Making your own logo can be a fun experience. It can also be an extremely confusing one. Especially if you’ve never dabbled with graphic design before.
As with everything online. There are a set of standards and guidelines that go into creating an awesome logo for your business or brand.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be a wiz with ratios and dimensions. And no. You don’t need to have a degree in graphic design. (If you do, you probably don’t need this guide.)
Obviously, those looking for information about how to create a logo are new to the game. And you guys are the ones that we are going to focus on.
Today we want to look at what goes into making a great logo. And what rules you should follow when doing it yourself.
Think of a Visual Concept
Your logo should be a simplified and stripped back visual that encompasses the heart of your brand.
Something that many newbies do is try to find an icon that is a literal image of their service or product. This method is very hit and miss.
Yes. It can work. As an example, an organic farm could use an image of a green tractor. But this could also be misconstrued as a business that sells vehicles.
If you truly want to create a business logo that represent your brand, think outside of the box. Don’t think of it as an image that represents a product or service. Think of it as an image that encompasses the whole brand in one.
More than an Image
Your business logo should be recognisable from the get-go. But, a simple image can make it difficult to convey your message. It can also make it confusing if there is a competitor with a similar logo.
When creating your design, try to leave enough space for your business name and a slogan. In fact, you can use your business name or brand name as the main visual, accented with a small image or icon.
If your business or brand does not have a slogan, fear not. You can make it use of that extra space. If your business or brand name consists of two words, you could stack them vertically instead of using a horizontal layout.
The font that you choose to use is equally as important as any icons or images. It should be bold, clear and easy to read. You could use a fancy scroll font, but remember that logos are small and this can make the text impossible to understand.
To Caps or Not to Caps
When using a typeface as part of your logo, you need to decide whether you will use uppercase or lowercase.
The use of lowercase letters creates a more relaxed and approachable feel to your brand. But it can also give your logo less of a visual impact.
Using uppercase letters (caps) gives your logo a striking look that exudes a sense of authority and modern structure. You only have to look at some of the biggest brands in the world to realise how effective uppercase can be as part of your design.
Regardless of which case you decide to use for your business name or brand name. Any slogan or tagline should be lowercase words; each properly capitalised.
Choose your Fonts Wisely
Would there really be any point in putting your brand name into your logo if people don’t know what it says?
There are literally millions of different fonts out there. Which one you choose to use is entirely up to you. But whichever one it is, make sure it is easy to read.
If you decide on a fancy handwriting font. Reduce the amount of artwork in your logo. The aim of the game is to have people remember who you are from a single glance at your logo.
Anything that detracts from your brand name is a bad thing. Fancy fonts can also look extremely ugly if used solely with uppercase. If you really must use a handwriting font, choose one with gentle curves and thick lines.
Remember. Your choice of font reflects your business or brand. If you are a legal firm, you clearly are not going to choose comic sans or any other cartoon-like text. If you want people to take you seriously. Stick with a classic font that looks and feels professional.
We’ve spoken about trends in one of our other blog posts. But in case you haven’t seen that, logo trends are not a good thing.
Think about it. Back in the 80’s, mullets, perms and neon shell suits were a big thing. Fast forward a few years into the nineties and it was all about bootleg jeans, denim on denim and catalogue fashion. Enter the millennium and it all changed again.
Basically, what we are saying is that what is popular today most likely won’t be tomorrow. And as you really don’t want to be changing your logo once you have created it. You could be left with something that looks outdated and irrelevant in a couple of years.
This, again, is where timeless simplicity has the edge. A simple image without any references to times, dates or trends can last your business a lifetime. And keeping the same logo let’s your customers instantly recognise you today, tomorrow and well into the future.
Give your Logo Breathing Space
You want people to look at your logo and feel happy to see it. There is nothing more uncomfortable for people than seeing something that looks cramped and closed in.
If you are using a frame around your logo, make sure your logo has room to breathe. By this, we mean do not place the frame just a couple of pixels away from the visual elements of the design.
This also means that you want to give your logo plenty of space between the edges of the image. It’s all about perspective. It is better to have a logo that is a few pixels smaller than a logo that is larger but looks squashed.
It’s also important to note that different platforms will display your images differently. What looks great on your website could be cropped or distorted when uploading it to social media.
You should also think about where your logo will be uploaded. Profile photos uploaded on Instagram are cropped into a circle shape. This is also true on Google + and Facebook.
If you are using it as your cover photo on your Facebook page. Your profile photo and page name will be placed over it. You don’t want anything covering your logo, and breathing space can prevent this from happening.
Lastly, you want to think about your colour choices carefully. We could get into that now. But as we already have an entire post covering how to use colours in your logo, we recommend that you read that.
Creating your own logo from scratch can be a time-consuming process. But when you think about everything that you will learn along the way, it is definitely worth the effort.