How to design a logo


Want to know how to design a logo like a professional and have all the resources you need in just one post? Then this is the post for you… Learn professional logo design in just 5 steps!

If you are after a professional logo design I am currently available for hire.Click here for a free quote.

1. Learn What A Logo Is & What It Represents

Logo Design

Before you design a logo, you must understand what a logo is, what it represents and what it is supposed to do. A logo is not just a mark – a logo reflects a business’s commercial brand via the use of shape, fonts, colour, and / or images.

A logo is for inspiring trust, recognition and admiration for a company or product and it is our job as designers to create a logo that will do its job.

One must know what a logo is before continuing.

For further reading on what is a logo check out Wikipedia’s Definition.

2. Know The Principles of Effective Logo Design

Principles of Effective Logo Design

Now that you know what a logo is supposed to do, and what it should represent you now must learn about what makes a great logo aka; the basic rules and principles of effective logo design.

1. A logo must be simple

A simple logo design allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile & memorable. Good logos feature something unexpected or unique without being overdrawn.

2. A logo must be memorable

Following closely behind the principle of simplicity, is that of memorability. An effective logo design should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple, yet, appropriate logo.

3. A logo must be timeless

An effective logo should be timeless – that is, it will stand the test of time. Will the logo still be effective in 10, 20, 50 years?

4. A logo must be versatile

An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. The logo must work in just one colour too.

5. A logo must be appropriate

How you position the logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose. For example, if you are designing a a logo for children’s toys store, it would be appropriate to use a childish font & color scheme. This would not be so appropriate for a law firm.

For further reading on the rules and principles of great logo design I highly recommend to read the logo design tips from Logo Factory before continuing and also the article Why logo design does not cost $5.00. You may also wish to read How NOT To Design A Logo.

3. Learn Off Others Success & Mistakes

Logo Mistakes

Successful Logos

Now you know what the rules of logo design are, you can distinguish the difference between a good and a bad logo… By knowing what other logos have succeeded and why they have succeeded gives a great insight into what makes a good logo.

For example, lets look at the classic Nike Swoosh. This logo was created by Caroline Davidson in 1971 for only $35 yet it still a strong, memorable logo, effective without colour and easily scalable. It is simple, fluid and fast and represents the wing in the famous statue of the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike – something perfect for a sporting apparel business. Nike is just one of many great logos, think about other famous brands that you know about and check out their logos – what makes them successful?

For more quality, lesser known logos I recommend checking out Logo Of The Day or going to your local book store or library and looking at a logo design book.

The Not So Successful Logos

We can also learn off logos that have not been as successful such as the ones in the above picture or these bad logo designs. As seen in that post linked, some logos can depict things that may have not always be noticeable to the designer (as in the middle logo above) or they could just be plain bad design, as in the logo to the right.

4. Establish Your Own Logo Design Process

Design Process

Now that we know what a logo is, what the principles and rules of logo design are and what makes a successful logo we can now finally begin the design process. This it hardest part of the 5 steps and is its own topic in itself – Each person’s logo design process is different and experience usually is the key factor in creating your own logo design process however check out The Secret Logo Design Process Of Top Logo Designers for a better idea.

In short, a logo design process usually consists of

  1. The Design Brief
  2. Research & Brainstorming
  3. Sketching
  4. Prototyping & Conceptualising (See Step 5)
  5. Send To Client For Review
  6. Revise & Add Finishing Touches
  7. Supply Files To Client and Give Customer Service

If you ever get stuck before or during your design process check out this great article on How To Boost Your Creativity. 

5. Learn The Software & Complete The Logo

Software

After you have got your design process sorted out, it is usually a good time to begin mastering your software (Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard) but remember you can’t design a logo by just hopping straight onto the computer… brainstorm and sketch first.

After you have got your initial ideas and sketches from brainstorming you can then usually jump onto the computer to start digitising your logo. After you have got a great concept(s) digitised you can send it to your client, get revisions, and eventually complete the logo and thus, you have successfully created a professional logo.

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designing your logos and comparing

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Branding Basics

Have you ever asked yourself why a competitor’s business gets more attention than yours? The answer just may have to do with the elements that go into how memorable the business is. And that has to do with branding.

