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.GET THE EBOOKOr start your logo today
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.
Why do I need a logo?
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?
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.
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.
Which type of logo is right for my business?
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.
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:
pure, innocent, clean,
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.”
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.
Outline which fonts and sizes are considered the company standard.
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.”
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.
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.
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