Logo Design 101

 

Build your brand — and your business — with the right logo

Our comprehensive eBook answers all your questions about the logo design process:

  • Why do I need a logo?
  • What type of logo is right for me?
  • Why is branding important?
  • What makes a great logo?
  • How much should it cost?

Get these answers along with expert tips, real-world examples, do’s and don’ts, and design inspiration when you download our free Guide to Logo Design.

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Who needs a logo?

Everyone. No matter the size of your business, a logo is one of the most important branding elements you can have. It’s the key to getting your business noticed.

Too often, small business owners think a professionally designed logo is an expensive project only for the “big dogs.” But a great logo can be affordable — and is a must for every business.

How does a great logo benefit my business?

  • It’s the centerpiece for your marketing strategy
  • It associates a memorable symbol or image with your business
  • It’s a calling card, one of the first things a customer sees
  • It attracts visitors’ attention and immediately establishes what you do
  • It creates a positive first impression in the customer’s mind

Why do I need a logo?

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Logo Design & print marketing for small businesses
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A logo establishes credibility, legitimacy and professionalism

Your business gets judged in under 5 seconds. When a first impression is often the last impression, having a powerful logo is crucial. It says what your business does and what its values are. It conveys stability and reliability. When your logo looks professional, you look professional.

A logo builds customers’ trust

Create familiarity with your brand by displaying a strong logo on signage, websites, social media, storefronts, vehicles, letterhead, uniforms, business cards and packaging. Over time, a great logo firmly lodges in customers’ minds, builds trust and becomes inseparable from the brand itself.

Why do I need a strong brand?

Good branding starts with a strong logo, but is so much more. Branding creates a memorable impression of your business that builds trust, motivates employees and makes acquiring new customers easier.

1. Improve recognition

Your brand is the “face” of your company. Make it memorable — and strong enough to leave the desired impression.

2. Build financial value

Public companies are often valued at many times their actual hard assets because of their brands. The greater the devotion to building brand value, the better the financial return.

3. Create trust

A professional appearance builds credibility and trust. People are more likely to engage with a business that appears polished and legitimate.

4. Inspire employees

When employees understand your mission, they feel the same pride and will work to achieve your shared goals. A strong brand is a flag the company can rally around.

5. Generate new customers

Branding enables your company to get referral business. Could you tell a friend about the new shoes you love if you can’t remember the brand? Word of mouth referrals are only possible after you’ve delivered a memorable experience.

What makes a great logo?

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Meaningful text

Unless your logo is internationally recognized, adding your name to the graphic is crucial to building your brand awareness. That means text. Skilled graphic designers use various fonts to convey different meanings and associations.

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Eye-catching color

Simplicity is king when it comes to colors. Limit yourself to three or fewer; a single color may be all you need. Or you may not need any color at all — just striking black and white.

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A great graphic

When most people think of a brand’s logo, they think of the graphic. A strong logo looks good on mastheads, stationery, apparel, advertisements and the web. The graphic must be unique, not clip art or a copy of your competitor.

Which type of logo is right for my business?

Wordmark

Wordmarks are the most common type of logo. A wordmark relies on text, typeface and unique typography to express the brand’s identity. Wordmarks work best for companies whose names describe what they do or for those with distinctive names. They can be cost-effective for companies with limited marketing budgets that need to focus their efforts on building name recognition.

Lettermark

A lettermark is like a monogram for your business. Lettermarks are text-only, but they rely on initials to represent the brand. Lettermarks are great if your initials look better in graphics than your full company name. They can also create a visual link between subsidiaries and parent companies. Lettermarks often work best for companies that have sufficient existing brand recognition.

Brandmark

A brandmark is a symbol highlighting an aspect of the product or service the business sells. It represents the company by association and relies on the design’s ability to evoke emotion in a viewer. A brandmark works well if you need an emblem for your product, or if your name is long, nondescript or not easily translated for other regions. Subsidiaries can use it to associate themselves with parent companies.

Iconic

A marriage of a brandmark with a wordmark, iconic logos are also called combination logos. An iconic logo can be very effective in communicating both what a company does and what it stands for. Some of the most famous logos in the world are iconic, but this form works well for startups and small businesses, whose names may be distinctive but not yet widely recognized. An iconic logo is very effective in communicating brand identity.

 

Want to learn even more? Get the complete guide!

Download our logo eBook, it's free! » 
Or start your logo today
 

What colors should I use in my logo?

Color is a key consideration for all visual materials.

