Does your current logo do a good job of building your brand and representing all the dimensions of your product or service? Generally speaking, your logo is the first thing prospective customers see and learn about your business. That’s why it’s vitally important to design a logo that’s both memorable and different from the countless other logos we all encounter in the course of our daily lives.
If you plan to upgrade your existing logo or create a new one from scratch, keep these proven design principles in mind:
Think about the message you want to convey. Look back to your company mission statement for a concise description of your business. Start thinking about ways to transform that written message into a single, vivid image.
Do an “industry logo analysis.” Different types of businesses feature different graphic design trends. Logos in some fields may employ gaudy colors and oversized type, while other more conservative industries favor a buttoned-down approach. You’re not obliged to follow trends in our own field, but you should be aware of them.
Simple is best. Your logo must represent your brand in a single image. The more you try to squeeze into this image, the harder it will be for consumers to recognize and remember it. Think of Nike’s Swoosh, Apple’s apple, Twitter’s giant bird. Each of these logos does an exceptional job of characterizing the business they represent—and all without using a single word.
Limit or avoid unusual design elements. With all the graphic elements available, you might be tempted to add a drop shadow here, a wavy line there. But these and other design elements only serve to clutter the guiding idea behind the logo and make it harder for prospective customers to retain in their visual memory.
Go easy on colors. Again, less is more. Think about what types of colors best symbolize your brand. Bold? Muted? Earth tones? Whatever your preference, choose no more than two to four colors at most for the final design.
Make the logo is easy to reproduce. Logos need to be work anywhere with consistent quality—a website, a business card, a sign on your neighbor’s front lawn. The design has to look good whether it’s big or small, and must be easy to reproduce across the spectrum of your online and offline marketing materials.
If you use words, be sure they’re easy to read. As noted, many of the most effective logos don’t use any copy. But if you want to integrate the name of your business with the image, stay away from overly ornate typefaces or any fonts that are difficult to read in a quick glance.
Establish (and adhere to) specific brand guidelines. Ideally, your business already has a “brand style guide” outlining what’s permissible and what’s not with regard to your logo and related marketing materials. If you don’t have guidelines, it’s a good idea to put this together before launching your new logo. That way, people inside the company know the rules when creating web and print content, and people outside the company clearly understand the requirements involved in reproducing that image elsewhere.
The power of a logo can’t be over-estimated. It bears a unique relationship to your brand and should be crafted with all the skill and resources available to you.