As you can see above I scaled the logo at 4 inches all the way down to 1 inch. By doing this I can tell that at 1 inch those dots next to "Sally's" are almost invisible. I might decided to eliminate them from my logo completely. The frozen yogurt icon is also looking like a blob at 1 inch so I might opt for a different icon that isn't all black and has some more white space.
It's important not to skip this step because if you put a lot of time and effort into creating your awesome logo and then decide to make buttons or business cards and you then realize your logo is impossible to read at that size you will be very disappointed.
THE COLOUR TEST
It's a good idea to also put your logo on different background colours, especially black and white. By seeing your logo on different colours you can make sure that everything looks A-OK. In my personal opinion I would probably add more space between the yogurt scopes to make it stand out a bit more, the lines are looking a little too close together.
This may sound like a no-brainer but it's so important to make sure you aren't using images you found on Google, or wrongfully using icons, etc. The last thing you want is to design your awesome logo and then get in trouble for stealing. Sometimes you might not even know you're stealing. As I mentioned above if you're creating a logo in Canva you might think that it's a free-for-all and you can use whatever graphic from them you like but that's not the case. Or you might use a font that has strict licensing saying you can't use it without purchasing an extended license. If you're not sure ask, do some research and follow the rules. Besides, who wants a logo with the same graphics that 100 other people have?
Make it Timeless
Avoid designing a logo that is going to go out of style in a years time or avoid using a font that is so oversaturated by everyone else. A perfect example of this would be the brush script font. Do any of these look familair to you?
I don't know about you but lately it seems like everyone and their mother is using brush fonts in their logos. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't use a brush font, personally I love them but just be on the look out and make sure you aren't seeing them being used by 100 other people. You will instantly lose your uniqueness and your brand won't stand out. Even better pull out your paint brushes and try creating your own unique logo with your handwriting.
DESIGN TIPS FOR YOUR LOGO
- Keep it simple. Don't overcrowd your logo with extra words or graphics that you just don't need.
- If you are using an icon make sure it doesn't overpower the words in your logo.
- If you are using colours keep it to a minimum. 1-2 is plenty.
- Make sure your icon or graphic is original and a vector. Refrain from using PNGs or JPGS as they will not scale well at different sizes.
- Use type that is easy to read and isn't oversaturated by everyone else using it.
- Use a mix of fonts to create contrast and emotion but make sure they compliment each other and work for you. I recommend using no more than 3 fonts, I like to keep it at 2.
SAVING YOUR LOGO
Once you're finished with your logo it's time to save it in a few different formats. You most definitely want to save it as an EPS or AI file. These are working files which means you can open them again in Illustrator and make any edits. To do this go to File > Save As > and choose what format you want to save in.
You want to also save your logo as a PNG (transparent background) this is good for your blogs header / website. To do this go to File > Export > PNG
It's here that you can also save your logo as a JPG.
EPS/AI, PNG, and JPG are the main files you want for your logo. If you want you could also save it as a PDF.
Now it's time to take action. Download my free logo workbook and start brainstorming your awesome ideas. If you follow my steps you will have a kick-ass logo in no time. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions at all or would like some advice!
FREE MINI COURSE!
When designing your logo making sure you have top-notch typography is pretty darn important! Lucky for you I have a FREE typography course. Get access to all 6 courses right away and become a type champ! click the button below to sign up.
I also recommend checking out the book below. It's chalk full of great info on logo design and the process you should use. It's one of my favourite books to reference.