How to Make a Logo – A Complete Guide
Whether building a small or big brand, you’ll need to design a brand logo. Your logo makes a huge impact on how your customers perceive your brand and how well you can communicate your brand persona to the audience. You want your logo to be unique to what your brand represents.
Designing your brand logo is more challenging than it looks. It involves a more detailed process than simply hiring a designer and getting your logo made.
However, this handy guide on building a logo will teach you all you need to know to create your perfect brand logo. Read on to learn about the step-by-step process to ensure you make the right decisions and navigate the design process to create your impactful business logo.
What is a Logo?
Your business logo is a symbol or design that can identify an organization, a company, or a brand. A logo is simply how your company is remembered and recognized by audiences. It also functions as a design or symbolic alternative for your company name and acts as the face of your business.
Some companies also use their business logos to make a statement about their organization creatively. For example, the smiley arrow in Amazon’s logo communicates that customers can find everything on their platform from A to Z and shows happy customer experiences.
You can keep your logo as simple as you like, complicate the design, or add subtle messages. Deeper meaning or not, your business logo is your brand representative, and it should look that way.
It is also essential to understand that even though your business logo is essential, it is not the brand itself, an indicator of success and your entire visual identity. You must ensure your logo and other business identifiers create a desirable brand presence that reflects the persona you want to build for your business.
Types of Logos
Before you start designing your business logo, it is important to familiarize yourself with different types of logos. It will help you make the most informed decision for creating your perfect logo.
Sometimes, companies choose not to have any graphic symbol in their logo, and instead, they just place their organization or brand name in the center and use it as their business logo. When you are using wordmark logos, the typography is very crucial. So, you must make sure you choose a legible font for your logo.
Brand marks or pictorial marks are logos with graphic symbols. Over the years, these symbols often become recognizable and build an immediate association with the brand in audiences’ minds. For example, mountains can be used for a travel agency or outdoor company, and sports equipment like basketball or bat could be used for a sports organization.
Once you have built a strong connection of the brand mark with your company, it can be used as a standalone visual representation for the brand.
A combination mark uses both a brand and a wordmark. It is a more traditional type of logo that most of us are familiar with. However, you can be creative with the layout, graphics, and context to make a powerful logo.
Abstract Logo Mark
Abstract logo marks usually use geometric shapes and are less recognizable and associated with the brand name. They make a great logo option for you if you want something unique.
The letter mark or monogram logotype is a good option for businesses with long or clunky names. You can design the logo to include your initials or abbreviation of your business name. Typography is crucial in letter marks, and as you have a lot of space, you can use more creative design elements.
Mascots are a more modern form of logo designing, and depending on your brand persona, using mascots can be fun and a great way to engage audiences. They are more flexible than basic symbols, as you can play around with their expressions as the context changes. However, ensure your logo design aligns with the brand message and emotions you want to communicate.
Emblem or crest logos include text within a symbol. This type of logo has been used for a long time and can communicate the tradition and prestige of your brand.
Understand Why You Need a Logo
In your journey to design a perfect logo for your business, you must first understand why your brand needs to create one powerful logo.
Running your business is like dating or making friends.
want to attract the right customer base and make them fall in love with your brand. So, continuing with the same example, your business logo is like your display picture on your social media account or dating profile. You want the image to reflect your personality and make your customers find you interesting to look for more information. This means you want to look your best for the brand logo.
Whether you are engaging with your customers or investors, your logo will impact the first impression the business makes. It will give your audience information on the business, and it might be the deciding point for them to keep looking or moving.
A business logo is a crucial part of establishing any brand. That’s why you should try to ensure it’s done to the best of your capabilities. Your existing and future branding material and business documents will have your logo. Your website, social media pages, product packaging, and business cards will be on your website. As there is no running away from your logo, ensure you make it count!
A professional and perfect logo for your business will have the power to communicate your brand message and what you stand for. Besides, it will also be the first glance audiences have of your brand, so it must make a great first impression and make your brand stand out.
How to Design a Logo
A lot of times, this surprises people, but designing your business logo requires a lot of working on the design strategy. Most of your time, especially during the initial phase, is spent on strategic planning, brainstorming, thinking of ideas, and decision making. Then comes the actual drawing and designing phase.
Another important thing to remember is not just to create your business logo. Your business logo is part of a larger visual world of your company. So, you must ensure all the individual pieces go well together.
Finally, we come to the 5-step process to design a logo. However, every designer’s process may look different, but it will have most of the below-mentioned stages. This article will cover each stage of designing a logo in detail, including its purpose, process, and deliverable, before going on to the next stage.
Stage 1 – Discover
The discovery phase is when to ask many questions. This is the time to think about different contexts and backgrounds you can try out to understand the business’s nature, values, and brand persona. This is also the time to discuss the desired look and feel you want to achieve, the must-haves, and special requests for the design.
