Your business needs a logo as part of its branding. The logo is going to serve as a visual representation of your brand. Even though it’s small, the logo has a lot of weight to carry.
The small icon might be used for apps, business cards, websites, social media, brick-and-mortar signs, product tags/packaging, promo items and SO much more. It needs to be really good.
Your logo should represent your brand aesthetic and help target audiences quickly connect your brand to the image. Whether you need a new logo as a startup just entering the market or you need to revamp an amateur/outdated logo, there is no better time to rebrand than the present.
A good logo is going to work well on a lot of different mediums, products and platforms. It will be scalable—looking great really big or super small. A logo should be easy to recognize and not look too similar to another brand’s logo, because that could lead to brand confusion.
A good logo will fit right into the look and feel of your brand. From the colors to the style and imagery, your logo should find the simplest and quickest way to convey who your brand is to the audience.
Don’t just go with the first idea that pops into your head. This is how you end up with an amateur-looking logo that isn’t very effective. The design process should be broken down into several steps you spend time on before choosing the right logo to represent your brand.
Start With A Brainstorming Session
Get out all of your ideas onto a paper. Write down imagery and color combinations you think might work. See if there are different ways you can break down your brand name for imagery. Think about what images and symbols represent your industry, products or audience.
The more ideas you can pour out here, the better. There is no such thing as a bad idea during this stage. Sometimes writing down an idea you KNOW you won’t go with frees up space in your mind for something fresh to pop in. Sometimes an idea that totally doesn’t fit morphs into the perfect idea as you are working.
You may want to do the first brainstorming session with other key stakeholders in your company. Multiple minds can bounce ideas off each other and provide perspectives others hadn’t thought of.
Align Your Logo With Your Audience
Create a mood board for the next stage. Using colors, images and words, start to form an idea of who your brand is and what they bring to the table that attracts your core audience. None of the things on this board need to make it into your logo, but you are looking to create a visual, solidified brand aesthetic that you can refer to during the design process.
If you are a tech company, this might include images of futuristic cities, clean/bold colors (like neon green or turquoise) and words like “innovative” or “smart.” For a healthy food company, the board may include images of nature, muted colors (like golden yellow or forest green) and words like “trust” or “nurturing”.
Look At Your Competitor’s Logos
Know what your competition is doing—and don’t do that! You want your brand to stand out. This part of the research should help you determine how your approach (and mood board) is different from the other companies already out there after your target audience.
You may even find a slight niche here where you brand can fill in the gaps. Use this process to know where you are different and how your branding capitalizes on that.
Get The Creative Juices Flowing
You can look at other logos for inspiration. You don’t want anything too similar to another logo, but you can look at the different types, shapes, styles and imagery to start forming your own ideas.
Create another board of all the logos you really like that hold elements you find captivating. Use multiple inspiration sources so you can be sure not to just rip off another company’s design.
Decide On A Type Of Logo
As you are looking at other logos, you will start to notice there are a lot of different types. You may want to consider a monogram logo (one letter), initials logos (multiple letters), logotype (your brand name in a stylized design), an icon (image to represent your brand) or a combination of these options.
While brand logos can get very complex and detailed, they are often better when they are kept simple and direct. Don’t go overboard combining your ideas. Get rid of the elements that aren’t extremely important for the first impression of your brand.
Use Colors That Speak To Your Brand
Shift your attention back to your mood board. Using both the colors on that board and the words you used to start defining your brand colors. Different colors have different meanings that they convey on first sight.
Red, for example, can represent lust, anger and encourage action. Yellow represents happiness, energy and power. Green often offers feelings of hope, growth and renewal. Blue is usually calming, dependable and stable. Purple is authoritative, innovative and offbeat.
Hues can shift the meaning as well. An earthy green may represent natural concepts, while a brighter green might represent money or agility. Color combinations will further change the meaning. Bright green paired with bright yellow often represents a deal or discount. Royal blue and fire engine red will start to look very American, representing bravery and freedom.
Pick The Right Typography
Fonts pack a lot of weight. You need to choose a font that is professional and fitting of your brand. While serif fonts are more classic, slab serif fronts are more edgy and unexpected. Sans serif fonts are modern, while script fonts look softer and more creative.
Your font needs to be readable at even the smallest of sizes. In some cases, logos may use letters that aren’t immediately recognizable, but this should be a design choice that offers hidden meaning in the design for those who look closer—not a poor font choice that is just hard to read.
Consider Appropriate Icons
The right imagery can help convey ideas quickly. You might pair a common symbol with your name or initials for a powerful connection of your brand to your industry.
Just watch out because there is a lot of imagery that is already out there. Too similar of a concept or style and your brand logo may look too much like someone else’s.
Try Different Iterations
You need to then start combining your ideas. Use the imagery, style and colors you’ve come up with to start putting them together. By combining the ideas, you will start to see what you do or don’t like. You might end up with about 1-3 really good options.
You can use these options to test with your consumers or key stakeholders. You might have one that clearly scales better and represents your company better than the others.
Make It Yours
Once you’ve finalized your design, you need to trademark your logo. Trademarking a logo is important because it helps protect your intellectual property. If someone tries to steal your ideas or look, you can go after them legally and make them stop. This is another reason you need to do your homework and make sure your design isn’t too close to another brand’s logo.
If your logo is original enough and clearly linked to your brand, you can start the process and submit your application. It can be a little pricey (between $350-$1,500), but it is worth having the protection for a good design.