Do you want to start building your brand’s visual identity and hiring a designer isn’t an option for you, we are here to walk you through it. We asked three designers with a combined 15+ years of experience to share with us how they design a logo.
What they said may surprise you!
What is a logo?
A logo is a symbol or design that is used to identify a company or startup, as well as the branding and marketing of its products, services, employees, etc. The simplest definition identifies a logo. This is how your company is recognized and remembered among other companies. It also serves as the face or identity of your business. Your logo can be an advantage to give a statement about your company. Take Amazon, for example. The emoticon icon indicates that the corporate sells everything from “A-Z” and conjointly represents how happy they’re once shopping for customers.
Most organizations confused about deciding on a logo are simply asking too much about it. Most of our designers agree that most people put too much stock on the logo (for the purpose of nerdy design pun). So you must remember that a logo can play an important role, but it is not everything.
A logo isn’t:
- Your brand
This is a standard conflation, however your brand isn’t your complete. And your complete isn’t your brand. Your completeness is intangible; it’s your reputation—what individuals consider once they hear your name, what they tell others regarding you and the way you create them. Your complete is constructed from one thousand touchpoints along with your customers—not from a brand.
- Your visual identity
When new firms or organizations request a brand, a decent designer can say, “You don’t simply want a brand, you would like a complete identity.” Logos are a part of the image, however they’re not the whole issue. They’re only one image at intervals, a bigger sensory system that has your colours, typography, photography, visuals, layout, etc.
- An indicator of success
Your brand isn’t progressing to create or break your business. Enron’s brand was smart, however the company’s ethic wasn’t. Two men and a truck could be a billion-dollar company, and its brand could be a drawing designed on the founder’s mother’s napkin. The simplest brand within the world can’t save a corrupt business, nor will the worst brand hold back an honest one.
Now that we’re clear on what a logo can and can’t do, let’s begin the design method.
How to design a logo
Here are two things to stay in mind as we tend to dive in:
- Design is a lot of strategy. Yes, you may need to produce one thing visually for some purpose. however the lion’s share of the work is strategic, particularly at the start. Be ready to try additional thinking and decision-making than drawing.
- You’re not just designing a logo. keep in mind that the emblem is simply a part of a bigger sensory system, and its individual items all got to work along.
To do this right, you’ll want to work in phases. While every designer’s process looks different, the one we’re going to guide you through has five phases:
Every section has its goal, method and deliverable. We’ll define why every section is very important, the series of actions or steps you would like to require, and therefore the final deliverable you’re operating toward—which you’ll want for consecutive sections.
Stage One: Discover
The discovery part is the “question” part. Designers use now to tease out the maximum amount context and background as attainable to completely perceive their client’s company or organization, its values, business, complete attributes, etc. this can be conjointly the time to create preliminary style questions about the required look and feel, all attainable use-cases and any must-haves or special requests.
For you, this may be an addition to the uncovering part. Your goal is to possess a solid understanding of the World Health Organization your company/organization is, what you think in, what you wish to accomplish and the way you wish to induce there.Remember, you’re not just designing a logo. You’re shaping your complete identity.
- Why do you want and/or need a new logo? What’s the catalyst for this design?
- What is the meaning/story behind your company name?
- Who are your target audiences?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What are your goals for this new logo? How will “success” be measured?
- Who are your 3-5 top brand “role models?” Who’s look and feel do you admire?
- What do you want people to feel when they see your logo?
- What are the values you wish your brand to express?
- What are the unique characteristics of your brand’s personality?
- For example: Is your brand refined, curious, nostalgic, vibrant, etc?
- What will be the main use-cases of the logo/visual system? Social? Website? T-shirts?
- Context matters!
- Any special requests or must-haves included in the design? If a visual refresh, anything to maintain from the previous iteration?
After you answer this question, you will summarize the answers in a creative way that provides a general overview of your business. You can include: your intentions for the design process, the tone of your brand, visual consideration and a preliminary vision for the design system and logo, including any theme at this stage.
You will not only use this strategy document to point out your next steps, you will use it to judge your success throughout the process. At the end of each episode, evaluate your deliverables to see how well they fit into the established approach to creative strategy. When personal opinions and choices inevitably arise, there is a purpose to return to this document.
Stage Two: Explore
This is the stage of your research, but the “search” seems more exciting. And that is, we promise. The exploration episode can be the most fun and – if anyone is starting this design process alone and perhaps for the first time – the most helpful.
Basically, you will explore to focus on the outside and design the world. Double your goal here: get educated and be inspired.
Get started by Google the basic design principles. Read the basics like style, color and typography.
Our designers have mentioned that some principles of color theory can be especially helpful for logo design. Different colors evoke different emotions and behaviors, helping you to create the desired emotional response from your audience. It’s a really interesting thing,
For example, blue inspires trust, dependability and authority. It’s no coincidence that blue is a popular choice for banks, credit cards and software. Green evokes feelings of peace, growth and health. Companies like Whole Foods and BP use green in their branding to strategically communicate a level of care for the planet.
Discover which color will elicit the feelings you want from your audience.
Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, start gathering intel. Look first to your immediate competitors, then to your broader industry. Don’t just look at logos. Experience the entire visual system by observing brands across multiple channels, ie. website, different social media networks, etc. Take notes. What elements stand out to you, both good and bad?
Create a mood board to collect all the images, designs, color combinations, photos, illustrations and yes, logos, you felt drawn to, and represent the look and feel you want for your brand identity.
If you’re feeling crafty, you can create an actual board by cutting and pasting printed images. But most designers keep it digital. The easiest way to collect is Pinterest, but if you need to share/review easily, just copy and paste your images into a document.
If you’re drawn to several design directions, create separate mood boards for each. Be sure to include short descriptions about how each board’s visual choices express the brand attributes detailed in your creative strategy. Ideally, you’d present these boards to other members of your team or to a decision-maker, and they’d help you narrow down to one direction.
Stage Three: Design
Finally! The goal here is pretty straightforward: Take all the concerns and inputs from the primary two phases and begin generating some brand styles.
There’s a great deal to contemplate once approaching the way to style a logo:
Before you begin, certify you’ve got what you’ll ought to design:
Pencil and paper
Sketching some preliminary concepts could be an excellent spot. Don’t over-complicate this. style is an associate reiterative method. Though you think that you can’t draw, produce rough sketches of the concepts in your head. Your brain is going to be forced to assume creatively—which is strictly the mental attitude you would like.
Vector graphic design software
The industry standard for vector graphics editing software is Adobe Illustrator-but it doesn’t come cheap and isn’t necessarily novice-friendly. You could try out similar free tools like Inkscape and Vectr.
Why vector? All logos are unit vector pictures, that means that rather than pixels, they’re created from lines outlined by mathematical formulas. Vectors are easier to change and scale.
If you go the above route, you may want to look into downloading some additional fonts. Free font resources include the Google Fonts library and Font Squirrel. You can also purchase fonts at sites like MyFonts and FontShop.
Free logo design tools
If you’re short on time, cash and style skills, there are lots of on-line tools which will get the work done. Most of those sites provide customizable templates, which might be the quickest thanks to producing a brand that appears skilled. simply detain your mind, you run the danger of sacrificing originality.
One last thought is that whereas the subsequent tools are unit free, you’ll have to be compelled to purchase the ultimate, ascendible vector file to transfer.
Top 5 online logo design tools:
Types of logos
Whether you decide to style your brand from scratch or use a model, an honest start line is to inform yourself with the seven kinds of logos:
Some brands haven’t any printed symbol and choose instead to position their company or organization name front and center. during this case, typography is everything. no matter your font selection, it’s to be clean.
Also called “pictorial marks,” the whole marks area unit the printed symbol in a very brand. These symbols are sometimes recognizable and make an instantaneous association within the minds of your audience. For instance, a tooth for a dental practitioner, mountains for an out of doors company, etc.
You’ll ought to combine a whole mark together with your company or organization name within the starting. however once time, the image alone may function as a robust, visual shorthand for a well known whole.
This type of brand combines each a logo and a wordmark, making the additional ancient brand “lock-up” we’re all conversant in. mess around with the location of every component till you discover a layout you wish. you’ll conjointly afford completely different mixtures of the two in sure contexts, that we’ll cowl within the “Define” part.
Abstract logo mark
As their name suggests, abstract brand marks area unit less recognizable and frequently additional geometric. They’re nice once you wish one thing utterly distinctive to your whole. Again, we tend to powerfully advise pairing these images together with your company or organization name till you’ve engineered enough whole recognition to let your symbol go solo.
A letter mark, conjointly referred to as a “monogram” brand, is nice if your name is long or gawky. you’ll like better to either abbreviate your name or simply use your initials. Typography is simply as necessary in a very letter mark because it is in a very word mark. Luckily, with fewer letters and fewer worries regarding legibility, you’ll use additional inventive styling.
Depending on your whole temperament, a being might be fun. Plus, they’re more versatile than your commonplace image as a result of their expressions and contexts will be modified. simply take care to use a mode that aligns with the message and feeling you wish to speak. If you’re going for an additional serious ambience, mascots aren’t a good selection.
Emblem logos embrace text within a logo. Emblems, conjointly called “crests,” are around for an extended time and might communicate tradition and status.
If you decide you want a symbol in your logo—whether ancient or abstract—you may have to be compelled to do some group action. Here ar a number of tips from our designers to form a logo that’s right for your brand:
- Make connections. take into account your company or organization’s name, and write down several connected words you’ll be able to think about. exploitation Sprout as an associate degree example, we’d write words like grow, garden, tree, forest, leaves, branches, greenhouse, etc. These words put forward their own set of pictures that might all be viable decisions for a whole mark.
- Think figuratively. this can be wherever the queries within the “Discover” part inherit play. Referring back to our Amazon example, the smile represents however happy and happy Amazon shoppers are. take into account however you wish your audience to feel, or what message you wish to convey. Are there any symbols that come back to mind?
