Logo Design 101 · Logo Design 102 · Logo Design 103
Are you seeking to create a company logo without hiring a professional?
Here’s what you need to know about designing a logo that resonates with your audience.
Your logo can be the first thing potential customers see, and it can make or break your company’s brand.
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Effective and successful logo design can be extremely challenging.
But having the perfect logo is essential to conveying your business identity and giving you an edge over competitors.
It’s not about randomly pairing colors, images, graphics, and text.
There is a strategic and psychological science behind a successful logo.
In this article, we will discuss how your logo helps create a persona for your business, and what steps are involved should you seek to create a logo yourself.
What exactly is a logo?
A logo is a symbol, graphic, or image that represents your company.
A logo can be the first thing potential customers see, and it can make or break a company’s brand. Therefore, a logo should be straightforward, and it should immediately convey the company’s identity, persona, and how it serves customers or consumers.
How does your logo help with branding, and why is it important?
Your logo is the face of your company and represents how you wish to be seen by the world. It is your visual identity and an embodiment of your brand. It communicates your values, personality, story, and character, allows the public to recognize you in seconds, and can be the first impression you make on customers.
Your logo design needs to be eye-catching and memorable, distinguish you from competitors, immediately identify your business and what it represents, and set you apart from other brands.
Your logo can make or break how consumers perceive you.
What does a logo consist of?
In a previous post, we outlined that a properly designed logo consists of:
- the logo itself – a graphic, text, or a combination thereof, and
- a logomark
- a logomark is an abbreviated element of your logo and is used as your website’s favicon (icon in the browser bar), social media avatar, and the like.
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Variations of logo styles
In a previous post, we described the different types of logo styles, and how it’s important to determine which one will best suit your business.
- Wordmark Logos: A Wordmark logo uses the business name as the dominant element for its design. Microsoft is a prime example of a Wordmark Logo design.
- Pictorial Logos: A Pictorial logo uses a creative image or symbol with which customers easily identify. For example, McDonalds’ iconic M represents its brand effectively.
- Lettermark Logos: Lettermark logos are also known as Monogram logos, which use an abbreviated version of the company name, such as HP, IBM, P&G.
- Abstract logos: Abstract logos are used to convey what the company does through its logo. These logos use images or symbols that customers can understand. Mitsubishi uses the image of a car for its Abstract Logo design.
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What steps are involved in logo design?
It’s important to stress that effective logo design is not about a hodgepodge pairing of color, images, graphics, and text. On the contrary, there is a strategic and psychological science behind it.
Below are the steps and guidelines to follow to produce a quality logo.
Identify your target audience
The first step in logo design is understanding who and what represents your ideal target audience.
This includes exploring and understanding their demographics, and what they are seeking relevant to your products and services. Begin this exercise by simply talking with your customers and potentials, and/or creating surveys that ask specific questions about their likes, dislikes, lifestyle, and habits.
Do your competitive homework
Research competitors and trends within your industry. This information may be gathered through observation as well as through online research.
A word of caution:
Never mimic a competitor’s logo.
Not only do you risk consumer confusion, but you open yourself up to potential liability.
Compile a list or compilation of logo designs that appeal to you, and why. This will serve as the basis for your creative ideas.
Competitor logos can (and should) be part of this step but again, ensure you do not end up replicating another brand’s design.
Identify suitable fonts and typefaces
Choosing the correct typeface for your logo is key. You want to select fonts that convey the personality of your business identity and brand, are legible at any size or distance, are easy to read, and are appropriate for your audience.
A strict rule of thumb is never to use more than two different typefaces in a logo design.
Create an appropriate color palette
Determining the ideal color combination for your logo is essential. Be forewarned that color theory is an in-depth topic, so be prepared to take a deep dive into how color affects consumers, what colors are appropriate to your brand, and how colors work together.