But exactly what is branding, anyway? Think of branding as predefining what a company is all about in the minds of its clients. Good branding differentiates your products and services in a positive way that really sticks in the minds of potential customers.

Let’s say you are getting ready to run errands on a busy Saturday morning, thinking about the groceries that need to be bought, the dry cleaning that needs to be picked up, and the packages that must get to the post office before noon. The trip to the post office reminds you that your favorite aunt’s birthday is next Wednesday. You need to add buying and mailing a birthday card to your list of things to do. Without a moment’s hesitation, you know exactly where you will buy the card: the local Hallmark store. Why did you think Hallmark?

The answer to that question has everything to do with Hallmark’s branding and two key elements of that branding are:

  • a logo design that’s attractive, easy to read and memorable;
  • a great tag line.

Assuming your own product is fabulous, it all comes down to image. Graphic design can play a huge part in that image. But what are some key things to consider?

The First Key Element of Branding; Create a Great Logo.

You have given a great deal of attention to your company name and believe it speaks to who you are and what you do. Great! Now you need to wrap a graphic image around that name to carve out a prime piece of real estate in your target customer’s mind. That is exactly what a great logo design can do.

Keep in mind that a powerful logo design:

  • has a strong, balanced image with no little extras that clutter its look;
  • is distinctive and bold in design, making it easy to see at a glance;
  • has graphic imagery that looks appropriate for your business;
  • works well with your company name;
  • is done in an easy to read font;
  • communicates your business clearly; and
  • looks good in black and white, as well as in color.

Hallmark’s memorable crown logo is one of the reasons that Hallmark comes to mind so quickly when you need to buy a greeting card. It is simple, bold, looks good in either color or black and white, and bespeaks the quality required for something to be stamped with a hallmark, so it works well with the company name. While the image might not have communicated the nature of the business when it was first created, it certainly does now!

The Second Key Element of Branding; Create a Distinctive Tag Line.

A tag line is a three to seven word phrase that accompanies your logo. It expresses your company’s most important benefits and/or what you want your customers to remember about working with you. Think of it as the words you want to linger in your target customer’s mind about you and what you have to offer.

Great tag lines appear to be effortlessly created because they just seem to flow. In fact, creating and refining one takes time, just like designing a great logo. The benefits of taking the time to craft a great tag line lie with the tag line’s stickiness. Great tag lines stick in your memory.

The Hallmark tag line, “When you care enough to send the very best,” appeals to the human desire to be viewed as having good taste and an appreciation for luxury. If greeting cards are a commodity, then Hallmark has found a way to differentiate itself as the choice for quality.

The Hallmark company was founded by J. C. Hall, so the name Hallmark was a natural. It was also brilliant from a marketing standpoint. Hallmarks have been used for centuries as a stamp to denote quality, purity, and genuineness. Could there be a better way to attach the image of quality to a product? The tag line capitalizes on that image well with words that stick in the mind and exemplify good taste.

Creating a great logo and distinctive tag line are critical in creating a brand that provides the perfect image for your company and great ones just might be memorable enough to give your company the beach front property in the minds of your customers that leaves them thinking only of you.

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10 tips for choosing company name

Yesterday, as part of my series on starting a business, I provided a general outline of things you need to think about when you develop a name for your business. Once you have your plan in place, here are some tips to help you find a business name that will add to your success.

1. Check on the Competition: What kind of names do your competitors have? Make a list and compare them to spark your own ideas and to help you develop a name that really stands out from the crowd.

2. Think about Your Target Audience: You want your business name to resonate with the people you are trying to reach. Use what you know about your target audience to measure the relevancy of any names you come up with.

3. Embrace Your Creativity: While you want your name to be easy to pronounce and remember, don’t skip over the value of creating a name that is completely unique. Not only can this make your business more memorable, but it can also provide a great opportunity for a back story, if your creative name has a special meaning.

 

4. Look at It from All Angles: Think about how the name will fit into the everyday operations of your business, and what it will make others think and feel. Make sure it coveys a clear message and that you are aware of all of the possible connotations that may influence how your business is perceived.

5. Don’t Limit Yourself: If you choose a name that identifies exactly what you do, such as Joe’s Logo Design, you might be limiting the future growth of your business. Sometimes it makes sense to be a little more general, such as Joe’s Graphic Design, so you don’t have to revisit and possibly revamp your brand down the line.

