You’re an entrepreneur and you want people to remember your brand by having a catchy logo.
There’s just one small issue: you don’t know where to start.
You’re in the right place, friend. We’re about to ultimately guide you and show you exactly how to design a logo that’s not just good-looking and unforgettable, but helps you achieve your business goals too.
The perfect logo
Designing a logo isn’t easy. A perfect logo takes time to develop because you’re not just creating an image that people will like, you’re building your brand’s visual identity.
While that might sound daunting at first, remember that creating a new logo is a rare opportunity for your business to make a lasting statement about your brand personality. If you do it right, your business can take customer engagement to the next level.
Creating logos requires market research and an understanding of your brand identity and customer persona. Your new logo design should be based on research and not just aesthetics.
In this guide, you will be introduced to all the things that you will need to factor in when designing a logo. Make sure to follow these steps and your business will come out on the other side with a high-quality professional logo.
Step 1. Identify your business needs
Logos have a big impact on customer perception. It is often the first impression that a customer has of your business, whether that be walking past your product on a shelf, past your store on the street, or the profile picture on your social media account.
Good logo designs go hand in hand with strong brand recognition and as such changing your logo can be a risk.
If your business is already up and running and performing well then investing in a new logo design might not be the best use of your marketing budget. However, all the steps listed in this guide are also a good way to critique your current logo and decide if a change is necessary.
For example, you might not need to change your logo entirely but if your business wants to expand into new markets it might be worth researching color combinations, fonts, and design elements that test well in different countries and use that information to tweak your logo as you expand (more on that later).
Since your business logo makes up such a large part of your brand, you will want to make sure to hire a professional to design a logo that is worth having. Remember that all of your branding materials will include your logo. A bad logo will make your website, your packaging, and your business cards stick out like a sore thumb so make it count.
A great, custom logo design and a free logo design are usually mutually exclusive but that’s not to say there is nothing to be gained from using a logo maker (stick around for that.) Logo design has the power to reinforce your company name and drive home exactly what you stand for.
For now, though, let’s assume that your business is just getting started and you want to create a logo that will make your brand stand out from day one. If that is the case then it is time to start thinking seriously about your brand values.
Step 2. Define your brand identity
Your logo should communicate your brand’s personality. From the color palettes to the business name to the people you are trying to sell to, everything should be wrapped up in one simple image.
Sounds simple, right?
Obviously not, in order to accomplish all those things you will first need to get a grasp of your brand’s core identity. Get it right and people will adore your brand, you could even start selling t shirts.
When you arrive at a clear understanding of what makes your brand yours – it will be that much easier for you to decide on fonts or color or shape or social media strategy or appropriate marketing messaging.
Remember though, all these things are just elements of the larger picture of your brand, but they do not define your brand identity.
Before you pick any of those things, you should be asking yourself a few questions about your company. The answers are your brand identity and you can use that information to make a start on the logo design elements listed above.
- What inspired you to start this company?
- What beliefs and values are important to us as a company?
- Who are our customers, and how do they like to perceived and treated?
- What is our biggest talent?
- What is our unique selling point?
- What emotions define your product right now?
- What emotions would you like to define your product?
- What emotions do your customers associate with your product?
To give you a clearer picture, let’s take a look at Toblerone’s logo design:
The chocolate brand uses a picture of a mountain to illustrate the shape of its chocolate bar. With a closer look, you’ll also notice that there’s a silhouette of a bear within the mountain.
This hidden silhouette is a link to the company’s history. Toblerone was founded in Bern, Switzerland, which is famously known as City of Bears.
With that information in the bag, it is time to decide what to do with it.
Step 3. Understand your options
What are the three essential elements of logo design?
- Brand name
Well, yes and no.
While these are all important, it is not necessary to include all three. It is just common practice.
Even if you do stump for the classic configuration, there is little stopping you from playing around with it. For example, an online logo for a website of an eCommerce company could well be animated. Even traditional brick and mortar companies could make the same effect with some well-placed neon bulbs.
