The strategy behind creating a memorable logo design.
Most people ignore it, but designing and creating a great logo is a complex process. To guarantee the best results, you must know a few tips on how to catch your audience’s eye.
The importance of a logo cannot be underestimated – it gives the very first impression of a brand. And, just like in real life, the first impression has a massive and lasting impact on our perception.
Who designs a logo has in most cases a solid education in visual communication. In other cases, maybe, is a self-taught learner with advanced graphic skills. Whether you are an expert graphic designer or a beginner, you will need to follow some essential steps when creating a great logo:
1. Learn the golden rules to create an attractive logo
There are some key rules that are easily understandable. First of all, an effective logo should be simple and easy to memorize. For example, think about Nike’s logo. For their brand icon they chose white on a black background – and later on added the motto Just do it. Effective, right? Instantly recognizable? You bet. This is why you should avoid complex designs that mix more than 2-3 colors at a time.
This also applies to fonts. Choose 1 or 2 as a maximum and stick to these. Also, a logo must be long-lasting. An efficient design ages well and requires very little revision.
It is also essential that the design is targeted to the potential audience. It may seem obvious, but you would be surprised by how often this mistake is made. The design should firmly represent the brand rather than the products sold. No respectable brand shows their merchandise. Think Louis Vuitton or Ferrari.
2. Study the work of other successful companies in your sector
In this guide, I have listed some specific brands – and there are many others. Just like an athlete, you can really deepen your knowledge through observation. Take inspiration from the best-known companies in your sector and try to catch what they have in common. Use them as a template, but watch out — don’t fall into plagiarism!
Thousands of logos are created every day and fortunately there are interesting resources for you to take inspiration. Logooftheday.com and its ‘Logo Design Inspiration’ motto will help you get inspired. The website indexes the most famous brands, meticulously sorts them by score (user votes) and awards received. An excellent source for ideas.
Otherwise, an easier, but equally effective way, is to type the keywords “ most successful logos ” or similar in Google Images. You will find thousands of useful results.
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3. Check that the logo is copyright free
As said earlier, thousands of logos are created each day and are accompanied by their own copyright. There are some free resources available that allows you to check that the logo, slogan and name chosen by you are free from any legal constraints.
To verify that your idea is original, visit the world intellectual property organization website: wipo.int.
4. Arm yourself with a pen (or pencil) and paper!
I strongly advise you develop your first drafts on paper. Why? Despite some very advanced software for design, nothing beats the old tools, for some features. In fact, in your notebook you can take all the time you want to make sketches and many variations of the same project. Go old school!
Only after you have developed a good idea you can start to bring everything into the digital world.
5. Turn your printed logo into a digital logo
If you have followed these tips properly, you should have a paper version of your logo. Simply scan the draft and work on digitalizing it. If you are a rebel and have decided to develop the project directly in a computerized form, now is the moment to recreate your idea.
There is an impressive amount of software for planning and design high quality logos. The most used and effective are:
The first one is not designed exclusively for creating logos, so it may be less accessible and the purchase of the license is not economical.. Corel Draw is the most advisable alternative for beginners – due to it’s usability. Gimp, on the other hand, is totally free.
6. Your chosen font: take it easy with the flair!
Fonts should be used very sparingly and wisely. A logo with many different fonts causes confusion and therefore determines its failure. Do not choose fonts that are busy and complicated – because they weigh the reading down. If the characters are not easily readable, discard the font and move on. In addition to the pre-installed fonts on your computer, there are many other alternatives, downloadable for free from sites like:
Just make sure that they can be used for commercial purposes. You should have realized at this point that the most used fonts are the simplest. Helvetica, Frutiger and Myriad Pro are some practical examples.
7. Show your masterpiece to your friends, colleagues and relatives
Present your logo to as many people as possible. This is one of the most important steps in this guide. Most likely you will receive praise, but also some critics. Don’t be thin-skinned, constructive criticism is particularly useful.
8. In which category does my logo belong to?
In point 1 I listed the essential qualities of a successful logo. There are basically 5 basic types of logo design:
Symbol or icon
A logo with just a symbol or icon and without words, initials, etc: Apple, Google Chrome, Mercedes Benz
Word mark (text logo)
A text logo that spells out the brand name: Facebook, Coca-Cola, Google
Letter mark (text logo)
A symbol that uses initials or the first letter of the brand: General Electric, EA, Warner Bros.
A combination of word mark and symbol/icon: Adidas, Nike, twago
A logo with the brand name incased within the design: Starbucks, Harley-Davidson, NFL
But ultimately, what is the function of a logo?
Logos help to create a unique identity for your brand. A good logo must be memorable and convey to the customer positive feelings and reliability. Think about the Apple symbol and what images immediately come to mind. The same can be said for the little green robot that symbolizes the Android operating system, or even the majestic M of McDonalds.
Symbolism has always played a key role in human civilization. We think in pictures and mental associations. Many studies have proven that the most effective methods to learn an abstract concept is to associate it with a tangible entity.
A company needs something that distinguishes themselves from the crowd. A winning logo can attract a large number of potential customers – a lazy or ill-conceived logo can have the opposite effect.
Have you ever felt reassured by just the presence of a familiar brand, like Starbucks or McDonalds, once you’ve arrived in a foreign country?
Follow this advice, release your creativity and make a difference with a unique and catchy logo. What are your favorite brand logos? Share your favorites in the comments below…
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