Your logo may quite possibly be the single most important marketing tool, not to mention marketing strategy, your company has. And creating a logo is simple, right?
Think again. There’s more to designing your company’s visual identity than just picking a picture and a fancy font and calling it a day. Your logo is your first impression, and it has more impact today than ever before. And in today’s society where everyone has a website, it’s important to create something original; one that stands out and creatively expresses who you are and what you do, while surviving existence.
In this article, we’ve compiled 12 tips from design experts to help you craft a great logo, from inspiration to accomplishment.
In the beginning: Logo 101
The basic principles of designing a great logo:
- Keep it simple. A simple design allows for easy recognition. It is possible to be memorable without being overdrawn.
- Be versatile. In other words, your logo should work across an array of mediums – print, digital, billboard vs business card, not to mention applications – Smartphone, laptop, fax machine.
- Be appropriate. First, nail down your target audience, second, establish your company’s culture, third craft your logo appropriately.
- Keep things consistent. Use colors and schemes that are becoming of your company and industry.
Learn from others
Start off by doing a little market research. You’ll gain valuable insight as to which brands succeeded and why. Then go and apply that knowledge to your design.
Forego the clichés
Clichés are the antonym to uniqueness. Don’t use stock photos or clip art, either. Your design should be original. Your message should be original. Your logo should be original. We can’t stress that enough.
Know your audience
Your logo establishes your brand identity. Research your audience and you’ll be better able to communicate your message in a more clear and effective manner.
Keep ALL your drafts
For every one logo, there are dozens upon dozens of rough drafts. These drafts are a valuable resource and may inspire you on other branding initiatives – not to mention, it may tie all your branding collateral together.
Create vector files
Vector files are an excellent in-between stage. Illustrator CC can be helpful creating these vectors as you’ll be able to rescale your design without losing quality.
Be smart with Photoshop
Copy and paste your artwork into Photoshop as a “smart object.” If you are combining it with other elements, this is the best way to preserve your images original characteristics while allowing you to perform editing to the layer.
Be conscious about space
Most brand books specify an “exclusion zone” – the area around the logo that can’t be occupied by other content or designs in order to protect the integrity of the logo.
Active vs Passive: Active wins
If applicable, your design should take on the quality of active movement vs passive and static. Perfect example is the Twitter logo. Notice how the static bird in the early years of Twitter now looks like a bird in motion.
Be a minimalist
Don’t overuse fonts. In fact, don’t use more than two. It’s just that simple.
Know the difference between a logo and brand
A logo “identifies” you, while a “brand” tells people who you are. Another way to think about it: a logo is a mark. A brand is a story.
Create a “Brand Standards Guide” immediately
Style guides determine how your logo can (and cannot) be used, and usually include details such as color options, size restraints, positioning and typefaces. They also include how your logo cannot be used, so make sure you clearly specify these no-no’s. The last thing you want is for your logo to be misinterpreted.
At the end of the day, be creative, be unique, and create a design that speaks to you, your company, and your values. Keep it simple and relevant. Yes, a logo is an image, but it’s also an introduction to your brand.