Designing a logo takes time
I am sure that we all have come across a logo that stood out to us, and for many different reasons. Remember when Prince came out with his new name that was just a symbol/logo and we all stood there scratching our heads in confusion? Looking back on it now, I think it was genius because even today, many of us still recognize that logo and know that it refers to Prince. This is the type of branding that we are all looking for, a logo that people recognize at a glance (even without the brand's name attached). But what is it that makes the logo stand out?
There are many different ways to go about creating a logo, and even though you may look at it and say that is a simple design, it is not a simple process. It takes time to build the right logo and the process is multi-layered. So, where do you even start?
Start With Your Story
Your story is key. People are emotional creatures, and connecting with your brand on a personal level can help them remember you and the service or product you provide. Even before you start the logo design process, ask yourself what is your story. What is the story behind the brand/company you are creating this logo for? Take a moment and think about companies like Allstate and their commercial with actor Dean Winters’ who plays Mayhem, or GEICO and the little green gecko that is always there to help. Take a moment and write down “why” your company does what it does and that will be the foundation of what you are trying to convey. Your logo needs to evoke an emotion and the emotion will come from your story through color, typeface, and shapes.
Words that Describe Your Brand
Understanding your brand's story will help you describe your company. Using thesaurus.com can also help you in the journey of selecting the right words for your brand. It is also helpful to have some other people that you trust talk through these brainstorming sessions. Choose five words that describe “why” and five words that describe “what” your brand is about. This process helps build the foundation and refines the concept for your logo. You can also search for these keywords using google.com and view the images that result.
Find Visuals Based on Your Words
After you have found your ten keywords, it is time to look for images that evoke these words. I use shutterstock.com to find vector artwork or vector art. What is vector art? According to adobe.com, “Vector art is art that is made up of vector graphics. These graphics are points, lines, curves, and shapes that are based on mathematical formulas. When you scale a vector image file, it isn't a low resolution image and there is no loss of quality, so it can be sized to however large or small you need it to be.” Using Vector art is very important because of the ability to size it for something as small as a business card, or as large as a billboard while maintaining a high-quality image.
After you have completed this research it is time to sketch out your own ideas in the form of a thumbnail. Putting that down on paper is so important. What is a thumbnail? According to techtarget.com, “A thumbnail is a small image representation of a larger image, usually intended to make it easier and faster to look at or manage a group of larger images. Graphic designers and photographers typically use this term.” Keep it short and sweet, and try to convey the symbolic components in less than a minute. While drawing out your thoughts, remember to give yourself grace; these are just quick thumbnails of what your ideas are for your logo. Be truthful and unique about your thumbnail; this is not the time to be generic with Clipart. Clipart is used everywhere by everyone so they are not memorable.
Another option is to use a typeface for your logo and no symbol, but this really depends on your personal taste. Knowing who you are helps with this process. Asking questions like, am I a minimalist? Do I like simple logos? Do I like more ornate logos? Do I want my logo to be script? None of these things are wrong, it is just what you like and how you want your company to be portrayed. Your personality is a big part of your story and brand.
Once you have an idea about your logo, and if you want to use a symbol or not, it is now time to think about color. Choosing a color can be your best friend or worst enemy. Color is a very important part of the logo process and should not be taken lightly, which means more research. Choose one or two colors then look up their meaning. I do a google search for the meaning of colors, and share both the good and bad explanations that I find with my clients. For example, what are the meanings of the color green? “For many people, the color green has strong associations with nature and brings to mind lush grass, trees, and forests. Green is often described as a refreshing and tranquil color. Other common associations with the color green are money, luck, health, and envy.” Check out verywellmind.com for more information on this topic.
Creating Your Logo
Now that we have your thoughts on paper, it is time to find a graphic designer who can put it all together for you. I, of course, can assist you with that. These are some questions you should ask when hiring a graphic artist:
A portfolio of their work/website
Have they created logos before
How long is the design process and how many revisions are included
What is the cost
Always request the original vector art and ask for the design in different formats
Here are other platforms that you can try:
If you decide to try building your logo yourself, you need to think about specifications like how your logo will look vertically or horizontally, what color backgrounds your logo will have, and think of several versions using light colors or white for your logo in case the background is too dark.
Designing your logo is a process and should not be a cookie-cutter design or taken lightly. Putting thought into who you are and what your brand represents is very important. What does that representation look like as a logo? Do you use a symbol? Do you use a font only? Does the color have the meaning you are looking for?
One final step is to have your finished logo scored by using Logo Grader. The website states, “Using our free Logo Grader you can perform a quick (and painless) self-test on your new or current logo, scoring yourself based on industry best practices and ultimately see how your logo stacks up.”
I hope that my tips help you with your logo designing project.