Logo Design Tips from a Designer
A logo is a symbol that identifies your brand. It can be an icon, an image, initials or just a word. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s timeless, unique and something you’re really proud of. You want customers to be able to recognise your brand just from your logo. This is when simple black text or plain shapes are not your friends! Just using a B as a logo for a beauty salon isn't going to make your brand stand out as people won't know what your services or values are just from a B.
I find it’s best to start by sketching out hundreds of ideas. Write down your values and goals, keywords, your brand identity and desired image (read my brand identity post for more info). Once you’ve done this, sketch out anything that comes to mind whether it’s words or images. When you’ve got a few ideas you like, have a check online at your competitors to see if your logo ideas look similar to those already in the industry – if so then you shouldn’t use it! Make sure your branding is unique to position yourself competitively.
You’ll need to design your logo in Illustrator or Photoshop so that you can save it as a PNG and JPEG to make sure it’s of high quality on the web and print. Some merchandise printers will only use vector files when printing, and online business card printing will be of higher quality if you’re uploading your logo as a JPEG. I personally always save my files as PNG’s as the majority of my work is digital and the quality of the file stays the same when you’re resizing it for different collateral.
When it comes to logos, the simpler the colour palette the better. Bright plain colours are a design trend set to continue into 2019. You may have noticed Spotify changing to a more vivid green, and YouTube changed to the brightest RGB red for the play button so that it shines out of your screen even more. Also ensure that the colours you have chosen look the same on different screens as high resolution laptops will make your graphics look brighter than those on a lower resolution screen.
Using Pinterest is a great way to find inspiration for colour palettes that work. Choose a primary colour that will be the base of your logo and branding, and then up to two more for accent and contrasting colours. Try not to stick to trend lead colours as these won’t be timeless and you’ll want to change them in a couple of years time. Alternatively, you could pick a very simple design that changes colour depending on what format it is being used for. For example, the ITV logo takes on the background colours when it glides over an advert break on TV.
There are hundreds of websites online that will let you download fonts for free, I use da font, just make sure it says you can use it for commercial use. You could even buy your own font, or go the extra step and make your own. Use a serif font (one with flicks on the letters) to elude a more formal, professional and smart look for your company. Using a san serif font will give a more informal, friendly brand image. Try playoung around with different fonts, adjusting the kerning and line lengths to change a word or initials into a recognisable logo.
This is really important when designing your logo. You need to be able to scale your logo up and down to suit favicons, website design, letter heads etc. I was taught that your logo must look the same on a pencil as it would on a billboard. This means that lots of details in an icon won’t be visible on the end of a pencil. Ensuring all your spacing is even and centred will ensure the logo doesn’t loose its shape when being scaled onto different collateral and websites.
Logos can take weeks to get right. Sketching out all your ideas first will help eliminate any that are too similar to competitors or that don’t translate your brand identity. Mock up a few different designs on the computer and use them on different collateral to get an idea of what they’ll look like and if they’ll work well. It might be worth asking friends and family to give you feedback on them too. Ask them what service it looks like the brand might be offering and whether it would stand out amongst others in the field.