Logo design is a tricky art, no doubt about it. Essentially you’re trying to sum up the whole persona of a company into a simple symbol. On top of that already daunting task, you also need to make it memorable, beautiful, printable, web-safe, and scalable. That’s a lot to consider even more to actually execute.
Professional designers can spend hours and hours on one logo design, trying to get the perfect balance of form and function. Whether you’re working with a designer or not, it’s helpful for anyone branding a new business (or rebranding an existing one) to know some of the top dos and don’ts for making a logo successful. Probably the most important thing is…
DO: Keep it simple.
It might be counterintuitive, but simple logos can actually be more distinctive and recognizable than more complex ones. Just look at these highly successful brand logos:
When creating your logo, or giving feedback to a designer, think about what can be left out. Try to pare down, not add in.
DON’T: Give into fads.
Right now, flat design is all the rage, but fads come and go. Be sure that whatever design trend you go with, it matches the personality of your business. Otherwise, when the trend is gone, your logo will be left looking out of place and dated. Of course, you do have to subscribe to some design philosophy, just be sure it’s relatively timeless.
DO: Design in black and white first.
Even in 2013, not everything gets printed in color, so keep in mind that your color logo needs to either print well in black and white, or at least have a two tone version for those occasions. Plus, by designing first in black and white, you can ensure your logo looks great on the merit of its shape and spacing, and not by the virtue of pretty colors.
DON’T: Neglect Typography.
Sometimes designers get so preoccupied with the symbol in the design, they forget about the typeface. This is an area of design that’s particularly prone to fads, so when in doubt stick with classic fonts. However, branching out into newer fonts can give your logo real pizzazz. Generally avoid decorative fonts, and be sure that the type scales well (i.e. it looks good very large and fairly small). Custom typography, when done well, can always provide a unique look, too! Just be sure the text is created in a vector format (like in Adobe Illustrator) so it’s scalable!
DO: Design for various layouts.
Unless your logo is a square, it’s helpful to have a vertical and horizontal layout. You never know what kind of space you’ll need your logo to fit into, especially if you end up advertising or affiliate marketing. It’s best to have a few options on the front end so you’re not left scrambling to adapt your logo later.
DON’T: Forget to make your logo in vector format.
Your logo should not only be delivered to you on a transparent background (so you can put it on any other color background), but should also be in a vector format like .ai, the Adobe Illustrator file format. Vector images can be scaled to any size, so if somewhere down the line you want a logo big enough for a t-shirt or even a billboard, you don’t have to go back to the drawing board.
DO: Get lots of feedback.
Your logo needs to make a universal impact, so ask around and find out what people like and don’t like about it! That said, it’s also important to stick to your convictions. The logo ultimately needs to reflect your business, not everyone’s input. If you’re rebranding, your new designs may especially come up against resistance – people rarely like change at first – but take their feedback and go with your gut!