When researching colors, be sure to consider the emotions that each color conveys. For example, a company with a strong personality or high-energy products or services might choose colors that are bold and confident to convey excitement. Alternately, an organization providing healing services may use soft, muted tones for a calm, trustworthy vibe.
Potential customers often make decisions about companies based on how they perceive your brand by what colors you use.
Be cognizant, also, that your logo is used in all marketing materials – online and offline: web, print collateral, apparel, signage, etc. So what displays on the web may be different than what you see in print.
Color theory is an in-depth topic
So be prepared to take a deep dive into how color affects consumers, what colors are appropriate to your brand, and how colors work together.
Sketch it out
The next step involved in logo design is the actual process of drawing out your initial logo concepts by hand.
Grab a pencil and paper and hammer out as many rough designs as you can to create loose representations of everything collected from your research and inspiration. None of your initial sketches need to be even close to perfect (in fact they should be quite messy). This is simply an exercise so you can begin narrowing down your design.
Fine-tune your sketches, and taper them down until you have a small number of initial concepts to work with.
Convert your chosen initial sketches into a digital one-color format
Take your concepts and convert them into electronic format using a vector-based program such as Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer. You can read more here about what is a vector-based file and why is it essential for your logo.
Vector-based files allow your final logo to be crisply scaled to any size without pixelation (aka fuzzy or blurry). Vector-based files produce a crisp and final design that is easy to read and scalable to any size.
Sure, you can create your logo in Canva or a handful of other online DIY design programs. But you will most certainly end up with a file that is useless for large-scale output (signage or apparel, for example), lacks crisp edges, becomes pixelated when enlarged even the slightest, and doesn’t export into the various final formats required for all of your online and offline marketing needs.
At this stage, these first digital designs should be created in one color – black and white – so as not to hinder the narrow-down process. You should expect to make several iterations, variations, and revisions of your various designs.
By the end of this process, you should now have a logo design in black and white, vector format.
Once you have arrived at your chosen design in black and white, it’s now time to apply color.
It cannot be stressed enough how important color is to your logo design, so getting this correct is essential.
Because color is a strong factor in branding impression, additional tweaks or revisions may be required at this point.
Finalize your logo design and export for all file formats
Once you have successfully applied color and chosen your final logo design, it’s time to create the final file formats and color spaces.
You will want to create and save:
- the final native vector file so that you can always go back and edit if needed. This vector file should have:
- all layers named for easy identification, with text layers duplicated as converted to outline.
You’ll then need to export it as various file formats:
- jpg for web use
- png for web use with transparent background
- svg for web use with transparent background and sharpest display
- tif for print use
- pdf for web and print
- eps for high-resolution print/infinite scalability
and color spaces:
- RGB for web use
- CMYK for print use
- Pantone PMS for print use
This way, your native logo can be edited if needed, and the final output can be used for virtually anything – on the web, in high-resolution print, on apparel and signage, posters and billboards, and virtually any other output.
Your logo design process is now complete
Your logo and logomark are now complete, and you are ready to use them in your online and offline marketing material.
Should you hire a professional logo designer?
As aforementioned, a logo is one of the most important aspects of branding your business, and the process is not simply about choosing one or two fonts and pairing them with color and a piece of clipart.
Effective and successful logo design requires a deep dive into your company, background research, conceptualization, sketches, electronic revisions, fine-tuning, and then finally arriving at the perfect design.
A professional logo designer understands how to take your company’s unique value proposition, target audience, services, and products, and translate everything into a graphical representation that immediately conveys and converts.
Your company’s logo can be the first impression clients and customers have to determine whether or not they choose to do business with you.
It’s all in the details: colors, fonts, and design style, and every element you choose can determine the success or failure of your company’s logo design.
After reading this article, should you consider hiring a professional with experience, knowledge, and expertise to produce the best logo design for your company, contact Fat Cat Design.
Get a Free Review of Your Logo
If you’re struggling with your logo, your business brand, or not converting potential customers into sales, Fat Cat Design can provide you with a complimentary 30-minute logo review and audit.
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