How to create an attractive and meaningful logo for your company that will last.
We’ve already talked about how your brand is more than your logo. But logos are a significant and meaningful way of communicating your brand to the rest of the world. Your logo will appear on your products and signage, your website, your company business cards, on print materials, and on digital advertisements. It will be the symbol that represents your brand in the minds of your customers. As such, you want to make sure it communicates the right message.
Crafting such a symbol is more difficult than you might think. Many organizations find themselves quickly bogged down in the details, unsure which changes will bring them a step closer to a logo that reflects their brand, and this will lead to a muddled design. If your company is in the process of redesigning your logo, here are a few tips to help you find a design you’re proud of.
1. Develop a logo that reflects the character of the brand.
Your logo should communicate something about the essence of who you are as a brand. Many logos draw on symbols to help emphasize a brand promise. Think about Amazon’s famous “smile” logo.
The golden arrow communicates happiness while also signaling the speed at which Amazon will deliver packages from A to Z.
FedEx plays a similar game with their logo, as the white space between the capital “E” and the lowercase “x” forms an arrow.
Other famous logo symbols include the Nike swish, which also looks like a check mark, the Domino’s domino, which looks like an open pizza box, and Target’s target, which is pretty self-explanatory.
2. Color matters.
Successful logos play on our psychology, and one of the most successful ways they do so is through color. Color communicates meaning and feeling. Blue suggests strength or security. Green indicates growth or freshness. Yellow and orange communicates warmth and a human touch. Red signals energy or alert, and gold depicts assurance and trustworthiness.
With so many different meanings, it makes sense that too many colors in one logo can start to send a mixed message. Beyond that, a good logo design is relatively compact. The more colors, the more visual confusion. As a rule of thumb, it is best to limit logo colors to no more than three in one design.
3. The logo must work in many applications.
Your logo will appear in both print and digital formats, on your business card, on your website, on banners, in video, on apparel, in black and white or in full color, both very small and very big. Your logo must look the same across each of these applications, but the more complex it is, the harder that will be.
Take color, for instance: Print colors appear differently depending on the lighting. The same logo will look slightly different under fluorescent light as opposed to daylight. The same is true of computers. Monitors and web browsers will display slightly different colors. The more colors you include in your logo, the more variables you enter into the equation.
Now let’s go back to the question of large versus small. Few logos suffer from being too simple. However, a great many logos run into problems when they become too complex. When these logos are shrunken down to a smaller size, many of those details become lost. The same can be said of black and white variations of a color logo. Test your logo design for each of these applications to make sure it will display properly.
4. Your name and your mark will not always appear together.
Think about the Nike logo shown above. You know that logo well enough that you recognize it as just a swish, even without the Nike name attached. Your brand mark should be similarly independent of your brand name. If you need both together for them to make sense, then you will lose versatility and only complicate future design decisions.
5. You need to like it.
The decisions you and your team make about your logo will generate a strong reflection of your brand. This means they must be based on more than just your personal preferences. You may not like the color yellow; but if your company produces sunflower seeds, you may not have a choice about including it in your logo.
That said, your logo should be something your team is proud of…one that inspires them. At the end of the day, “I don’t like it” is a valid reason to keep working on your logo design. However, as you go back to the drawing board, continue to draw upon the design principles we listed so you can ultimately land on a design that works for you and your company.
Give your logo the attention it deserves.
Many of us have heard stories about the founders of a famous brand sketching their iconic logo on the back of a napkin in a burst of inspiration. But while these stories have some truth to them (several famous logos were sketched on napkins), there’s a key fact that sometimes gets overlooked: it’s not the founders that do the sketching, but the designers.
Creating a timeless logo requires thoughtfulness and insight. Those bursts of inspiration don’t come from nowhere, but are the result of years of experience. Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to your logo design. Give it some TLC, and trust your designers when they share their hard-won professional insight into elements that will or won’t work on the design.