While some logos may look simple, the process of getting the perfect icon typography combo takes a lot of time, thought, tweaking, and trial and error. Every new designer is in the pursuit of creating that perfect logo to represent their unique design style. To help with this process, we've created a breakdown of what makes a great logo and how to accomplish this.
A couple of other useful resources you'll wan to check out are 101 Essential Online Resources for Graphic Designers and Five Place to Boost Your Creativity Other than Pinterest.
Research, Strategize & Brainstorm
A show stopping logo won't come in a matter of a couple hours. The first step is to be open to all of your own ideas and interpretations. Seek different resources for inspiration, concept ideas and style, both online and offline.
Comparing Your Design to the Competitors
When starting the logo design process it's important to look at what's already been done. A designers worst nightmare is creating a logo that resembles another. This can be easily avoided through extensive research and the analyses of other logos.
Researching your competitors will allow your logo to standout. Once you've seen what's out there, you can design your logo to overpower the competition. You'll want to draw inspiration from aspects of your competitors' logos that relate to the target market, although the best logos think differently and contrast trends.
Exhaust All Options
Now that you've gained a solid understanding of what's already out there, it's time to start sketching! Grab your sketchbook and draw out anything and everything that comes to mind. Think of the brand concept and what you want to convey through this logo. How do you want people to feel when they look at it? Does it convey your brand's personality? It's easy to get stuck on one idea and keep illustrating slightly different versions of this, although we suggest that each sketch is different.
After you've drawn out everything you can think of, it's time to narrow it down to your top 3. From there you can continue to tweak and iterate until you've found your favorite. This process is an important step to assure you've looked into every possibility and what you've chosen is the best.
The Logo is Part of a Bigger Thing
It's important to remember that branding consists of more than just a logo. With this in mind, you'll want to think about how the logo interacts with the rest of the brand experience. Take into account, the website, packaging, signage and stationary. When someone discovers a new brand, the logo is not necessarily the first aspect they'll encounter as all customer touch points are equally important including your website, social media, and customer interactions through phone and email.
Icon & Symbolism
When used properly, an icon in a logo can help convey your brand's story and be memorable. An icon may be simple, although there are many aspects to take into consideration when designing. We've laid them out below for you.
Is It Memorable?
This is a question every designer should ask themselves when designing a logo. There's a video on Youtube of a 5 year old expressing their first impressions of famous logos. This video emphasizes which brands have successfully created a memorable logo, that even a 5 year old recognizes.
When designing a logo, you want to think to yourself, "If someone looked at this logo, then looked away would they be able to draw it from memory?" Of course, the drawing won't be perfect, but will they be able to convey the general shape.
Is It Timeless?
When designing your logo, you want to avoid being sucked into any design trends that could be replaced within a year. Your logo should be effective for at least 5 years so you'll want to consider how times will change and if your logo will last through these changes.
We suggest researching examples of logos that are and aren't timeless and the aspects of each. Overall, think of how much time you put into designing your logo. You don't want to be doing this every couple of years.
Test it Out in All Sizes
A logo can be placed anywhere from a large billboard to pens and envelopes. This means it must work and be powerful in all sizes. Most logos will work large, although it's the small areas like on pens that will be challenging. The best way to double check this is to print the logo out small. Based on the print you can refine the logo so even the smallest details will be seen when printed on smaller items such as stationery or business cards.
The most effective logos will take 2-3 messages and wrap it up into one. Think of the 3 most important values of your brand and how this can be conveyed through an icon.
Having multiple meanings in your logo will add interest and give it the "ohhhhh!" factor. This is another great way to make the logo memorable. People will be talking about a logo that cleverly combines 3 aspects into one beautiful symbol.
If you're stuck on how to do this, we suggest playing around with the negative space. You could use these areas to create a shape that will stand out and highlight your message.
Always Get a Second Opinion
One of the scariest aspects about creating a logo is the potential for it to be misinterpreted as something that looks inappropriate. Once the logo is complete, you want to triple check that it isn't offensive to anyone.
This is where your friends and family can be extremely useful. You may have looked at this thing a million times, but a fresh set of eyes will see something that totally flew over your head. Better safe than sorry!
The word mark can be easily forgotten, although it is equally as important as the icon. Text is another opportunity to slip in your message and make the overall logo a memorable one. Although you may be exhausted after creating your perfect icon, it's important to spend time tweaking the word mark as well. We've added some helpful tips on creating an eye catching word mark.
Tweak the Typeface
Once you've scoured the internet for the perfect typeface, don't be scared to play with the letters and make it your own. We suggest adding character to the text rather than simply downloading a typeface, typing out your brand name and calling it a day.
The best logos will have a word mark that they've added personality to and convey a solid meaning that reflects the brand.
Consider Hand Lettering
Can't find what you're looking for online? Why not draw it out yourself? Often times you may have a specific style of lettering in mind and the best way to express this is through your own hand lettering.
Hand lettered word marks are no doubt unique and won't be found in any other logo. This is a great way to reassure your brand will stand out from it's competitors.
Tracking & Kerning
Setting up type perfectly can be tedious, but in the end it's worth it to create an eye pleasing word mark. It's important to take the time to adjust the space between each letter. The word mark should read smooth and seamlessly. After all, this text will be everywhere so you want the typesetting to be perfect.
Your color scheme can play a huge role in conveying your brand's message. Color is a great opportunity to add feeling to your logo and persuade the viewer's emotions. It's important to explore all color schemes and narrow it down to the most effective combo.
Understand the Color Wheel
This may be something you learned in kindergarten and now it will come in handy! When designing your logo, you'll want to take into account complimentary, triadic, split complimentary and tetradic color schemes. There are many great color scheme resources out there that we've listed in our 101 Essential Resources for Graphic Designers blog post.
Be patient when deciding on a color scheme since it could take longer than anticipated. Once you've got it, you'll know and will be stoked to show it off.
Use Colors to Control Moods
Whether you realize it or not each color subconsciously affects your mood and conveys an emotion. To understand the meaning behind colors, you can research into each color and how it effects our feelings.
Once you're knowledgeable on the topic, it will be easier to pick the perfect color or colors for you logo and branding.
Test Out Your Logo in Black and White and Full Color
Your logo will be placed on all different color backgrounds, whether that be dark or light. It's important to have a logo that is equally as powerful in black and white as it is in color.
Ask yourself if your message can be conveyed through the symbolism and shape alone. Although color is another important layer in communicating your brand's message, your logo and word mark need to be strong and relatable to your audience even without the use of it.