How to design a great Logo

The Thing About Logo Design...

A great logo design can take your business to the next level, as it creates a statement about your brand and what it represents. Whether you have a new startup, or an established business which needs rebranding there are strategies you can use to create a logo which is both professional and unique.

What is the function?

Understanding the purpose of your logo is the first step in creating the right design. You should ask yourself, what will it be used for? It will need to be versatile as your logo will likely be used on a variety of mediums. These could include business cards, letterheads, windows, signs, websites, social media and clothing. Slight variations may be necessary to suit the different functions, but try to keep it recognisable. For example, Nike like to mix it up and have fun with colour, but the brand is unmistakable with their trademark swoosh.

Who is your audience?

Knowing who your target demographic is will determine the type of logo you will create. When asked who you are appealing to, an answer of “everyone” is probably not going to cut it. Instead, define your niche. What is your style? What services do you offer? What is your specialty? Look at Gucci, they are all about class. Two perfectly formed interlocking G’s (the brand was started by fashion designer Guccio Gucci), in an elegant and dominant black. This is a timeless logo which is targeted to wealthy and sophisticated clients. Compare this to Nick Jr, a kids television channel. They have chosen font in a bubbly style and shades of orange and blue. This might not be appealing to the martini sipping Gucci wearers, but it will be to their preschoolers. It also gives parents the impression it is safe for children. This is why knowing your audience matters.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they think. You could even run a competition on social media asking them to vote for their favourite design.

What colour will work?

Something as simple as colour can evoke an emotion, for example green might give the impression of calmness or nature, red is strong and fiery while blue is friendly, trustworthy and inviting (think Facebook and Twitter). Black and white logos work well as you can always add an accent of colour for promotional reasons. Just like Nike (see our example above) your identifying features are not about the colour, it’s all about the design.

Just because you love a colour, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work. Yellow on a white background will be hard to read, and anything neon will be a turn off particularly when it comes to screen use. Think about what is existing. Perhaps your staff wear blue polos or drive a red car, what will complement these? A completely new business can start fresh with a new colour palette, do your research and look for combinations which suit your audience and make you stand out from your competitors.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries (within reason), after all McDonalds have mastered yellow and red, and Sportsgirl have a rainbow of hues which suits their young, fashion savvy shoppers.

Images or font?

The next decision you need to make is whether you will go for an image, font, or a combination of both. Do you want your potential customers to know what you do just from your logo graphic? Consider this…a hairdresser might choose a pair of scissors while a mechanic could have a spanner.

Brands like Coca Cola and Cadbury rely on a unique display font and strong colour scheme. And, they have nailed it. But they also have big marketing budgets. We know it’s Coke with the curly C and the white and red. Cadbury’s purple instantly makes us crave a sugar hit. No images, no written explanation. Simple is sweet.

TIP: If you are going to rely purely on text to get your business out there you will have to do more than a 5 minute Word job using Times New Roman. It should be original.

What is your identity?

If you do opt for an image, think about your business name and how it will tie in to this. Will you use an image which illustrates your services? Or, will you go literal? You would most likely be familiar with the Apple logo, which is, you guessed it…an apple. Complete with a bite (byte) taken out of it. Penguin Publishing have a logo which is a penguin, despite the fact that penguins probably don’t know how to read. Sports brand Puma have a puma, an animal which likes to run. Shell services stations have a shell.

Then there is Domino’s Pizza, who have all their bases (pun intended) covered. There is a graphic of a domino, a signature colour scheme of red and blue, a shape of a pizza box AND the words Domino’s Pizza.

Before you start your logo design, do your research. Think about your competitors and your target market. What works and what doesn’t? What makes you recognisable? What defines who you are? Your logo should give a feeling of trust and it should also be legible.

TIP: Don’t forget, form must always follow function.