Of the 40 million images posted to Instagram every day, more than 10,000 include the Starbucks logo.
Having read that, do you have an image of the Starbucks logo in your mind? If so, that’s the sign of a powerful logo. Let’s look at some tips for creating a logo for your brand that will stick with people the same way.
Make It Unique and Identifiable
When you’re coming up with ideas for a logo, it’s tempting to look at other companies’ logos and use them for inspiration. This is okay up to a point but if your logo immediately makes people think of some other company, it’s not going to be very effective.
Your logo should be unique enough that it’s not going to get confused with another company. If someone sees it in one of those 40 million daily Instagram posts, you want them to immediately know it’s you.
Avoid Cliches and Trendy Logos
Your logo should be relatively timeless. A trendy design might look good today but it could end up looking dated in a year or two. If you have to change your logo every few years, it’s not going to get as much traction with your market.
Along the same lines, avoid clichés. If you’re designing a logo for a coffee shop, it doesn’t have to include a coffee cup. Or a medical clinic doesn’t have to include a needle or stethoscope. Try to find something a little more creative that tells your story without hitting people over the head with it.
Color is Important
The colors you use in your logo are as much a part of it as the design itself. When you think of that Starbucks logo, you can probably picture the shade of green in your mind, can’t you?
The colors in your logo should also translate well into black and white or grayscale. It may get printed in a black and white publication or you might want to use a simplified version on mugs, shirts, or other promotional items. Make sure it looks good and everything is visible in color or black and white.
A Powerful Logo Should K.I.S.S.
Following along from the last tip, follow the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Sweetheart). Simple designs tend to be more timeless and they translate better into various mediums.
For example, if you want to have your logo embroidered on shirts for your staff to wear at a tradeshow or have your packaging design firm print it on your shipping boxes, it’s not going to work very well if there’s too much detail in it. A simple logo will also be more identifiable from a distance.
Reflect Your Brand’s Personality
Your logo should reflect the personality of your brand. Some of the common styles include:
- Modern or minimalist
Whether you realize it or not, your brand has a personality. A mismatch between that personality and your logo can push your customers away. For example, if your brand’s personality is a bit quirky, people likely won’t recognize it’s you if your logo is a more classic design.
Pick the Fonts Carefully
Fonts are a bit of a mixed blessing. There are so many available that it’s easy to find one that suits your brand’s personality but the sheer number also makes it tempting to overdo it.
Be conservative in your use of fonts and stick to one or two at most. If your logo looks like a ransom note cut out of magazine and newspaper headlines, you’ve gone too far.
Make Your Logo Scalable
You may want to use your brand’s logo on anything from a business card up to a massive poster. Most logos will look fine at bigger sizes but when they’re shrunk down it’s easy to lose some of the detail.
Design your logo to scale from something small on a business card or return address label on up. Your audience should be able to identify it at any size.
Make Good Use of Negative Space
Negative space in a logo is the space between and around the design – what looks like the “background” of the logo. Used creatively, this space can become part of the logo itself.
The FedEx logo is a good example of this. At first glance, it looks like a simple logo with the letters F-E-D-E-X. But if you look closer at the “Ex” you’ll see a white arrow pointing forward. This is a subtle way of showing that your package is on the move with FedEx.
There are plenty of other logos with hidden images beyond FedEx. But it doesn’t have to be hidden either. Amazon’s image has an obvious arrow underneath but the meaning isn’t as obvious. The arrow points from the letter A to the letter Z, because Amazon offers everything from A to Z.
These kinds of messages hidden in plain sight can add a deeper meaning to your logo.
Make Good Use of the Golden Ratio
The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio that can be very effective when used in design. Some of the most well-known logos, such as Apple Computers, use this ratio in their layout.
Proportion and symmetry are important parts of the design of a good logo. They aren’t something that people are necessarily conscious of but given two logos, one well-proportioned and one not, the symmetrical logo will seem more “satisfying” to most people.
Avoid Amateurish Design
It can be tempting to try and save some money on logo design by doing it yourself or hiring someone you know. Unless one of you is a graphic designer, this is likely penny-wise and pound-foolish.
A good designer will be familiar with most of the tips we’ve covered here. If they’ve been at it for any length of time, they probably won’t even have to think about it – it will happen naturally.
You may want to start with a logo template or logo maker software to brainstorm some ideas. But when it comes time to create the final product, a professional graphic designer will be better equipped to create a memorable, powerful logo.
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