For many, the toughest part of designing a logo is in knowing what options you have available to you. And to get a head start on that you should take the time to brainstorm some logo design ideas.
If you’re a creative person rather than a pragmatic type, it can help to pool together all the ideas you can muster and then think critically about your brand to start whittling down the numbers.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and try to include some people in your brainstorming session that are not directly related to your enterprise. A fresh pair of eyes can take away your bias as a business owner and offer your business some well-needed perspective on how to design a logo.
There’s no such thing as a bad idea, just bad planning. If you’re struggling to see how the brainstorming ideas might fit together, think about adding them all to a mood board. This can help you understand which ideas fit aesthetically and from there you can begin to refine the logo ideas to ones that fit your company name.
If you are really struggling, consider plugging some of your company keywords into a logo maker such as Zyro AI Business Logo Generator. It might not be a replacement for a graphic designer and an advertising exec but it will certainly offer some inspiration and its logo templates are perfect for new businesses trying to make a name for themselves.
Step 4. Explore your niche
When we say explore your niche, we mean scope the competition. What are the key elements of their logo design? What similarities are there? What differences?
If you want to design a logo as effective as those of your competition, start at the top and work down. As a brand gets less popular but retains a similar aspect of the leading logo, you can safely assume that this element has an emotive tie for the customer and it is worth finding a way to integrate it into your own logo without infringing on copyright of course.
If you have ever been to the supermarket Aldi, you will understand the power of imitation. However, imitation is the easy way out, no matter how effective it might be. If you believe in your product and think it could disrupt the market it is time to conduct more market research.
Try to find some common thread in your customer base that your competitors are not including in their own logos and your business may well have found its own space in the niche.
Social media is a good place to start interacting with customers or to check on the communications of your rivals. Make sure not to overstep the boundaries legally, but other than that it is essentially a free game.
Step 5. Pick your style
Just like choosing the right fonts ( and we will get into that soon ), to design a logo properly you will need to think about what kind of logos are out there.
It is a logo’s job to be appropriate, outstanding, and more than anything communicative. They say a picture paints a thousand words so if you pick the wrong style for your logo design you may as well have written an angry letter to your customer base.
Now that you have a solid idea of what your customers expect and what your competition is doing it is time to translate all that information into logos that you would be proud to print on t shirts, plaster across social media, on your website, and most importantly represent your company name in the wider world of business.
Generally, logo design can be split into a few simple brackets that your company can choose from:
A classic logo is the kind of logo you might use if you are a company that wants to inspire trust in your customer base.
Your logo’s credibility is going to be judged if you are a legal firm or a historic business. A classic logo is there to inspire trust and experience. Logos of this kind are often used by companies offering high-value, single purchase, or artisanal products, where quality and expertise are the main expectations of the client.
Classic logos often use serif fonts as these typefaces are often associated with authority and credibility.
Retro logos have been popular for some time now as many brands are latching on to the idea that nostalgia can be a powerful driver for sales.
Color is often important in a vintage logo – you would be unlikely to use a neon color scheme if you were trying to evoke a feeling of homeliness. You might try using script fonts for your logo tagline in order to suggest a vintage feeling.
Think about a brand like Pepperidge Farm, a food company with a long history that many buyers remember from their childhood. Even the company name Pepperidge Farm suggests a softer, deindustrialized process despite the fact that it is an incredibly large company.
Minimalist logos utilize a lot of whitespace, similar to a modern minimalist website, they are clean and simple and popular with companies that need an online logo.
In terms of design, a minimalist logo fits best to a modern website. They often feature a simple color scheme and are easily scalable for use anywhere. To achieve this, many logos are saved as a vector file (this will be covered in a later section.)
The minimalist logo is a great design for social media and can usually be translated into a profile picture, banner image, or even a tiny chat icon.
Customers tend to associate minimalist logo design with a forward-thinking, modern company.
Once you have your logo style set in place, there are a number of font options that you can use to complement it when you need to print your company name.
