Updated: Sep 18
When starting a business, having a strong logo and brand identity is essential in today’s online marketplace. It’s the face of your brand and it needs to capture your target audience and resonate with them going forward. But with so many brands to navigate, how do you create a logo that is original, memorable, and stays true to who you are as a company? Before you set out to design a logo for your new business, consider these five fundamental keys to a successful logo design.
1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE AND YOUR COMPETITION
When it comes to creating a logo design, it’s as much about you as it is about them. Them being your target demographic. Who are you trying to appeal to through your logo?
A brand that’s targeting hikers and outdoor adventurers will have a different approach to their logo design than a brand looking to attract interior designers. Be as specific as possible about your demographic to help guide your logo design.
You also want to consider your competition. Take stock of the logo style your competitors use. Does it work? Is there a particular colour palette that’s used time and time again? Consider using colours that will make your logo stand out in your industry.
2. THE MEANING OF COLOURS
Have you ever noticed how the same colours are often used among brands in the same industry? Think of major banks: blue dominates. Environmental companies are all green and most food chains use red or yellow. The colours you choose for your logo are significant because of the cultural and emotional connotations they have.
Take a look at this graphic below. Consider your company’s values and what emotions you’re trying to evoke in your audience. Whether you’re trying to establish trust or be known as fun and friendly, be mindful of the colours you choose and what they represent.
Another key takeaway from the graphic above is how many of these well known brands only have one or maybe two colours in their logo. Resist the urge to use three or four colours in your logo. Ideally, your logo should have one or two colours max.
This isn’t to say your brand colour palette will only be these two colours, but rather your primary colour palette is represented by these. As you design your brand identity you will create a supporting colour palette but don’t try to over saturate your logo. If you do, it should be with purpose.
3. TIMELESS TYPOGRAPHY
Choosing the right typeface for your logo can be the most fun and the most challenging. With so many font families to choose from, this is not for the indecisive. Much like colour selection, consider your industry and what fits. For instance, if you’re a florist you may consider using a script font. If you’re a coffee shop, a simple sans serif font could suffice.
A good place to start is Google Fonts. With nearly 1,000 font families to choose from (for free), you can type in your company name and see what appeals to you. You can narrow your font options by checking the different categories you’re interested in:
• serif (think Times New Roman and fonts you see in books)
• sans serif (you’re reading sans serif type right now)
• display (think overtly creative and unique)
• handwriting (these are script typefaces)
• monospace (each letter is equally spaced from the next)
You’ll want to ask yourself where your logo will be used most often. If it’s on a small product label, make sure you’re choosing the appropriate font weight so that it’s still legible when scaled down or on a dark background.
If your logo has no iconography and is just a wordmark (just your name) then maybe your logo design could use custom typography. Jessica Hische is an incredible lettering artist and is a great place to go for some lettering inspo.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right typeface for your logo is to strive for timelessness. Try and avoid trends. You want to go for a typeface that won’t require a rebrand in a few years time. A strong logo is one that can stand on its own for decades to come.
4. LESS IS MORE
One of the biggest lessons I learned from design school is less is more. Whether it’s designing a logo or a poster: how many elements can you remove from the design and still have it work? The key is to design a logo that is easily recognizable.
Think of the most prominent brands like Apple, McDonalds, or Nike. These logos are all incredibly simple and have remained the same for decades. The simpler it is, the more timeless it becomes.
You’ll notice in the past year several big brands have made minor rebrands by simplifying their look. Already quite simple in style, both Google and Mastercard have further simplified their logos.
5. SIZE IT UP
Scalability is something not to be overlooked with your logo design. Consider all of the different places your logo will be used. Using the example from earlier, is it going to be super small on a product label or will it be four feet tall on a billboard?
If you’re an apparel company, for example, consider how your logo will look stitched or printed on fabric. A complex logo with lots of fine detail may not be the ideal approach for your logo design. Ensure your logo can exist successfully on both the large and small scale.
The best way to get started on your logo design journey is to collect logo design ideas that appeal to you and look at the logos that exist in your industry. Try to see where your design can exist in a way that stands out.
Refer to these five keys when you go about designing your logo. If you’re looking to rebrand or are just getting started with your company’s brand identity, get a free quote designed to your creative business goals.