If you think the saying “first impressions last” is cliche, it really is not. In fact, in the first 10 seconds that someone encounters your brand, an impression is already being made. Along with this often comes a decision.
Think about that for a minute. Long before you’ve said a single word, your brand has already been judged by your logo. Long before they got to your slogan, someone already decided to buy or not to buy from you. Ten seconds is such a small window to make an impact, but your logo is the best way to do it.
Your Logo Captures What You Are About
Every good logo stands out for all the right reasons. Whenever you make a logo to represent your company, it has to have the elements that symbolize exactly what you are. Let’s take a very easy example: FedEx.
The logo is as clear as it gets. You have a blue and orange color scheme, and just the words “FedEx.” But if you haven’t seen this yet, you’ll never unsee it again:
Yes: there’s an arrow in the white space between E and x. If that’s not a succinct way to show off what FedEx is all about, then nothing is.
When designing your own logo, keep in mind what you want to say about your company. Whether in your color choice, font choice, or through clever design like FedEx’s, your logo can also standout.
In trying to capture the essence of your brand, ask yourself a few simple questions:
– What is my business about?
– What do I want to say about my brand through my logo?
– What makes us special?
– What do we believe in?
Answering these questions go a long way towards helping you narrow down what your logo will look like.
Where do I find inspiration for my logo?
We already know that a logo is important because it’s the best way to create a strong first impression. The most iconic of brands often also have the most memorable logos, and coming up with one for your own brand is definitely a challenge.
Obviously, the easiest way to find inspiration for your logo is to look through successful brands with memorable logos. If you want to narrow that scope down further, think about brands that are similar or even competing with yours.
From there, brainstorm! There’s no reason to do your logo on your own when you have a few reliable people who can help you come up with ideas and give instant feedback to how your work in progress looks. The most creative people tend to work with other creative people, and it always helps to have others to bounce ideas off of.
By the time you finish brainstorming, you should reliably have a few initial designs you like. Involve other people you can count on to give you feedback until you arrive at the logo that really speaks to you.
How not to do a logo
We’ve discussed the basics of coming up with a logo, but over time, we’ve also discovered quite a few things that simply don’t work. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but overall, you want to avoid the following pitfalls:
Don’t make your logo too busy – when you want to say something about your brand visually, limit it to an element or two. Imagine a logo with 5 different symbols that all grab your attention. What is it trying to say? Can your target process it in the first 10 seconds? If not, keep it simple!
Don’t ignore your customers – if multiple customers tell you that your logo doesn’t look good, they might have a point. Remember, that logo is there to attract them. If it turns them off, then that’s the exact opposite of what you want.
Don’t randomly select colors and fonts – especially not Comic Sans. There are a lot of choices involved in logo design, but it should be easy to look up what a color represents and what feelings certain fonts evoke. Spare yourself the agony of guesswork and do some research!
The Types of Logo Designs
There are countless ways to design a logo, and we won’t be enumerating all of them here. Nonetheless, here are a few things to consider when finalizing your logo design:
– Are you aiming for a classic, timeless design?
– Are you looking to do a retro or old-timey design?
– Are you aiming for something contemporary or minimalist?
– Are you looking to be unique and quirky?
– Are you trying to accomplish something else entirely?
As always, let your brand and your brand image guide how you’d design your logo accordingly. After all, why go for a classic design when your product is screaming “edgy” and “unusual?” That’s your clarion call to be unique and quirky!
Not everything will be as cut and dried as these categories, though. Sometimes, you want to do a hybrid, if that’s possible. Or maybe you want to do an ambigram, because those look really impressive. Whatever the case may be, here’s one last important thing to remember…
You almost never want to do a logo on your own.
This advice is often ignored by people looking to save themselves some money, often to disastrous results.
The reality is, when you see a guide about designing logos, it’s usually provided for you with the implicit expectation that you’re going to be using the guide to communicate exactly what you want to your designer. If you’re a designer, then great, chances are, you can do that logo on your own.
But if you’re not, you definitely want to leave it in the hands of professionals, with you just overseeing the process and using guides like these to nail down exactly what you want. Logo design can make or break a brand, and professionals who know exactly how to make logos professionally can give you the leg up you need to stand out in the market.
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