Keep it simple

The most successful logos are simple in terms of colors. In fact, two of the most basic colors — black and red — are used most frequently. Think of some of the world’s most successful logos, such as Pepsi, Coke and Starbucks, which use just one or two colors each.

Know what emotions you want to evoke, and which colors will do that

Identify the key emotional message you want your logo to communicate and choose colors to convey that emotion:

 

Red

bold, loud,
sexy, edgy

 

Orange

creative, cheery,
fun, youthful

 

Yellow

cheery, sunny,
optimism

 

Green

growth, organic,
instructional

 

Purple

wise, blissful,
spiritual

 

Pink

flirty,
youthful

 

Blue

professional, calming,
trustworthy

 

black

powerful, strong,
masculine

 

White

pure, innocent, clean,
simple, crisp

 

Brown

rural,
historic

 

Grey

neutral,
calm

 

 

 

Know your target audience and what’s likely to resonate with them

Color relatability can be generational and gender-specific. Both men and women say blue is their favorite color and brown their least favorite, but women also like purple, whereas men don’t care for it at all. On the other hand, men are slightly more partial to black.

Choose colors befitting your brand identity

Are you a steward of the environment? Green speaks of responsibility. Are you a trailblazer? Orange creates an impression of aggressive energy. Choose colors that fit your corporate identity, whether it’s serious sophistication (black), or light and whimsical (yellow).

Choose colors that make your logo look good no matter where

Your logo should appear everywhere — from stationery and signage to packaging and products. How will your colors look on all these applications? Will they play as well on a business card as they do on a billboard? Test-drive different logo colors in different real-life marketing situations.

What fonts should I use for my logo?

Typefaces are as important as color. Consider what the look of your text says to clients and potential customers:

  • Script fonts: elegant, affectionate, creative
  • Serif fonts: traditional, reliable
  • Sans serif: stable, steady, clean
  • Modern: strong, stylish
  • Display: friendly, unique

What’s a style guide? Do I need one?

Yes! It’s important to have a style guide laying out standards for the visuals and copy associated with your brand. A style guide maintains consistency across your organization — no matter how large or small.

Here are six elements to think about when developing your guide. After the guide is complete, share it with your employees and revisit it annually to see if updates are needed.

1. Business mission or essence

Explain what your company is about in clear language. Start by describing the essence of your business. What does it stand for? How does it look and feel? Convey that in a straightforward, visual way. For example, you might describe your brand as “modern, friendly and a trusted advisor.”

2. Logo

Your style guide should include your logo in various sizes and file formats, and guidelines dictating how and where the logo may be used. For example, if you have multiple taglines for your company, the logo might only be used in combination with specific ones. Or you may have restrictions on changing the color, size, aspect ratio or appearance of the logo in any way.

3. Fonts

Outline which fonts and sizes are considered the company standard.

4. Voice

Voice guidelines are helpful for copywriters or marketing professionals working with your brand. A financial institution might describe its voice as “Formal and conservative, with data-heavy copy and an academic tone.” Another business may be “A down-home brand that uses simple sentences, storytelling and country language to appeal to a rural lifestyle audience.”

5. Colors

Brands typically have an associated color palette. These may be general, such as “our colors are green and gold,” or more specific, such as referring to standard RGB color numbers. In some instances, certain colors may not be used.

6. Images

Are there certain types of imagery that fit with your brand style? Provide clear guidelines to simplify selecting photos for creative materials.

What are logo design best practices?

Keep it clean and simple

A clean and uncluttered logo triggers positive human responses. Simple says certainty and stability.

Be effective at any size

Your logo should appear as perfect on huge billboards as it does on business cards and social media.

Have a three-second hook

A potential customer should be able to catch on to the meaning of your business logo design within three seconds of first glimpse.

Be timeless, not trendy

It’s tough to support current messaging with a dated or irrelevant logo.

Be memorable and motivating

The world’s best logos imprint on the brain and trigger action.

Show, don’t tell

A well-designed logo is recognizable after a certain introductory period without the company name.

Look good in black and white

Well-designed logos are recognizable — and stay just as strong — when printed in black and white.

Be pro-produced

Enlisting the help of a professional design team ensures you avoid many common mistakes that amateurs often make.

 

Download the complete guide!

Want to know even more about logos? Get all the secrets to great logo design when you download our comprehensive eBook:

  • The nuts and bolts of the design process
  • Logo do’s and don’ts
  • Creative strategies and tips written by logo experts
  • Case studies and inspiration
  • Answers to all your logo questions — and to questions you didn’t even think to ask
Download our logo eBook, it's free! »

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