So, you want to design a logo for your company or organization. It may seem simple, but ask any good designer, and they’ll tell you it’s not. Designing a logo is a complex process that requires careful consideration and strategic thinking. If hiring a designer isn’t an option for you, don’t worry! We’re here to guide you through the process. We’ve enlisted the help of three experienced designers to share their expertise and show you how to create a logo you’ll love.
What Exactly is a Logo?
You probably have a clear image in your mind when you think of a logo, like Nike’s swoosh or Apple’s iconic apple with a bite. But what exactly is a logo? A logo is a symbol or design used to identify a company or organization, as well as its products, services, and employees. It’s the face of your business and how it’s recognized and remembered among others. Your logo also has the potential to make a statement about your organization. For example, Amazon’s smiley arrow represents their extensive product range and the happiness of their customers. However, it’s important to note that while a logo can convey meaning, it doesn’t have to. Many companies overly emphasize the importance of logos. Keep in mind that a logo is just one piece of the puzzle.
What a Logo Isn’t:
- Your brand: Your logo is not your brand. Your brand is intangible; it’s your reputation, what people think of when they hear your name, and how you make them feel.
- Your visual identity: A logo is just one component of a larger visual system that includes colors, typography, visuals, and layout.
- An indicator of success: A logo alone won’t make or break your business. Enron had a good logo, but their ethical code wasn’t, and Two Men and a Truck, with their simple stick figure logo, is a billion-dollar company.
Now that we’ve clarified what a logo is and isn’t, let’s dive into the process of designing one.
How to Design a Logo: 5 Essential Steps
Before we get started, keep in mind these two key points:
- Design is strategic: Creating a logo involves a lot of strategic thinking and decision-making. Be prepared to spend more time on the planning phase than the actual design process.
- It’s not just about the logo: Remember that your logo is just one part of a larger visual system. All the elements should work together harmoniously.
To create a logo that truly represents your brand, follow these five phases:
Phase One: Discover
Goal: The discovery phase is all about gathering information and understanding your company, its values, and your goals. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why do you want a new logo?
- What is the meaning behind your company name?
- Who are your target audiences and main competitors?
- What are your goals for the logo?
- Who are your brand role models?
- What do you want people to feel when they see your logo?
Process: Answer these questions in detail, capturing your company’s essence and vision. This will shape your creative strategy—the foundation for the entire design process.
Deliverable: Summarize your answers in a creative strategy document. This document will guide your design decisions and serve as a reference point throughout the process.
Phase Two: Explore
Goal: This phase involves researching and getting inspired by existing designs. It’s time to gather ideas and explore the design landscape.
Process: Start by familiarizing yourself with design principles like style, color, and typography. Look at your competitors and other brands outside your industry. Observe their visual systems across multiple channels and take notes on what stands out to you.
Deliverable: Create a mood board to collect images, designs, color combinations, and logos that convey the look and feel you want for your brand identity.
Phase Three: Design
Goal: The design phase is where the fun begins. This is the time to use all the insights from the previous phases and start creating your logo.
Process: Consider the tools you’ll need for designing, such as pencil and paper, vector graphic software, or online logo design tools. Familiarize yourself with logo types, such as word marks, brand marks, and abstract logo marks. Explore different fonts and symbols that align with your brand’s personality.
Deliverable: After considering various options, select at least one logo design to evaluate, or have a few choices to compare in the next phase.
Phase Four: Refine
Goal: In this phase, it’s time to narrow down your options and refine your logo design.
Process: Evaluate your designs based on their simplicity, memorability, and evocativeness. Consider where and how you’ll use the logo, both digitally and in print. Test it against different backgrounds and make sure it remains impactful as your brand grows. Create a black and white version of your logo for versatility.
Deliverable: Choose a final logo design that reflects your brand’s identity and meets the evaluation criteria.
Phase Five: Define
Goal: To ensure consistency and quality in your logo’s use, define guidelines that outline how your logo should be treated.
Process: Consider factors like logo size, color, orientation, and positioning. Establish rules that limit modifications or distortions to your logo. This will help maintain a strong and recognizable visual identity.
Deliverable: Create a style guide or guidelines that communicate your logo’s specifications and rules. Make sure these guidelines are easily accessible to everyone.
Designing a logo is a complex process, but with careful planning and consideration, you can create a logo that truly represents your brand. Take your time going through each phase and remember that your logo is just one piece of your overall brand identity. Your logo alone won’t build your brand; it’s the people behind your brand who make the difference.