- Go literal. whereas our designers cautioned against going with the foremost obvious alternative, you’ll be able to still take into account an interpretation of your whole message. simply don’t be afraid to mess around with it. place a singular spin thereon. attempt combining a literal image with one thing a lot of figurative.
- Get weird. At this stage, there are not any rules. suppose as way outside the box as you wish. Because the speech goes, that’s usually wherever the magic happens. Don’t question if one thing is sensible. It might be the key that unlocks the winning plan.
- Generate, evaluate, repeat. Generate, evaluate, repeat. try this over and over as you wish to slender down your choices. Most designers undergo multiple rounds before they get to the nice stuff. Iteration is the name of the sport. And don’t forget to faucet an acquaintance for ease. typically you simply would like recent eyes to urge you unstuck.
If you choose to travel with a word mark or letter mark, keep in mind however necessary typography is. just like colours, completely different|completely different} fonts elicit different interpretations of your whole temperament.
There are countless font types, but they all fall into one of three families (also called typefaces): serifs, sans serifs and script.
Serif fonts have tiny lines or strokes hooked up to the top of the larger strokes in an exceedingly large letter or image. These fonts are classic and might be a decent alternative after you need to speak trust, tradition and class.
Sans serif fonts
These ar fonts that don’t have any serifs hooked up to the letters. The result’s a crisp, clean line that appears sleek and trendy. Helvetica fonts ar the popular font family for digital as a result of they’re easier to scan. If you’re going for a minimalist style, Helvetica fonts ar the thanks to go.
Script fonts mimic cursive handwriting, making the impact of a signature. They usually feel a lot authentic and original.
Now that you just have all the knowledge for a way to style a brand, don’t forget: generate, evaluate, repeat.
You should find yourself with a minimum of one brand style to judge. It’s additionally common at this stage to possess 2 or 3 logos to decide on between. within the next part, we’ll get into a lot of detail concerning a way to measure your styles.
Stage Four: Refine
If you complete the last part with many totally different choices, now’s the time to slim down. have already got a final choice? Great! Let’s place it to the check.
Evaluate your styles by asking yourself these questions:
What makes an excellent logo?
A great logo is:
Where will you use this logo?
Consider each your primary use-cases—like your web site or social media profiles—as well as your secondary use cases, like written promoting materials, achievement and event banners, etc.
Don’t stop at concerns. Mock it informs the varied backgrounds to create positive images, words and overall message to translate across each medium. Any emblem mark ought to be effective at several sizes, but small, digital applications square measure important.
Does the logo have legs?
Aesthetics modification. Trends come back and go. however the worth of your emblem can solely get stronger as time goes on. take into account whether or not or not you see your emblem lasting you five, 10, 15, even twenty years from currently.
Also, take into account the brand within the context of your entire visual identity. This would possibly ought to be a further exercise. Take the varied components of your emblem style, like colours, fonts and designs, and see however you would possibly be able to incorporate them elsewhere in your use-cases.
Finally—and one in every one of our designers was quite emphatic concerning this—make a single-color, black and white version of your emblem and make certain it will be reversed on dark colours. If you don’t, you’ll be sign language yourself up for bother within the future.
By now, you must have a final emblem style you’re keen on. And presumably, it took you a good quantity of your time to induce each part well. Our fifth and final part can assist you guarantee it stays that manner.
Stage Five: Define
When it involves maintaining the integrity of your whole identity, quality and consistency area unit key. Given the quantity of places your brand can live—and the quantity of individuals United Nations agencies may have to use—it’s vital to outline a collection of rules and tips for the way to treat your brand.
And how to not.
To start, regarding|contemplate|take into account} any tips you’ll have about your logo’s size, color, layout, treatment, positioning, orientation, etc.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Are there only certain color backgrounds your logo should be placed against?
- Can your logo be used on top of photography? If so, can you change the color to help it pop?
- If you have a combination logo mark, can the elements be separated in certain contexts?
To ensure your brand maintains a powerful impact, don’t be afraid to incorporate some “never” rules to discourage any modifications or distortions to your brand. Otherwise, you’ll finish up with a holiday-colored brand on the associate email that went bent on all 10k of your customers.
This is typically said as a mode guide. a mode guide may be as easy or comprehensive as you would like. Recently, Sprout’s style Systems team designed a complete web site dedicated to our vogue guide. It’s referred to as Seeds, and it homes all of our whole, writing and visual tips, still as all the patterns and parts our product designers ought to build our app.
But you don’t have to be compelled to build a different web site to deal with your whole standards. simply certify they’re properly communicated to your groups and area units simply accessible to everybody. Most designers produce a pdf and share it on their company or organization’s internal resource library.
After all of that, you might be saying, “Wow, that’s tons.” we all know however you are feeling. we tend to weren’t exaggerate after we mentioned what quantity work goes into coming up with an emblem. Designers usually take weeks to figure through all the phases. Therefore our last piece of recommendation is this: Don’t rush. Take the time to travel through the exercises we tend to make public in every section. Your final style can replicate the amount of effort you place toward it.
And bear in mind, at the tip of the day, your emblem doesn’t build your brand-your individuals do.