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The logos of Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are some of the most recognizable in the world. Each has a distinct look and feel, and each represents a different industry, but they all help define the do’s and don’ts of great logo design.

Let’s take a look at those do’s and don’ts so you can get started on finding an iconic logo of your own.

1. Do your first designs in black and white.

The right color can make any logo pop, but it’s useful to know how that same logo looks in black and white. Here’s an easy test: print a copy of your logo on the office printer in black and white and see what it looks like. If the logo appears fuzzy or illegible, you need to go back to the design drawing board.

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2. Don’t add too many colors.

Color is a good thing, of course, but when it comes to logo design, it’s best to keep it in check. Strive for simple and keep your logo design to two or three colors tops. To make sure your design isn’t too busy, take the image and shrink it on your computer; if it looks blurry in this iteration, it’s time to cut some color.

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3. Do disconnect images from text.

You may think your logo is the perfect marriage of icon and text, but if you can separate the icon from the text, all the better. In today’s social media world, nothing gets shares like an icon. If you make your logo shareable, you make it an icon.

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4. Don’t pick the wrong font.

If you’ve fallen in love with a font because it looks great on the screen in front of you, test your relationship by seeing how it looks in other scenarios. Take it in from a distance or see how it looks when merged with the other fonts your brand uses in printed materials or on your site. If your newly selected font looks great in all of these settings, it just may be the font for you.

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5. Do drop the drop shadows.

Drop shadows may be a cool concept, but they make for especially heavy files that send incorrectly or don’t send at all. They can also create display problems and cause your logo to look off in print. The minor graphic impact they offer simply isn’t worth it.

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6. Don’t use clip art.

You’re trying to design a logo and you found the perfect little graphic in clip art. Now you’re done, and it was easier and more affordable than you ever thought possible. But here’s the problem: Clip art is essentially community art, and your easy, affordable solution is there for anyone else as well. That means while you’re trying to build your brand identity with your new logo, someone else could be doing the same thing with the same art — maybe even in the same industry. Additionally, the clip art means you can’t trademark it. Don’t trap yourself in the situation of an expensive rebranding effort; build your logo the right way the first time by opting for unique logo design, not clip art.

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7. Do avoid unnecessary words.

Wordiness doesn’t work in marketing copy, and it doesn’t work in logo design either. Think back to the logos we mentioned in the beginning. They work in large part because they’re simple. To create a memorable, shareable logo, you need to simplify everything. Separate the company name from the icon, opt for fewer words over more, and focus on the logo itself. Do so, and you will see the benefits.

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