11 Must Know Logo Design Tips for Small Business Owners

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This article was originally posted on justcreative.com.

“Your logo can make or break your business. Why? Because it tells a story about your business and communicates its unique value proposition.

It’s the first thing your customers see and it’s the first thing that will be judged when someone makes a purchase decision.

Your business is probably amazing. You have a great team, lofty goals, and a great product or service. However, if no one knows about your company, you’ll never achieve the success you want.

This is why having a good logo is so important. It’s your first salesperson, customer representative, marketer, and brand builder, all in one. It’s the essence of your business, which makes your company’s logo design so important.

But don’t worry, there’s no pressure! Whether you are designing your own logo or providing feedback to a logo designer we’re here to help with the most important design tips. Follow these below and your logo and company will stand out in the hearts and minds of your consumers.

Fitting that this is the first tip. Logo design may seem easy at first, but you’ll quickly find how hard the design process is. It’s important to start with a basic set of assumptions when designing the logo for your business. Even if you want to add shock value by breaking the design rules with your logo, you at least have to know what rules to break in the first place.

Therefore, learning the basic rules of design is important when brainstorming your company logo.

Logos can be distinctive, bold, practical, shocking, or understated. But, all design principles are the same. First, a logo needs to be simple. There’s no point overdoing it. However, company logos should also be memorable and enduring, standing up to the test of time. So there’s a balance you’ll need to achieve. Finally, company logos need to be versatile and appropriate for the intended audience. Also learn how much a logo design costs.

It’s possible to achieve all of these things by understanding logo design 101. In fact, all of these things are logo design 101.

Now, it may seem as if none of this matters if you outsource your logo design to a graphic designer. Wrong. It’s always important to understand the entire process, so even if you do decide to hire a logo designer to help, you’ll know what to expect. The same principle goes for tip number one, above. Familiarity with the basics of logo design will help you produce the best logo, regardless of whether you design it yourself or not.

It’s therefore important to establish your own design process, either with yourself, internal team members, or a graphic designer. This betters the communication and streamlines the overall process.

Start with a design brief. Conduct a questionnaire or interview with a client or group of clients to compile notes. From there, carry out research on your industry, its history, and the competitive landscape. Then, using your notes and your research, review logo designs that have been successful with similar companies and environments.

After all the pre-work is complete, actually make sketches of potential logo designs. Revise and continue to sketch until you have a good idea of what it might look like. From there, it’s recommended to use a logo design service to put the finishing touches on the general idea.

This is just an example design process. Each business should have a process that’s tailored to their specific needs. However, the important thing is that a process is established.

There’s a reason why some organizations grow to become the biggest brands in the world. Conversely, there’s a reason why other companies never get off the ground in the first place. So, when you’re deciding on your logo design for your business, why don’t you take a leaf out of the book of reputable companies?

Nike is a great example of this. The multinational company has built a brand around a logo, and made its logo and slogan recognizable around the world. Well, what makes the Nike Swoosh so good? Why is it a great logo?

Answering these questions helps you understand what makes a good logo and what doesn’t. Then, when it’s time to come up with your own business brand, you’ll know what you should do and what you should avoid. Don’t break what isn’t fixed. Learn from the biggest brands out there.

It’s much easier said than done. However, if you take a look at all the company logos today, a lot of them are blatant clichés, or worse, blatant contradictions. You know, the lightbulb to signify ideas, a lightning bolt for innovation, etc. All of these images, while great, are overused.

Instead, get creative with the type of design you’re trying to create. Specifically, understand what message you’re trying to spread. What are your company values and what sets you apart from your competitors? Then, when you understand what you’re trying to say, think about how you can say it differently. How can you design your logo so your customers get it, and at the same time, differentiate yourself from the competitive pack?

Try to avoid the clichés. There are still numerous ways to design your logo in such a way that it’s communicative and understandable. Try not to follow the crowd.

We already discussed your logo design process. It’s important, if you remember. Part of that design process was research into your industry and your competitors. But just as important is the knowledge of your own business and its own brand. You can’t design an effective logo if you don’t truly understand your company and the value it delivers to the end-consumer.

So, before you start your design process, and even during it, make sure you immerse yourself in the brand of your company. Figure out what makes it unique and what causes customers to keep coming back. Better understand your company operations and find out where the value-add comes from. Finally, talk to your employees and interview the team members who make your business run.

