Key Components to Designing Logos

Logos are a key component of branding. When designed well, a customer will immediately associate a logo with a given brand, boosting brand visibility and recognition. However, creating the perfect logo is easier said than done. To ensure you get it right, be sure to keep the following things in mind when designing your brand’s logo.

Strike the Right Balance Between Simplicity and Impact

When creating the perfect logo, you need to strike the balance between creating something that is visually clean and simple and something that is impactful. If you design something that is overly complex, it will be overwhelming – particularly when shrunk down to a smaller size to get on business cards or stationery, for example. However, go too simple, and your logo won’t have an impact. Logo success is all about hitting the sweet spot in between these two poles.

“Time and time again, new businesses create logos that are incredibly complex. They do this because they want to stand out from the competition, but you can easily stand out for all the wrong reasons,” John Rampton warned in Forbes. “The general rule of thumb for a logo is that it should be memorable enough so someone could easily draw it onto a piece of paper when prompted. Look at all the major brands of today and you will see that even the most novice artist could draw their logos. This is no coincidence. Simplicity sells because it’s what people remember. Most people will only look at the logo for less than a second when they see it before continuing on their way.”

With that said, visual simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean dull. Your logo should be impactful, catching customers’ eyes while conveying what your brand is all about. Is your brand young and playful? Sophisticated and refined? All good logos reflect a brand’s personality and its values in a way that resonates with the target audience. It’s certainly a tough challenge, but many of the world’s most prominent brands – from Apple to Nike – manage to pull it off well. For example, that famous Nike swish? A design student created it back in 1971. The logo reportedly signifies the wings of its namesake, the Greek goddess of victory, and is meant to convey speed, grace, and athletic triumph.

Invest in High-Quality Design  

Many brands make the mistake of assuming that they can just design their logos themselves. To put it simply, this really isn’t a good idea. Think of this way: Your logo will be on pretty much everything. On your employee’s business cards, on your website, on any brand apparel, on all of your brand’s marketing materials. The list goes on and on. You need something that looks good in a variety of settings, whether it is on a billboard 100 yards away or on a business card 3 inches away.

With something so visible, you really need to hit the nail on the head. In addition, you need to make sure the design is in the right format. You need something that is quality vector artwork – not something that you pulled together quickly in Microsoft Word. The best way to ensure a high-quality design is to seek out the services of a professional. Sure, it might be more expensive than a DIY approach, but it will be worth the investment in the long run.

“Just as you probably wouldn't let your cousin's intern son manage your accounting, the same should hold true for a logo. If you want to be taken seriously, hire a professional.” Charlie Riley told Forbes. “The cost will be worth it, as a trained designer will ask the right questions, research the competition, and create files that look crisp and work on all platforms you would show it on, such as different social media accounts and beyond.”

Think About Format

When initially thinking up ideas for a logo, you’re probably seeing ideas on a blank screen or a piece of paper. However, just because something looks great on a plain white background doesn’t necessarily mean that it will look great on everything. Your logo might look great against a light background, but it might be hard to see against a darker one. While certain gradients and intricate details might give your logo an intricate, edgy look, they might also make embroidery or other applications more difficult.

It is critical to do some testing to figure out how a logo will look on different backgrounds and materials before you make a final decision. Consider mocking up a few final contenders on different pieces of merchandise, for example, to see how a potential logo fares when it is printed on a T-shirt or a coffee mug. If you’re trying to choose between logos, this can be incredibly helpful when making a final decision.

Pay Attention to Color and Font

Once you’ve got the actual shape of your logo down, you will need to make sure you get the colors and fonts right. Fonts say a lot about personality. Some fonts are elegant and serious, while others are more playful and fun. The same goes for color.

“Colors in and of themselves have a lot of personality. In fact 80% of consumers say that color increases brand recognition,” Samantha Harrington explained in Forbes. “If you’re looking to use multiple colors in your logo or brand, studies show that people prefer color combinations in similar hues (like blues and purples). And if you’re looking for an accent color, the same study found that a color with a major contrast to your main palette is most effective.”

When designing your brand’s logo, make sure you spend the time and effort to get these kinds of details right.

Go for Something Timeless

You want a good logo to survive the test of time. After all, if you have to create a new logo every couple of years to accommodate changing trends, it defeats the purpose. The longer you have the same logo, the more you build up your brand recognition and visibility. So, when designing your logo, be cognizant not to make it too trendy. Instead, stick with something classic and timeless. 

“Trends are good, but fads can be deadly. A logo should have a long life expectancy. It may evolve and change over time like the little girl on the Morton salt shakers whose haircut is modern now, but the longer it stays nearly the same at its heart, the better brand recognition you'll get,” Kate L. Harrison explained in Forbes. “A good logo will have a sense of timelessness about it. A logo that feels anchored in a certain time period may become outdated or need substantial repurposing. The best logos change very little, yet feel fresh and vibrant.”

Get the Right File Formats

Last but not least, it is key that you make sure to get the common file formats from your designer. This will ensure that whether you are throwing the logo up on your company Facebook page or on a billboard, you are solid.

The bottom line is that a great logo can help every brand to succeed. The key is putting in the time, effort, and resources to ensure you’ve designed a logo that is truly compelling and meaningful. It's important to reach out to a team, like 10twelve, that can help you ensure your logo says everything about your brand you want it to.