So, you’re getting down to either designing a logo for a new business or for a rebrand, that’ll be easy right!? Not necessarily. Sitting down and drawing whatever comes in to your mind or typing your business names in as many fancy fonts as you can find just won’t give it the ‘’WOW Factor’’ you are looking for… being blunt, you’ll resent it eventually.
We speak to many businesses who say they rushed logo design and branding materials which they now feel holds them back. It can be costly to overhaul at a later stage so getting your logo right is crucial. After all, it’s quite often the first impression you give someone of your business – so make it memorable. In fact, make it slap them in the face and totally unforgettable, so that every time they see it they know it’s you. Have you ever seen a household brand without a logo? We’ve never found one. Seriously, create something which is a true representation of your products or services.
How do you do that?
Below we outline 8 steps to creating a logo you’ll love, which tells a story and inspires you and your customers. It’s a process, there is method to the madness so we’re going to let you in to some of our secrets.
1. Decide on its functionality.
This sounds like it should be straightforward but nevertheless needs careful consideration. Designing something which doesn’t have the versatility you need will cause some unwanted headaches. Ask yourself, where will it go? Will it be online and for print purposes? Does it need to be seen from a distance? Will it stand out on social media? These are valid questions to address as it can dictate boldness of font, size of graphics and the overall layout of your logo. Developing this further, is your business defined by a symbol or solely the company name? Think; Apple and Starbucks or the Golden Arches of McDonalds. These symbols are enough to recognise immediately. Adidas and Windows are iconic for using both. The monster brands of Coca Cola, EBay and NetFlix are logotype which rely on simply the brand name in font. Three different approaches, but all instantly identified and executed for the same reasons.
2. Do you have brand colours and a brand personality?
As human beings we are finely in tune with stimuli all around us. The colour of your brand appeals to our visual senses and all colours can convey meanings both consciously and unconsciously. There is some deep psychology to the colours that you use, without going in to the details, see the table for colours and the emotions they invoke:
For example, social media platforms Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all use blue. Not just blue, they are very similar shades of blue. Why? Social media commands a level trust and credibility. You are posting personal information and revealing, sometimes intimate, details about yourself. These brands need to be replied upon. Similarly, Apple has evolved over time, having been a colourful apple shape, to now being a black and white logo. The brand has gained so much power and influence that clarity over who they are is not defined by colours. Apple has its own meaning now.
The colours you choose do not have to be so deep and meaningful that you lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. Are there colours in your industry which can dictate your brand colours?
Once you have brand colours, you’ll need brand guidelines, but you can get access to our full ‘Know Thy Self’ guide at the end of this blog.
3. Get inspired and search for different styles of logo.
You’ll find this inspiration from the brands that you know and love. No matter how big or small. You can even find it staring at you from competitors. It’s important to stress here, take inspiration from your favourite brands or competitors – but do not just match what they have done! Take some elements that you like; colour, logotype, shapes, sizes and how they use it. Sometimes even discounting what you don’t like can lead you to what you do like. Creating a mood board is an effective way to give you ideas of what you want to aspire to. The mood board will contain ranges of colours, text, images that define who you are and what you do. From products, services, location, who you talk to and how you communicate with customers will give you a collage of identity. This is where you can include textures and shapes. For example, a swimming pool installation company would probably not use wooden textures in a logo. A more fluid approach makes sense. On the flip side, a log chopping firm would most likely steer clear of using water-based themes in a logo.
Where is the relevance for your business?
4. Sketch! Sketch! Sketch!
We are not saying you need to be an artist. You don’t even necessarily need to have any skills for drawing above being able to sketch a stick man. But there is huge merit in putting pen to paper on ideas you may have. What is in your head can be transferred to something real. Again, you may even find things you don’t like, so they can be ruled out. Ideas always develop and you need to start somewhere. Look at the infamous story of soft drink giants 7UP. The creator, Charles Leiper-Grigg, had to develop his formula six times before finally hitting the perfect solution on the seventh attempt. You’ll be surprised how quickly ideas develop when you begin sketching. Give it a try!
5. Develop the ‘on-screen’ version.
So, you have big ticks in the first 4 steps. Stage 5 is where things start to get real. If you have a program like Illustrator or Photoshop and can use the pen tool then you can do this yourself. If not, you will want to get a graphic designer involved, if you haven’t already. This links back to step 1 – functionality. It is rare (maybe even impossible?) in the current climate to not require the logo to be set up for online purposes. Get feedback from your designer so you can develop the ideas together. A fresh set of eyes or by simply talking about the concepts can start to narrow your designs in on the goal. A graphic designer will also be able to advise on how the logo can be created in different formats. More on that later though. 😊
6. Get 3 concepts.
It’s important here to keep an open mind. If you grab one idea and run with it and ultimately feel unhappy with the outcome, it is most likely that this step has been taken off the agenda. By giving your logo three concepts, you can start to objectively critique each design and refine your decision. You might be sceptical of a design concept but once presented to you it is the one! Similarly, you may have been keen all the way through of achieving a particular concept which you end up hating! Hate might be a tad strong, but you get the point. Give yourself options so you can choose a least favourite to favourite. A good designer will always present more than one idea to you.
7. Tighten up and refine.
So you’re nearly there. You’ve been a part of a process that has been considered and tells your story. You have ruled out 2 design concepts and have the one to take you forward. From here you can refine all elements of your logo. Scrutinise each detail. Change the fonts to make sure you have it spot on. Have you got all angles covered – literally. Check your symbol, if you have one, for any glaring mis-judgements or just fine tuning. Reassure yourself that the geometry of your logo is how it should be. Now let’s produce this masterpiece!
8. Save in different formats and sizes.
The final step does what it says on the tin. Once you have achieved your logo design, save it in all resolutions and colour profiles. This is all in good preparation for how you will use it. It is good practice to save in different sizes to ensure you have what you need; billboard, website, social media and brochure ready. There is nothing worse than a pixelated logo once enlarged. Also, there are smaller uses in favicons in a web browser and an app icon for every device. For websites, companies tend to create their logo to be responsive for all sizes of device. You will need to consider background, light or dark will it still work? Just adapting it can give you a versatile logo for all situations. You will most require a transparent and opaque background.
Save all these versions down… et voila! You have a logo which you have invested time and the tender loving care it deserves.
Graphic design is more than what we do, it’s our passion. Our aim is to always ensure you have an end product which fits with your goals and is best for you. Once you have a logo, you might want to consider inserting brand guidelines to your business practices so you have a clear structure for all uses of your logo. This will keep you consistent, credible and maintain your values. After all, you have just created a logo you love.