Get to know your business like you were meeting it for the first time. Only then will you understand it enough to help design the proper logo.

Ok, up to this point we’ve discussed design tips to give you the best logo ideas. The previous five tips were meant to put you in the right mental headspace so you can prepare yourself to think of the best general designs. Now, let’s discuss design specifics that might aide you in your logo design process for your business.

The first of these tips is to choose your typeface carefully. The words that spell out your company name are the most important part of your company logo, even if they don’t seem so. This is due to the fact that it’s central to your logo design and signifies the main identifier of your business: its name.

Think about Microsoft’s typeface versus Facebook’s decision to use a lower-case “f” in its name. Microsoft’s is predominantly gray while Facebook’s us usually depicted as white letters against a blue background. Each of these small decisions further adds the companies’ logos, and therefore, their overall brand.

So, when you’re thinking about your logo design, don’t forget about your typeface. You have a decision whether you want to create your own custom typeface or adapt an existing one. Regardless, keep it simple and legible.

 A type-only logo, as its name suggests, is a logo that only uses text. It’s the simplest and most elegant type of logo, and it’s been used to great success. So, when you’re discussing your logo design, don’t rule out the name of your company in an engaging and interesting font.

However, if you choose to go this route, the typography chosen needs to carry the interest of the entire logo. So, unless you specifically want a simple design for its starkness, a bold and eye-catching custom typeface is probably best, or create a unique typeface for your logo.

The best part about a type-only logo? You can convert it into an icon-sized logo! Think about the Facebook design again. It’s type-only logo is white lettering on a blue background. But, when they created their mobile app, they were able to convert their logo by using the lower-case “f” as the entire design. Oh, and don’t forget about the blue background. But, you can see why a type-only logo can be so effective.

Negative space is one of the sneakiest and most effective ways to design a logo. While the main logo design draws the eye in, it’s in fact what’s not there that keeps a person’s attention. In fact, if negative space is used effectively, it’s nearly impossible to tell what exactly is so compelling about the image, only that it is.

Think about the FedEx logo design. While the purple and orange lettering immediately grab your eye, there’s something that makes it feel fast and forward moving. This is intentional, seeing as FedEx’s value proposition is fast and effective parcel delivery.

You see it when you look closer. Between the “E” and “X” of the FedEx logo is a white arrow pointing to the right. It’s created by negative space. However, it’s the most important part of the FedEx logo because it’s the part of the design that communicates the brand’s value.

The worst thing you can do when you design the logo for your business is to make it passive. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to make it active!

But what is an active logo design? Great question! An active logo is one that feels as if it has some sort of movement. Think back to the FedEx logo. This is a rudimentary example of a logo that is active, thanks to the arrow. However, there are more complex logo designs that really make the company feel like it’s going somewhere.

Take Twitter’s logo, for example. The company’s brand is depicted by a cartoon bird that seems to be taking off or already soaring. Its beak is pointed at a 45-degree angle and its wings are spread wide. This is the perception of action. Now, your logo design doesn’t need to be as pronounced, but even if it’s a type-only logo, make sure it gives the feel of being active.

Customers resonate with brands that seem to be going places.

A lot of times a company will have a logo and a tagline. And, if you watch closely enough, those companies will often have a logo that combines the two. This is a great sign of a good logo. One that can hold its meaning separately as well as inclusive of your company logo.

Thinking back to the Nike example, the company’s logo often comes along with the tagline “Just Do It,” one of the most iconic sayings in brand advertising. However, you can add the Nike Swoosh to the tagline, keep it separate, or even go with the tagline only. All three combinations are recognizable.

Therefore, when you’re coming up with your logo design, make sure that it fits with the mission statement or tagline of your business. Write the simple copy so it enhances the logo design, and vice versa.

Logo designs are subjective. Some people will like yours and some people won’t. However, it’s important to seek feedback to ensure you didn’t miss anything big. There are countless examples of designs that were seen as inappropriate even though the company never intended it to be.

Creating a logo that offends people, even when it’s unintentional, is a great way to ruin your company brand and its reputation. To stop this from happening, look for constructive feedback from people you trust. Just make sure you don’t listen to it all because people will always have their own opinions, however small.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that there’s no blueprint to the perfect logo design. It takes a lot of thinking and revising to arrive at something that fits your company.

However, if you listen to the 11 tips above, and if you’re willing to test and implement unique designs, you’ll have an effective logo for your business in no time.”

Make sure to give the original article some love here!