How to Design an Effective Logo
It graces every storefront. It’s displayed prominently at the top of every website. It appears on promotional materials, advertising, and products. It provides visual representation of a brand, for the entire world to see. What is it?
We are surrounded by logos all day, every day. They offer a first impression of a company and serve the purpose of instantaneous brand recognition. However, the importance of good logo design is frequently underestimated by business owners, and such an oversight can cause a brand to suffer.
First Impressions Matter
A good logo will be extremely valuable to your brand and inspire confidence in your business. It can serve to draw customers in, or pique the interest of prospective new clients. By the same token, a bad logo can do irreversible harm, as poor design casts doubt on your decision making and quality control. Logos can form powerful positive or negative associations in the minds of the public, making your logo an integral part of your branding. Approach its design accordingly.
Designing Your Logo
Where to start with logo creation? Whether you have access to a professional designer, or are planning to do it yourself, keep in mind the following basic principles. Your logo should be:
- Simple, but recognizable
- Relevant to your brand
- Reproducible at any size, on a variety of background colors and materials
First of all, although you may be tempted to save time by using them, stay away from stock images and clip art. These can be spotted very easily and make you look like an amateur. In addition, be very careful when looking at others’ logos for inspiration, and be sure not to plagiarize. Remember, logos are about immediate recognition, and if your logo looks too similar to someone else’s property, people will notice. The following steps will help you to design a logo that works for your brand and is uniquely yours.
Creating a Concept
Start by sketching out some ideas. If at all possible, your logo should immediately communicate what your business is about. Capture the sense of what your company does without being too literal or too detailed. Aim for clarity: silhouettes work very well as a starting point or even a complete design. The viewer should be able to quickly identify what the logo depicts.
You have many options for including text. You can make your brand’s name part of the design itself, simply position it next to the logo, or alternately, start with the text alone and create the logo based on it. Depending on the name of your brand, you may be tempted to make a visual pun, but remember that such imagery can be confusing. This becomes doubly important when doing business internationally, as your logo will need to make sense regardless of country or language.
Refining Your Design
Once you’ve arrived at a basic design, work on refining it with simplicity as your goal. If you’re using text, try moving it to different locations to see where it looks the best. Your font choice is very important, so stay away from silly or overly gaudy typefaces. Stick to classic, timeless fonts that work for your brand, and don’t use more than two.
It’s also important to get feedback from others while arriving at a design. What seems clear to you may not be so for others, and you also don’t want a logo to look like something you didn’t intend. Show your logo to as many people as possible and get a broad range of first impressions.
Testing and Experimenting
When you’ve achieved the look you want, it’s time to test. Think about everything that may be done to your logo outside of your control. It needs to look good at all sizes, so shrink it down and see how small it can get before detail is lost. Enlarge it, and look at it from various distances. Consider creating different sizes yourself to be used when simply resizing the logo would cause it to lose quality. Make a small, simplified version that can be used where every pixel counts, like a tiny website icon, and make a larger version with added detail to keep it interesting.
See how your logo looks when forced into a square, such as many social media sites do to profile images. You may want to make a version specifically to fit into a square, a rectangle, and even a circle. Equally important is the logo’s effectiveness on both light and dark backgrounds. Try creating a version of your logo that uses only stark black and white. By covering all these bases, you can ensure that your logo always looks its best, regardless of context.
Finalizing Your Logo
When your concept is fully realized, it’s time to design the final product. Create the logo using vector art, if at all possible, with a drawing program like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.org. Vector art will reproduce faithfully at any size without becoming blurry or pixelated, and makes the best logos even if you do create independent smaller and larger versions.
Alternatively, you can draw it in a non-vector format and then convert it later using a service such as vectormagic.com. If you go the latter route, design your logo at a very high pixel resolution, as converting to vector can be imprecise with smaller images.
Either way, be sure to test your final design just as you tested your rough draft: in a variety of sizes, situations, and colors.
Logo design is not only an art; it’s a science— albeit an inexact one. It is the perfect intersection of creativity and business sense. Logos themselves are very powerful, and can stick in the minds of millions all over the world, shaping the public image of your brand name. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to present your brand to the world, but following these basic steps will help you create a logo that can serve you well for years to come.
This is a guest blog written by our fantastic partner, 3dcart. Nextopia has been featured as their January Partner of the Month. Don’t miss out on the awesome Nextopia promotions that you can score through 3dcart!
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