The 3 Steps to Nailing Your Logo Design
Updated: Jan 22
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The #2 thing clients tell me all the time?"I LOVE MY LOGO! I'll never change it!"
"I HATE MY LOGO! I need a new one, like, yesterday!"
How can there be this great divide, you ask? Well-- a lot goes into it: typical likes/dislikes of leadership, public and internal perception, overall effectiveness, deep emotional attachments, and a lot more.
If you were to search on Google for "logo design tips", you would be met with millions of search results -- as well as millions of opinions therein!
But since this topic comes up with our clients so frequently, we wanted to put together our thoughts to help point you in the right direction-- whether you are conducting an audit on your current logo, or are thinking about having a new logo created.
Ever heard this saying?
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur."
By considering the topics listed below, you are sure to nail it THE FIRST TIME!
Let's get started... The 3 Steps to a Killer Logo!
#1 • CONSIDER PHILOSOPHY + PURPOSE
What is the meaning of your logo? What is the purpose of it? And, perhaps most important: What do you want people to feel when they see it?
Here are a few things to consider:
Have you asked partners / employees / friends / family / customers / focus groups their opinions on your logo? Let's face it -- sometimes our instincts are off-base. Asking other trusted individuals can help you make an informed decision of where to go.
Does your logo accurately hint (visually) of who you are and/or what you do? Sure, it's great to have a "pretty" brand, but does it also touch on what kind of business you run?
Do you include a tagline? This is a matter of preference, but InkbotDesign.com has some great tips and research on this topic.
Does it speak to your ideal client? This is becoming more of a standard within the marketing and design industries. Firstly, identifying who your ideal customer is; and, secondly, tailoring your marketing and branding to speak directly to that person.
What adjectives/emotions do you feel when looking at it? Does it make you feel happy? Anxious? Peaceful? Energetic? Hungry? Tired? Do those adjectives and feelings align with what you want your brand to represent? Spend some time thinking on what it *does* make you feel vs. what it *should* make you feel.
Does it help or harm the level of professionalism you're striving for? And this goes beyond just having a professional designer create your logo. What I mean is, does the logo work in your benefit for making your business appear more (or less) professional? If you are trying to convey high-end goods and a luxury experience, perhaps Comic Sans is not the right font choice! :)
Is it original and memorable? Would it stand out from a crowd of other logos in your industry? Would you remember it?
#2 • CONSIDER TECHNICAL + DESIGN ELEMENTS
Are your colors complimentary? It may seem obvious, but I can't tell you how many logos I've seen where the colors simply do not compliment each other and can actually make the eye vibrate. You want to ensure that whichever hues you choose can live together harmoniously.
Be sure to think about scalability/readability (re: size). Your logo (and the fonts included, if any) may look awesome on a billboard or your storefront sign, but will they be scalable to be read just as clear even when printed super-small on a business card or other promotional item? Some thinner or more script-based fonts become very illegible when they are reduced in size.
Will it also work in black and white? It's a good idea to make sure it does, because you never know when your logo will need to be used within the constraints of black and white, and/or grayscale. The best logos will work whether they are in color or not.
Speaking of never knowing -- don't get stuck with only one layout orientation! You want to make sure you create horizontal and vertical variations of your logo, so that no matter the specs or application, you have a logo option that will work.
Be sure that your logo is available in a variety of formats: .png, .pdf, .eps, .jpg, .tiff, .svg, .ai are a few examples of formats often used.
Make sure you have high-resolution files of your logo so that it always looks crisp and clean on print materials. You don't want to put in all the effort of creating a logo for your brand, and having it look blurry and pixelated on your materials! For the best clarity and most professional look on printed items, your logo should be created at a resolution of at least 300dpi. DPI means "dots per inch", so the higher the number of DPI, the less pixelated your logo will be.
#3 • CONSIDER USAGE + CONSISTENCY STANDARDS
First and foremost, what assets will your logo need to live on? Create a list of all the items (tangible, printed items, as well as digital) where your logo will have real estate. Here are some examples for inspiration: business cards, signage, letterhead, Facebook cover photo, social media graphics, merchandise, website usage, email templates, print ads, promotional materials, apps, etc.
Are you using your logo consistently across all tangible and virtual business/marketing collateral and online presence as mentioned above? For example, does your team know to never place a border around your logo? Is your logo cropped strangely on one social media account, and stretched out weirdly on a promotional postcard? Try your best to be consistent with usage and placement. It matters.
Do you have approved brand colors/fonts? If so, are you using them in other supporting collateral to establish a cohesive look/feel for any and all applications?
Have you thought about expanding on your logo to create a suite of additional branded images/options and extended elements as needed? For example: maybe you operate a smoothie truck, and your logo includes fruit. Perhaps it would be a fun idea to create a repeat pattern out of that fruit from your logo, and use it as the background of your website -- or even wrap your truck with it!
Consider having a style guide created. This is a very helpful document that details all usage standards for your logo, to ensure that your branding guidelines are always being followed when you hand off a design project to your designer, web developers, or publication you may be advertising with. It also includes other important information such as: fonts, color codes, proper size and placement of elements (such as margins), proper color use, photography guidelines, and more.
Lastly: Are you keeping your logo (and other branding elements) in a safe and locatable spot, so you can easily make it available to designers and others when needed? This makes life easier for all parties!
I hope this article has inspired you, and has your wheels turning! I know it can seem like a lot to take in, but now you can create a more streamlined process before starting your logo design (or logo refresh) process.
And don't forget: if you're still feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out! If you're just too swamped, we can manage everything! To learn more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, don't forget: to find out how effective your logo is, click here to take our quiz!
PS: Rules can always be broken-- just try to make sure it's for a reason! :-)