Creating a logo can seem like an easy task on the surface. However, there’s more to logo design that meets the eye. If you want your logo to be successful, you need to understand its purpose. This post offers a few tips to help you identify and achieve this purpose.
Why create a logo?
A logo is an essential part of building a brand. It’s a visual indicator that can help people to easily identify your company. Without a logo, your company may not feel as established and your marketing efforts may not be as memorable. By creating a logo early on (ideally as you launch your company) you can encourage customers to take your company seriously and you can build familiarity.
What makes a great logo?
There are four main factors that can help to make a logo successful. These are relevancy, uniqueness, simplicity and timelessness.
Relevancy: Your logo needs to be relevant to your company in some way. The most basic logos typically contain some kind of industry-related symbolism (for example, many coffee bars use coffee cups in their logo). Other logos simply help visualise the brand name (such as the Apple logo). And then there are the more clever logos that are used to communicate a company’s brand message or ethics. For example, Nike’s famous swoosh logo looks like both a tick and the sharp corner on an athletic track – representing both success and speed.
Uniqueness: A successful logo needs to stand out from the competition. If it relies too hard on cliched symbolism or uses a very similar font to other logos, people won’t notice it and they certainly won’t remember it. Uniqueness is also important for avoiding confusion with competitors. It could also be important for avoiding lawsuits.
Simplicity: Logos have gotten much simpler in recent years. There are several advantages to a simple logo: a) they take less time for our brains to process b) they’re cheaper to print and c) they’re easier to scale down on a digital screen (useful for social media profile pictures, app icons and favicons). Consider this as you design your logo.
Timelessness: A successful logo should also have the ability to evolve with the times. If a logo starts to look old-fashioned, so will your company. It’s also important that your logo doesn’t promote attitudes that could become frowned upon in the future.
What are the different types of logo?
Logos can come in a few different forms. It’s important to consider which type of logo is best for your business. Some of the different types of logo are listed below.
Pictorial: Examples: Shell, Apple, Twitter
Pictorial logos are images without any text that can be used to easily identify your company. Such images are typically easily recognizable objects and often relate to the brand name (Shell is a shell, Apple is an apple and Twitter is bird).
Wordmark: Examples: Google, Coca Cola, FedEx
Some companies simply take their brand name and style it in a distinct fashion to create a recognizable logo. These are known as Wordmark logos and are some of the most common logos. The font and colors may help to get across the brand message and tone of the company.
Abstract: Examples: Pepsi, Nike, Mastercard
These types of logos use abstract imagery that may not necessarily be recognizable as any kind of existing object. They rely on colors and symbols to convey a brand message. An advantage of these logos is that they are simple, however creating one that is unique and relevant can be trickier.
Lettermark: Examples: McDonalds, Facebook, Hewlett Packard
Lettermark logos are like wordmarks in that they are made up of text, but instead of displaying the entire brand name, they just use a single letter or an acronym. Examples of single letters include the McDonalds ‘M’ and the Facebook ‘F’. Hewlett Packard’s ‘HP’ is meanwhile a good example of an acronym-based lettermark logo. They’re ideal if you have a lengthy brand name that you don’t want to display as a full word.
Emblem: Examples: Warner Brothers, Starbucks, Harley Davidson
Emblems resemble badges or crests. They can incorporate both imagery and text. These logos tend to be a little more detailed. They may give a brand a slightly sophisticated or traditional feel.
Combination: Examples: Burger King, Lays, Microsoft
As the name suggests, these logos are a combination of different forms of logo. For example, the Burger King logo contains the word ‘Burger King’ and an image of a burger. They are different from emblem logos in that they do not look like badges or crests.
What elements should you consider when choosing your logo?
Once you’ve decided the type of logo that is best suited to your company, you should try to personalize the individual elements. These are outlined below:
Imagery: When it comes to pictorial, abstract, emblem and combination logos, the use of imagery can play an important part. As mentioned already, imagery could be a literal interpretation of your industry or your brand name. Alternatively, imagery could be used to convey a metaphor related to your brand message.
Dodge’s ram logo for example is the ancient symbol of Aries and signifies authority, force, fearlessness and virility. It therefore communicates the message that Dodge is a brand for people who want to experience thrills and live life on the edge.
Font: With text-based logos (including wordmark, lettermark, emblem and combination logos), the font can be an important way to convey your company’s brand message and tone. Serif fonts typically add class and sophistication, while sans serif fonts are more informal and straightforward in tone. Recently there has been a trend towards more sans serif fonts simply due to readability, although many brands have still clung onto serif fonts.
A good example of a font in a logo that helps convey the message of the brand is the Disney logo. Based on the handwriting of Walt Disney, it has a soft and playful feel to it and is a means of keeping alive the spirit of Walt Disney himself.
Color: Different colors can each have their own connotations. Adding certain colors to your logo could therefore invoke certain emotions or remind customers of certain things. A few examples are listed below:
- Red is an energetic color and is often used in the logos of energizing products like Coca Cola, Red Bull. It is also used by many news sources and entertainment companies like ESPN, YouTube and CNN.
- Blue inspires trust and is often used by tech companies, financial companies and pharmaceutical companies. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, Paypal and Pfizer.
- Green is associated with the environment and is used by companies such as Animal Planet, Whole Foods and Greenpeace for this reason. Many food companies use it to suggest peace and freshness such as Starbucks and Tic Tac.
- Yellow reminds us of the sun and is a cheery color. It is more commonly used by B2C brands rather than B2B brands. Best Buy, McDonalds and Subway are a few brands that use yellow.
This guide at Just Creative delves more into how to use different colors within your logo.
Where should you display your logo?
The success of a logo also comes down to knowing where to display it. There are many different places that you can display your logo to help raise brand awareness. A few examples include
Signs: A sign outside your premises is an obvious place to display your logo. However, you could also incorporate it into other signs around your premises such as menus above counters or reception lobby signs.
Uniform: Allow customers to easily identify employees by printing your logo on your uniform. There are companies such as Mato & Hash that can produce such uniforms for you.
Vehicle: If you have a company vehicle, why not print your logo onto the side using a vinyl wrap? Bumper stickers and magnetic roof signs could be other ways to display your logo on your vehicle.
Website: Make sure that customers know they have arrived on the right website by placing your logo in a banner at the top. Logos can also be turned into favicons to identify which tab your website is.
Social media: When it comes to your company social media pages, it could also be important to display your logo in the page profile picture. You may also want to incorporate it into your banner, as well as any unique images or videos that you share as content or adverts.
Product/packaging: If you sell a product, consider printing or embossing your logo onto the product itself. If this is not possible, incorporate it into the packaging. Logos can also be printed on labels and bags.
Letters/emails: When sending company letters or emails, consider adding your logo to help add a sense of legitimacy. Logos can be used to sign off letters and emails, and also used in letter headers or as email profile pictures.
Business cards: When designing business cards to hand out, make sure to add your logo. It could help to make your business card look more professional. People who have lots of business cards in their wallet will also be able to easily find yours by looking for the logo.
Promotional merch: Finally, if you decide to produce promotional merchandise such as baseball caps or water bottles, you may want to consider printing your logo here too. Such products are brilliant for building brand awareness.
Is it time to produce your logo?
As you can see, a lot goes into designing a logo. It could therefore be worth hiring a professional designer to help you find the perfect logo rather than trying to create a logo yourself. Bear in mind all the above tips to make sure that your logo is a success!