The goal here is to completely understand what the company is about, what it believes in, what business attributes we want to highlight, and what we want to accomplish. Remember, it is not just a logo. You’re shaping the brand identity of your business.
You can better understand the context and background by asking yourself:
- Why does the brand want or need a new logo?
- What is the story and meaning behind the brand name?
- Who are the primary business competitors?
- Who are the target audiences?
- What is the brand message that the company wants to communicate?
- What goals does the company want to achieve with the new logo, and how will the success be measured?
- What are the brand persona and unique characteristics of the brand?
- What will be the main use of the logo, digital or traditional platforms?
- What are the must-haves and special requests for design?
Once all these questions have been answered, you will use these answers to build a creative strategy that gives the design team an overview of the company and the brand. You may want to include the design objectives, the brand’s tone, visual considerations, and a first vision for the logo and design system in the creative strategy, including any specific themes discussed in this phase.
This strategy will guide you throughout the designing phase, and you can also use this document to analyze your success across the upcoming stages. At the end of every stage, you need to evaluate your deliverables based on how well they meet the vision set in the design strategy. Besides, every time there is a difference of opinion or confusion, you can refer back to this document and stay on track.
Stage 2 – Research
This stage is for researching and exploring different design options. This is the fun stage of the entire process, particularly if you are new to designing.
The goal of this stage is to turn your focus on what happens in the design world and explore. You want to get educated and find inspirations that fit into the established vision for the logo.
If you are new to designing, you should start by reading the basic design principles and fundamentals like colour, style, and typography. Understanding how different colours can be used to evoke different emotions and behaviours can help you design a logo that initiates desired emotions and feelings in your audience. For example, you will often see banks, software houses, and credit card institutions using blue in their brand visuals because blue inspires trust, authority, and dependability. Whereas green is associated with feelings like growth, health, and peace, and that’s why food brands often use it.
In this stage, you need to research what colours will evoke desired emotions in your customers. Once you have a handle on the design basics, look for design inspirations. Look what your immediate competitors are doing and turn to the overall industry. Look into their entire design system and not just the logos. Take notes of what design elements stand out to you. There is no right way to look for inspiration. You can look outside of your industry and websites like Behance and Dribble.
The action here is to build a mood board that includes designs, images, illustrations, colour combinations, and even logos. Add anything on the mood board that inspires you and goes well with your creative strategy and the desired feel of the brand identity you want to build. If you work better when getting crafty, you can print the images and paste them on an actual board. However, these days most designers work digitally.
If you are working on multiple themes, you can also create separate mood boards for each design direction you may want to pursue. It may help add a short description for each theme to express how these visuals communicate the brand attributes you want to highlight. Ideally, you want to sit with your team or the decision-maker and finalize the direction you want to take.
Stage 3 – Design
The third design stage has a very straightforward goal. Now, you have to consider all the information and inputs that you have gathered in the first two stages and the mood board that you have created and the creation of your business logo.
There are too many things to keep in mind when designing the logo. From the software or tools you are using to the type of logo you decide to use, you need to use all this information to create the perfect logo for your business.
We will discuss the tools needed for designing a logo in detail later in this article.
At the end of this stage, you should have at least one logo design to show your efforts and evaluate. Many designers keep two to three logo design options at this stage. It allows them to go over the different interpretations of requirements. Besides, the next stage will include further evaluation of the design to finalize the perfect brand logo.
Stage 4 – Refine
If you have multiple logo design options from the last stage, now is the time to evaluate and narrow down to one. If you already have one design you like better than others, it’s time to put it to the test.
We already know how important a brand logo is for any company. Before finalizing a logo, you should evaluate its effectiveness by asking yourself:
- What makes a business logo great?
A great business logo is simple, memorable, as well as evocative.
- Where do you plan to use this logo?
Understanding where you will use the logo helps finalize the most impactful design for the desired platform. However, you should consider both the primary use of the logo on the company website and social media and the secondary uses like any printed marketing materials, letterheads, event and recruitment banners.
Test the logo on various backgrounds and platforms and ensure the design, words, and overall message are communicated throughout all mediums.
- What is the life of your logo?
Desired aesthetics and trends are always changing. However, the value of your business logo only gets stronger with time as it becomes more recognizable and memorable by audiences. Hence, ask yourself whether this logo will last for 5, 10, or even 20 years from now, or not.
It also helps to play around with your logo a little bit. Ask your designer to work to show you a black and white version of the logo. Also, test different elements of your logo individually and see how the logo’s graphics, colour, fonts, and styles look separately in different use-cases.
The final point or deliverable of this stage is to narrow it down to a final logo design that works perfectly for your brand. You will most likely spend a considerable amount of time making sure all elements are just right.
