How to Design the Perfect Logo
Filed under: Visual Design
April 26, 2018
As one of the first things many customers see, a logo has lots of responsibility. A good logo can make people stop and take interest, while a mediocre logo may keep customers moving in search of the right brand. As a logo designer, your job is to express a company’s identity within a simple, small image—it’s no easy task. Designing an effective logo takes skills in research, communication, problem solving, creative thinking, and, of course, design. To help, we’re sharing some important steps and tips for how to design a logo that will serve your client well.
1. Gather information
Start by collecting the details that will guide you on how to design a logo for this specific client, even if you’re designing a logo for yourself. Create a design brief that lists things like
- What the company/brand does
- Their core beliefs, values, and reason for existing
- Their target market
- Their competitors
- What makes the business unique
- Brand personality traits
- Brand guidelines or requirements for colors, fonts, etc.
- How they want customers to describe them
The brief should also describe the logo’s primary purpose. Ask questions like, what does the client hope to achieve with the logo? What should it convey? Where will it be used? (Different uses may require different versions of the logo.)
2. Find inspiration
Inspiration for how to design a logo can be found in other logos or graphic designs, in items or topics related to the business, or in current design trends. A mood board is a great way to collect different colors, elements, and aesthetics you like and see how they interact. Mind mapping or brainstorming can also help get ideas on paper.
Researching the client’s competitors, overall industry, and customers can offer inspiration as well for how to design a logo. Think about what makes the client unique and how the logo could reflect those differences. Consider what elements might resonate strongest with customers, ruling out aesthetics that seem off. The brand might have a classic feel or a quirky vibe, but it probably won’t have both. At this stage, you can even ask others from the business or target market for ideas.
Once you’re feeling inspired, it’s time to start sketching and combining the aesthetics and elements that you’re drawn to and that match the brand personality. Maybe something with a vintage or handcrafted feel? Perhaps a more modern lettermark? A fun mascot or a strong symbolic emblem? Try out high-level concepts on paper but don’t worry about the details yet. Whatever you do, don’t erase or throw anything out. Upon further reflection, a “throw-away” design may spark another idea or reveal an aspect worth saving.
After you’ve picked the top possibilities, recreate them on your computer as vectors, experimenting with different fonts and colors (if your brand guidelines give you that freedom).
4. Apply logo design best practices
As you develop your favorite ideas, keep in mind best practices for how to design a logo. Remember, logos must be versatile and scalable so they can work for a variety of purposes. They should be simple, memorable, and immediately recognizable. A logo should tell a story about the business, ideally with both an obvious meaning and something subtler.
Consider things like the negative space in and around your logo, and what your colors symbolize or suggest. For fonts, create your own or use something existing, but make it readable and not too gimmicky. Custom fonts can be great, but only if done well. Incorporating a sense of movement can often improve a logo, whether that’s done through colors and tones, imagery, size differentials, placement, or rotation.
Finally, think about how to design a logo that’s timeless. Trends are useful for inspiration but you don’t want a logo that will look dated and need to be redone within a couple years.
5. Use feedback to refine your design
Getting feedback as you work from both the business and your target audience is essential, first to confirm that you’re heading in the right direction and then to refine your design. To get valuable input, ask specific questions about what the logo conveys, whether it’s readable, recognizable, and memorable, and how it makes them feel about the company. Use their answers to keep iterating on your design.
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