It takes less than half a second for your brain to react when you see a familiar logo. 400 milliseconds, to be exact. And if it’s the logo of a brand you like, you’ll feel the same way you would feel if you saw an old friend. That’s how critical a logo can be to a brand. Yet many businesses spend too little resources designing their logo. And most underestimate the work and thoughtfulness required to create a meaningful logo. Here’s how to do it right.
Step 1: Start with meaning
A great logo design helps you stand out from your competition and gives the right first impression. Most of all, it’s the first opportunity you have to communicate your values. If viewers are happy with what they see, they’ll be that much closer to buying your products.
To make your logo meaningful to the viewers, you first have to define your meaning. What values does your company stand for? If it’s grit, you’ll want your logo to be bold and daring. If it’s joy, bright colors and round shapes will help. In line with the values, think about what you want viewers to feel when they see your branding. Sometimes these emotions might not be obvious from your values. So make sure to spell them out. Create a list of your 5 core values and 5 main emotions you want viewers to perceive when they see your logo. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to create a reflective and creative logo.
Step 2: Find your style
Not all logos have a deep and intricate meaning. But every time, they tell a story. The BMW logo represents the propeller of a plane, which was the first product the company produced. Now that’s a pretty simple story.
Finding the story you want your logo to tell may take some time. Organize a brainstorm, with your team or just yourself, to help get you started. Here are tips to make the best out of your brainstorming session. Use the values and emotions defined in Step 1 to spark conversations and/or creativity during the session.
As you are deciding on your story, browse the web to find design styles and logotypes in line with it. For the style, you’ll need to choose between something classic, vintage, modern and minimalist, fun and quirky, or handcrafted.
For the type, you’ll want to choose between an abstract mark, a mascot, en emblem, a lettermark, a pictorial mark, a word mark or a combination of those.
Choice may be difficult, especially if you’re not a professional designer. To make it easier, organize your ideas into a moodboard. The idea of a moodboard is to put in one place all your preferences to make it easier to get inspired. If you’re hesitating between two styles, types and/or story, simply make different moodboards to choose from. Use Google Jamboard, Canva or InVision Boards to make moodboards in no time. Here is an example of what a moodboard can look like:
Step 3: Choose colors
The color of your brand is as important as the logo. Colors make us feel a specific way, so you should choose colors in line with your values. Here is a list of the emotions people tend to attach to colors:
|Color||Feelings||Good if your brand feels:|
|Red||Excitement, passion, anger||Bold, loud, youthful|
|Orange||Energetic, invigorating||Vibrant, playful|
|Yellow||Cheerful, affordable||Accessible, friendly, youthful|
|Green||Versatile||Connected to nature|
|Blue||Calming, cool||Trustworthy, mature|
|Purple||Mysterious, eclectic, feminine||Luxurious|
|Pink||Feminine, energetic||Fun, youthful|
|Brown||Masculine, serene||Vintage, handmade|
|Back||Calm, powerful, modern||Sleek, modern, luxurious|
|White||Clean, modern||Clean, youthful, economical|
Using a combination of colors can also help create more elaborate emotions. Combinations can be complementary, analogous or triadic. To figure out if two colors are analogous or complementary, look at a color wheel. Complementary colors are opposite from each other on the wheel, while analogous colors are close to each other. Triadic colors are three colors located at equal distance from each other on the wheel.
Using complementary colors will give your logo a dynamic look, while analogous colors will favor a more harmonious look. Triadic colors will give your brand a stimulating and bold look. Even if your logo has distinctive colors, you’ll want to also create a single color or grayscale version for specific use cases where colors don’t work.
Step 4: Start designing
At this stage, there is nothing better than experience to design a good logo. Most experienced designers laugh when they look at the logos they drew early in their career. So of course, our main advice is for you to hire a professional.
But if you’d like to do it yourself anyway, here are a few pointers. First, pay attention to proportion and symmetry. Our brains are hard-wired to prefer images that use the Golden Ratio. A proportionate logo will look professional and feel right. The Twitter logo is a good example of the Golden Ratio done right.
Keep it simple, even if you use an emblem. If you’d like to add a clever twist, try to include double entendres or hidden meanings. The Amazon logo has both: the line under the word is a smile, but also an arrow from a to z.
But be careful to not fall into the pitfall of cheesiness. Try to avoid cliches and generic logos. Even if you use a common symbol, add a twist to make it ownable. The Evernote logo is a simple elephant head, but the paper fold at the top right makes it unique.
A good logo is distinctive, memorable, scalable and timeless. When you’re done designing, make sure your logo fits all these boxes.
Shortcut: Use a professional
If you’re not a professional designer, chances are you won’t be happy with your logo at the end of the process. Even if you have a natural talent for design, experience is the only way to master the subtlety of brand making. Your logo is too important. If it’s cringeworthy, it may cost you sales and your brand image.
So instead of going through all these complicated steps yourself, have one of the Gravitr designers do the work for you. But in the end, you’ll still have to choose the logo for your brand. Here are some questions to ask yourself when evaluating a logo:
- Will people immediately know what your business does?
- Is it simple and memorable? Will your customers be able to remember it?
- Is it versatile? Can it be applied to all your brand’s needs?
- Is it timeless, or would you have to do a redesign in a couple of years?
- Is it unique? Does it set you apart from your competitors?
- Does it appeal to your target audience?
Ready to get started? Start your campaign now and get your professional, timeless logo within a week.