6. Get Input: Once you have a few possibilities, bounce them off of friends, family, colleagues and potential clients if possible. Ask for their initial impressions and suggestions they may have, and then add their feedback to your process.

7. Visualize the Brand: Your business name is more than just a name, it’s a big part of your company brand. Think in terms of your domain name, your marketing materials and how the name will essentially translate into all aspects of this new brand you are creating.

8. Use Tools: During your brainstorming phase, use some of the tools that are available to get inspired. A thesaurus is a must-have, and here are a few online tools to try out:

9. Keep It Short: Your business name won’t necessarily be more effective if it’s short, but it may be easier to remember. You can also consider using an acronym, but be careful – unless there is an obvious and memorable tie-in, using an acronym can make your name too generic to be relatable to your target.

10. Sleep On It: Put your shortlist of names aside for a day or two and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. You may feel differently about a name you loved before, or your working list may help you develop a new and perfect name when you review it again.

 

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Techniques for choosing Brand Name

Strategies for Choosing a Memorable Brand Name

As a new business (whether your independent or large corporation), we’re faced with many difficult decisions before we open up shop – the perfect location, how to effectively market yourself, pricing strategies, and more importantly, deciding on a great, memorable and identifiable brand name.

Unlike deciding on a location for your business and your marketing/pricing strategies, choosing a name for your business is far more nerve racking because it’s permanent, or at least should be, and should capture the essence a company. Below are techniques to help you and your clients generate a memorable, meaningful and unique brand name.

Acronyms/Abbreviations

Some companies like to use long, descriptive names to identify who they are and what they do. Acronyms are often used to make longer names more friendly and easier to remember. In most cases, the customers are the ones who start using the acronym for their own convenience.

This method works particularly well if you have a long company name whose first letters of each word form a brand new, pronounceable word.

Examples

 

 

  • Ikea  Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (Swedish) – example of how an acronym can form a new word.
  • UPS – United Parcel Service
  • MTV – Music Television

 

Conjoined (combined or portmanteau)

A conjoined brand name occurs when a brand name contains more than one than word to form something new. Typically, the combined name gives two different meanings or understanding to the new. It’s a good alternative to an acronym, especially if you don’t want to deliberately spell out what you do, and still be clear and inventive.

Examples

 

 

  • FedEx
  • PayPal
  • Coca-Cola
  • Microsoft

 

Descriptive

Descriptive brand names can effectively communicate what a brand does. On the downside, it can result in your customers finding your competitors. They are also are very hard, if not impossible to get trademarked.

The danger in choosing descriptive names is that the business sets itself up for confusion with competitors. For example a wine merchant will need to be free to use the word ‘wine merchant’ otherwise it could not engage in its business activity. If the first person to use the word ‘wine merchant’ were able to stop everyone else using the term, then it would give the first comer such a monopoly that they could stop all competition in the marketplace. That is far from what trade marks are designed to achieve.

Examples

 

 

  • Pizza Hut
  • Dwell
  • Architectural Digest

 

Invented and Playful

Invented names can be quite fun and interesting to come up with. They can be playful, weird, catchy – there’s less boundaries and limitations…

While descriptive brand names make it easy for potential customers to find your competitors, invented make it difficult for them to find you. They demand much more marketing because they are harder to remember and less descriptive.

Think about it – When Google first came about I remember thinking to myself, “hey, thats a pretty funny name, but what they heck is it?!”. But a good marketing strategy (and loads of money) emerged them from under the woodwork.

Examples:

 

 

  • Google
  • Yahoo!
  • Pepsi

 

Metaphorical

I would have to say that 80% of the clients I have help brand have told me a story or two regarding what they want their business to convey through its name.

Typically the stories are surrounded with emotional words or feelings on how they want their customers to feel or how they differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Use names that embark feeling or emotion or have an underlying story or message.

Examples

 

 

  • Starbucks
  • Orange (cellular service)
  • Apple

 

 

Founder or Origin

I’ve been seeing a lot more freelance designers lately creating their brand around their own name. While this method is easily trademarkable (is that even a word?), it can create the same problem as invented names – we all can relate to the struggle of getting our name “out there”.

In my opinion, using your own name is much more inviting and friendly – It puts a face to a company.

Examples

 

 

  • Adidas
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • JPMorgan
  • Charles Schwab
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