Step 6. Choose the right font
Picking the right type of font is no less important than designing the symbol graphics. Just like images, fonts evoke different emotions.
To help you narrow down the choices, pick a font based on its category: serif, sans serif, display, or script.
Serif fonts are characterized by the little strokes at the end of each letter. They are a more old-fashioned typeface but buyers associate them with a level of credence.
Serif fonts are perfect for a brand that wants a logo that will make them appear more elegant. It is considered to be a timeless logo design, as demonstrated by Vogue:
Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, do not have those little strokes.
As such, sans serif fonts are the go-to choice for creating a sleek and modern logo. Some brands that use sans serifs are Chanel, Google, and Microsoft.
If you’re creating a logo for a personal brand, consider using a script or cursive fonts. The handwritten-style adds a touch of authenticity and personal charms to your design.
Finally, a display font or typeface is one that is used specifically for titles, logos, or headlines. They are often highly stylized, bold, or presented in 3D. They are not intended for extended bodies of text but rather to really catch the eye in one word.
Think about the classic 90s graffiti typeface. The way it seems to lift off the wall and make a statement in just a few letters, this is an example of a display typeface and it can make your business brand stand out.
Whichever typeface you choose, remember that it can form a really powerful part of your brand image. If your company sold computers, it wouldn’t make much sense to run with a serif font.
Try combining different types of logo fonts with each other to see what fits. You don’t necessarily have to stick to just one type but over-stuffing your text can become confusing for the reader.
Step 7. Account for your color scheme
A different color can put a whole new spin on your logo. It has long been understood that customers associate different colors with different emotions or lifestyles.
By picking one that suits your brand style, your customers will for a subconscious link between your brand and those emotions or ethics.
This is why it is important to define your brand before you do anything else as it has so much impact on every choice you make down the line.
Let’s see the meaning behind some logo colors you can use in your logo design:
- Red — A red logo design radiates passion, excitement, and determination
- Green — A green logo design is often related to health and nature, or having a calm personality
- Blue — Use a blue logo design to inspire confidence, calmness, and trustworthiness
- Yellow — A yellow design shows a warm and cheerful personality
- Black — This color will always be number one. It gives a modern look and conveys a sense of elegance and professionalism
- White — A white design provides contrast, it is good if you want to create a simple and minimalist logo
- Purple — A logo design that features a lot of purples suggests a sense of creativity and whimsy
Just choose the primary color, and these tools will automatically create beautiful color schemes for your logo.
On a side note, be mindful when adding colors. As a rule of thumb, don’t use more than three colors, as the logo will come across as brash or visually confusing.
Still, that doesn’t mean that your logo has to be completely monochromatic. Remember that one of the biggest companies in the world, Google, uses a multicolored logo. If you want to try a multicolored logo, use a color wheel to help you understand which colors compliment each other and which colors don’t.
Generally speaking, you can choose from two types of multicolored logo:
Complementary – A complementary color scheme chooses colors from across the color wheel such as blue and orange for a bold contrast
Analogous – Analogous colors are those that fall close to each other on the color palette, when used correctly it gives a cohesive look.
Step 8. Consider your logo’s versatility
If you want your brand to be remembered, coming up with a beautiful logo is not enough.
Your logo also has to be versatile, meaning that it should look good anywhere. This should mean you don’t have to create different logos for different projects.
For that reason, ensure that your logo will appear clearly on any background.
Test and preview your logo on different platforms like web pages, packaging, and business cards before launching it.
All details — including lines, fonts, and colors — must remain visible when rendered in a small size.
A versatile logo fits any background and can even be used in different colors. To see how it works, let’s see how Coca Cola use its logo on different products:
Step 9. Make it memorable
A creative logo doesn’t have to be a complex logo. Some of the world’s most famous – such as the Android logo, or the Apple logo – are just one simple icon. Your company doesn’t have to make it overly sophisticated.
When these companies were thinking about how to design a logo, the first thought was about mass appeal and how to design a logo that everyone can identify with.
