Whether you’re just getting started in design or you want to create a symbol for your business, there are several things you should keep in mind when considering how to design a logo. Have you ever seen one that didn’t really reflect the personality of the company? There is more to creating a logo than just throwing some elements together and hoping they mesh well. Logos reflect a brand’s character, but in a very limited space. The condensed nature means every single aspect is important to the message.
About 67 percent of business owners say they’d pay around $500 for a good design. Companies understand the power of a logo and how it ties into brand recognition. Think about some of the places you do business with regularly and their logo likely comes to mind. McDonald’s has the golden arches, Coca-Cola has a red circle with white letters and Nike has its distinctive swoosh. The creators of these images understood how to design a logo to grab user attention.
There are several steps in how to design a logo. Skip any of them, and you risk one that is basic at best and a complete failure at worst. Follow these steps and your likelihood of success is much higher. We’ll also look at some tools to help you along the way.
Step No. 1: Understand Your Brand
It’s impossible to create a logo for a brand you don’t really understand. Get down to the core of the company you’re designing for, whether it’s your own or a client’s. What are the principles of the business, and what difference does it make in the world? The answer might be as simple as providing a service that makes lives easier.
Do an inventory of the brand and see what images and colors are already in use. For example, if the company website has always used a soft blue, you’ll want to incorporate that shade into the design in some way, even if only as an accent color. Unless the image isn’t working, there is no point in completely reinventing how people already see the business.
Step No. 2: Study the Competition
Your next step before even thinking about a concept is to thoroughly study the business’s direct competitors. You don’t want a logo that looks too much like another. Instead, try to choose different colors and symbols. Mix things up as much as possible while still staying within industry standards. If you run a home construction company, you’ll want something that signals you work on homes in some way. However, there is no rule you have to use the same old rooftop design most other companies use.
Step No. 3: Know the Traits
Understand the traits of good logo design. Your logo identifies your brand with consumers, so incorporate elements such as custom type and creative use of white space. Spend time studying some of the better designs out there to get a feel for what’s been done well. Figure out how you can improve on it and come up with something that uniquely represents that business.
Step No. 4: Create a Concept
Once you’ve done the research, it’s time to come up with a concept for your logo. Start by brainstorming some ideas. Clusters are a great way to do this on paper. Write a single word that represents the business, such as “houses,” and then draw lines with additional circles and start writing whatever word comes to mind as quickly as possible. Keep going until your ideas are exhausted and then see what you’ve come up with. Instead of a roof, you might have “door,” “hammer” or “window.”
Pull together the best ideas and compare them to the brand mission statement. You should quickly come up with a concept that works for your business or your client.
Step No. 5: Choose Colors
Your brand may already have a color palette in place. If so, then half your work is completed and you only have to figure out which shades are dominant and how you want to use them in your logo design. If you don’t have a palette, then try to choose colors based on the emotions they evoke in the user. A deep blue may bring on feelings of trust and reliability and is a favorite of both men and women, for example. However, you must also pay attention to what competitors use and differentiate yourself.
Step No. 6: Offer Mockups
Sketch out your design on paper or the computer and create mockups. If you’re on a tight budget, you can use a tool such as Canva to create a concept from templates already offered there. Just make sure you add some unique elements to make it your own. Photoshop and Illustrator are tools designers often use in how to design a logo, but there is a learning curve with those programs. Fortunately, there are also numerous tutorials and videos online that help newer designers learn the basics.
Step No. 7: Refine the Design
Your final step is refining the design. Add some detail here and there, change out colors, and keep working on the sizing and spacing until you’re happy with the aesthetics. If you’re working with a client, get feedback on any elements that still need improving. If you’re designing the logo for your own business, get feedback from some of your top customers and seek help from employees. The more eyes you have on the design, the better it will be in the end.
Keep Things Simple
Figuring out how to design a logo doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. Pay attention to small points and keep working on the design until you have something evergreen enough to use for years to come. Once you understand your business and your audience, coming up with a concept that shows them who you are as a brand isn’t as tricky as it sounds. However, the finished product is important because consumers relate the logo to you and come to know you by the image presented there. Keep things simple but focused, and you can’t go wrong.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dog, Bear.