Stage 5 – Define
The goal of this final stage is to ensure you can maintain the integrity of your logo design and the brand identity, quality, and consistency of the company logo over a long period. Often the team that designs the original logo and the team that works on the company visual system are different, and that’s why it is necessary to define a set of rules and guidelines to understand the dos and don’ts of using the logo.
You need to start by noting down all guidelines for your logo, including the colours, fonts, sizes, alignment, treatment, orientation, and other specifications. To ensure you don’t miss out on anything, ask yourself these questions:
- Can the logo be used on top of an image or photograph? If yes, then can you change the logo’s colour to make it stand out?
- Are there any specific background colours where you can place the logo?
- Can the design elements be used separately in different contexts if your design is a combination logo mark?
- To ensure you maintain the integrity and strong impact of your logo, don’t shy away from including some ‘never dos’ to prevent any undesired modifications of the logo.
A document that includes all these details and specifications is a style guide or brand guidelines. You can keep your style guide as simple or comprehensive as you like. It simply lists all visual guidelines, design specifications, and all patterns and components used in the design, which help make the brand more recognizable to the audience.
Logo Design Tools
Designing the perfect business logo involves using the correct and up-to-date tools. Before designing your logo in stage three mentioned above, ensure you have the following tools for a job well done.
Paper and Pencil
Sketching some initial ideas is a great way to start. However, designing is an iterative process, so don’t over-complicate it. Even if you cannot draw, sketching some rough ideas will help the creative juices to flow and get you in the right mindset.
Graphic Design Software
Designing has become a digital art, and you need the necessary software to do a good job. Adobe Illustrator is the standard software used for vector graphics editing. Some other alternatives include Vectr and Inkscape.
Logo is a visual method of communication, and that’s why it is important to pay additional attention to the graphics, symbols, and visual elements you use. If you have decided to use a symbol in your logo, whether you do it traditionally or abstractly, you must brainstorm first. The following are a few things you should keep in mind when working on symbols in your logo:
- Build connections – Try to think of different things and words that you can associate with your company name and the nature of your business. These words will help you identify the right set of images that best define your brand.
- Go literal – For some brands, you can use the literal interpretation of their company name or brand message for the logo. With some creativity and a unique spin, you can use a literal symbol within your logo.
- Think figuratively – Some brands require you to discover the brand message and use figurative symbols within the logo. The figurative symbol may immediately connect with the audience or take some time.
- Go weird – Many young and fun brands must go outside the box and let the magic happen. There are no rules on using design elements in your logo as long as it works for your brand and industry.
The font style is also a great way to communicate your brand personality. If you are using a wordmark or letter mark type of logo, your typography will be very crucial. Just like colours, fonts can also help interpret your brand persona and can be used to evoke desired emotions.
- Serif fonts are the classic options, and they tend to communicate trust, tradition, and sophistication within your brand.
- Sans serif fonts give a more clean, crisp, sleek, and modern look and are often the top choice for digital platforms for their minimalist style and good readability. You can try out different font styles to find the perfect option for your brand.
- Script fonts make a good option to give your brand a more authentic and original feel. These font styles mimic actual handwriting. You can get elegant typography and relaxed and minimalist options in script fonts.
- Display fonts are decorative fonts with more focus on design and style. They tend to give a vintage and fun flair to your visual system.
Free Logo Design Tools
If you have limited resources, time, money, and design skills, you can use one of the many online design tools that make it easy for anyone to make their business logo. Many of these websites provide customizable design templates, the fastest way to make a professional-looking logo. However, remember that even though many of these tools are free, you may have to pay to download the final, scalable vector file. The following are some online design tools you can use to create a business logo:
Designing Logos – Frequently Asked Questions
How can I create my own logo for free?
You can create your logo for free using one of the many free online logo-making tools and choosing one of the free templates.
What is the best app to make a logo?
Several online logo designing tools allow you to design your logo or hire a professional to do it for you. The best app or site to create a logo varies depending on your needs. However, some popular tools include Wix Logo Maker and Canva Logo Maker.
Is Fiver good for logos?
Fiver helps many companies worldwide to get in touch with some of the best designers who can create a logo starting at $5 and going up to hundreds of dollars. Fiver is a good platform for finding the right individual to design your logo based on your requirements.
Summing It Up
This might seem a lot for designing a logo, particularly if you do this for the first time. But, each step in the guideline is important and helps you get closer to making your brand logo. It usually takes designers weeks to work through all the stages of making a logo. Your company logo will be with you for a long time, so we recommend not rushing the process.
Designing a logo is a creative process, and it requires some time and effort. Take your time to exercise the steps mentioned in the article and give each element of your logo the attention it deserves. When you reach the final design for your brand logo, it will reflect the efforts and work that have made it.
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