Remember, one of your main objectives in logo design is to make your logo memorable. To achieve this, simplicity is the way to go.
Avoid complex designs, using too many words, or symbols that are not easily read or understood. If your logo is not comprehensible in a split-second then it is certainly not memorable and is definitely over-complicated.
One way to practice this is to think about a selection of companies, can you remember the design of their logo? Let’s try it:
- Yves Saint Laurent
The chances are you got five out of five and that is without including a name like McDonald’s, Nike, or Starbucks on the list.
That is how powerful a good design for your logo can be.
Can you identify what makes them remarkable? Once you’ve found the reasons, see if it applies to your logo and use it to your advantage.
On the other hand, don’t hinder your creativity for the sake of simplicity. Pour all of your ideas out, make the first draft, and then simplify and perfect it later.
Step 10. Get a second opinion
Feedback is essential to everything that your company does. Whether that be employee feedback, reporting, or customer feedback. Feedback is the way for your company to stay in touch with its reputation.
In order to make sure that your logo is well-received, your company should test it with focus groups that are representative of your target market.
You could even try A/B testing on your website or newsletter if you are just making a small change to your logo and seeing if those small edits make any sort of measurable impact on your day to day operations.
It is also not uncommon for a company to hire a few different designers to work on a logo. That way you can display a number of different options to investors, employees, and customers to see which one is most agreeable.
Be open to constructive criticism. You can’t please everyone, but if you are receiving a similar complaint from several different groups it would be worth taking your design back to the drawing board.
One exception to this is if your brand already has a loyal following. Some customers will be resistant to change if they identify strongly with one logo. A good example of this is sports. When a sports team changes its logo there is often a large outcry from the fans who feel that they have invested in a brand more than many other demographics.
However, if you can prove that in the long run, this change will bring success, your customers are likely to get on board. That is why it is important to get different opinions from different parts of your company. From that point on, it is up to you to decide which group’s interest is most important moving forward.
Step 11. What to avoid
Obviously, it wouldn’t be the ultimate guide to creating a logo if we didn’t include the things that you need to avoid when creating your logo.
- A generic logo – Just like your company name, your company logo doesn’t have to do exactly what it says on the tin. Your photography company doesn’t need to have a camera on the logo. Photography is a creative profession and if you want to attract customers, you ought to have a creative logo, the same would apply to your company name.
- One dimensionality – Consider the size, positioning, orientation, and layout of your logo and ask yourself if your logo works on top of any color or image (white text with a black outline can be read on any colored background.)
- Settling for second best – A free logo is rarely going to be a great logo. Free logo tools such as the Zyro AI Logo Generator can help you generate ideas for your brainstorming sessions and offer good mock-ups to take to your designer. At a push, these can be place holder logos when you are getting started but you will want to upgrade to a custom logo as soon as possible. Remember that the reputation of your name is at stake.
- Jumping on the bandwagon – Following a trend might make you a quick buck but in the end it will leave your company looking outdated. Trends are better left for marketing campaigns that can be chopped and changed on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Your logo is your main brand identifier and it should represent your company regardless of what is hot and what is not.
Step 12. Bring it all together
Your company finally has a logo. Now it is time to bring everything together and relaunch your brand in its new format.
Your logo is the foundation for all your branding materials and as such your company is going to need to engage in a total overhaul of its marketing efforts.
That means new social media, new adverts, new packaging, new website design, and even new stationary. Don’t underestimate the cost and time involved in creating a logo and in its implementation.
This is going to be the face of your company as you move forwards and to keep a professional look you will need to keep everything on the same page.
Step 13. Keep testing
It isn’t over just because your company has made its logo.
Any successful owner will tell you that your company never sleeps and a good start for your brand does not necessarily ensure a successful future.
A healthy company moves in cycles. Once you have made it to step thirteen it is time to go directly back to step one. Identify your company’s needs because it will change as your company grows.
To stay ahead of the game your best bet is to keep testing, keep conducting market research, and keep making sure that your company logo is a great fit for your brand.