Logo design is both an art and science. Get it right and you can significantly contribute to your client’s brand recognition and recall, and improve customer connect.
What makes a great logo?
A great logo triggers in the viewer’s mind the values that the company stands for. Uniqueness, appropriateness, adaptability, and timelessness are the key characteristics that set great logos apart from the legions of the ordinary.
With the multitude of logos that are out there, comes the challenge of creating something that is simple, yet original and evocative.
Understand your audience
Understanding whom you’re designing for is the necessary first step to creating a great logo. Completely involve the client at this stage. Don’t let them get away with vague and clichéd briefings such as “we want a memorable logo.” Both the client and the designer have a synchronized view and interpretation of the brand before any actual designing takes place. Understand the client deeply and with clarity, take as much time as you need at this stage.
Seek inspiration and start with rough sketches
Look for inspiration to get started. Spend some time at logo design communities. Brands of the World, Logo Pond, Creattica, and Logo Fury are good starting points to spark your inspiration. Start by making rough sketches on your sketchbook. Make a mood board with the appropriate color palettes, fonts, and images. Discard the boards that do not suit the client’s vision. Once you have a reasonably good idea of where you’re going with the design, create a scalable vector to facilitate iterations.
Typography is at the core of a great logo design. Getting the font right is half the work. Choose a font that matches the characteristics of the brand, favoring classic typefaces over gimmicky ones. As a general principle, use just one or two fonts in a single logo to ensure that the design is uncluttered.
Consider a type-only logo if it is appropriate for your brand. Take a look at these type only logos that work really well.
Spacing in and around the logo
Logos need a clear space around it to help it stand out from other text or graphic elements around it. The white space provides visual clarity. The negative space within can also be used cleverly for great impact. Consider the logo of The Guild of Food Writers – a clever example of a logo that uses negative space to convey the brand message in its entirety.
Here are some other examples of clever usage of negative space within the logo design to make a point.
Harness the power of color psychology to evoke the right response from the audience. Here are some of the commonly attributed qualities to popular colors.
Each color has its own positive and negative connotations. Moreover, it may also communicate a different story depending on its hue. Be aware of the cultural differences in color interpretations, especially if the client is a multinational corporation.
Logo designs must work in both color and monotones. Think about how you can still convey the same message even when the color is removed.
As a thumb rule, you want to stick to a single color for maximum effectiveness. But don’t be straitjacketed into using just one color – some logos work beautifully with multiple colors. Consider the logos of Google and the Olympics.
Keep it simple and modern
Once you come up with a passable design, ruthlessly prune it. Consider each element and ask yourself if it is really needed. Your logo is probably at its strongest version when it is the simplest.
The logo must work well with the caption too. The tagline must describe the logo and vice versa. When you have a logo and caption that go well together, create a lockup version. The logo image and the caption text are “locked” together in specific placement and proportions in relation to each other. A locked up logo is not meant to be taken apart.
Consider where the logo is going to be used
Experiment with the logo in different sizes. The logo may look great in your HD monitor, but does it have the same appeal when shrunk down to the size of an icon? Logos are often used as icons, so keep this point in mind.
If the logo is going to be used primarily on apps and websites, make sure that it meets the demands of responsive design. You may want to add more details to the logo as the display area increases. Consider this demo by Anthony Calzadilla.
The logo must work not only on a computer or mobile screen, but also on letterheads, magazines and billboards. It must work well with a variety of backgrounds. Show the client that you have thought through all these requirements and show them how the logo will appear in each instance.
After the design is done
Solicit feedback from your friends and colleagues. Keep the logo aside for a couple of days, and then look at it again with fresh eyes.
Create a style guide before handing over the final design to the client. A style guide will make you look professional and demonstrate why you did what you did. It will also prevent others from modifying the logo with respect to color, size, positioning, tone, or in any other way that may distort the message. The style guide also forces you to create a cohesive design, each element of which is included precisely because it is needed.
Go forth and create
Whether it is your first or your hundredth, approach each design job seriously. Your task is to encapsulate your client’s brand in a logo.
Include your client in the journey. But at the same time, don’t let them bully you around. You are the designer, and you have a specific skillset for which they are paying you. Ask the client specific questions and request for the space for you to do your job, which is to design a logo that not only meets but surpasses their expectations.
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Jeff Davis is living in California and currently associated with Quick Laptop Cash – A place for selling a laptop online. He has been in this field for the last 6 years and is responsible for troubleshooting issues. Interact to discuss projects, technology solutions.