June 6, 2022

How to create a great business logo

A business logo is your distinguishing mark in the marketplace. In some instances, a business logo can be counted as one of the biggest assets a business can own. A company can make losses, run bankrupt and then be revived, but a logo, once lost or stolen, can mean a huge blow to the future of the company. Take a moment to think of the most distinguishable business logos; Apple, Google, KFC, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola and imagine what these logos mean to their customers and stakeholders. When designing a logo for your business, the following factors must be considered;

Consider the ‘Why’?

The question isn’t about ‘why’ you might need a business logo- every business does. The question has more to do with ‘the why’ of your business. Why did you start the company, and what does it hope to achieve in the marketplace? What are your corporate values, and where do you see your business going in the future? Companies working in fields such as healthcare, law and other fields that directly impact important aspects of people’s lives might choose logos that are minimalist and easy to understand. On the other hand, companies that operate in creative industries might choose business logos that are more risqué, bold and colourful.

Your logo will create a big impression on your customers and appear on all your marketing materials for a long time; it should therefore be designed with special attention to detail. A great logo design communicates your company ethos to your customers and stakeholders at just a glance. It elicits feelings of trust, comfort, and familiarity- which are all invaluable when building a successful business.

Define your brand identity

Your logo should communicateyour brand identity,what your brandstands for, andwhat matters to your company that should also matter to your target audience. Before designing your logo, questions regarding your brand identity should be answered clearly. Once this isdone, the design part of the process becomes much easier. Here are a few questions to consider about your brand before initiating the design process;

Why did you start the business?

What beliefs/ values are important to your business?

What do you want to do better than anyone else?

What makes your business special?

If you could choose three words to describe your brand, what would they be?

What three words should your customers use to describe your brand?

Look for inspiration

The most challenging part of the design process is the search for inspiration. Settling on one can feel like a very daunting task with many options: shapes, colours, symbols, and words. Here are some tips you;

Brainstorm: Ideas are everywhere- literally. Your process can start off with a casual brainstorm with a trusted partner or alone. You could look at other logos you admire and determine what it is you like so much about them. It’s important to remember that when brainstorming, there’s no such thing as a bad idea- oftentimes, the most brilliant ideas can come from the most obscure ones.

While brainstorming, you should also consider the tastes and preferences of your target audience; what colours or visuals would appeal to them? Involve as many people as you can in this stage of the process so you can get an indication of how the broader market might react to your logo- You might not be aware of the fact that your logo might resemble something offensive in other religions which could hurt your business in the future.

Create a mood board: A mood board is a great way to capture the visual impact you’d like your logo to have, even though you haven’t started the design process yet. You can create a mood board by cutting out and pinning printed images or using apps like Pinterest. All you have to do is collect images you might feel drawn to, like other logos, colour combinations, illustrations or even graphics.

Check out your competition: Your competition is an excellent resource for new insights and ideas. Think through the possible ideas that might have gone into the colour and logo decisions made by your competitors. In the process of thinking this through, consider the ways you can differentiate yourself from what already exists in the market.

Select your design style

Now that you’ve put conceptualised some pretty great ideas for your logo, it’s time to start the actual process of designing. So many different elements come into consideration at this stage; colours, shapes, graphics and typography. Isolating each component and what it can achieve for your logo will help you take things step-by-step instead of getting overwhelmed with the entire design at once. You should first pick the right aesthetic for your brand, like most things in life, as one size doesn’t fit all.

Classic: Although there’s usually a bias towards trendy and quirky logo designs, the classic/ traditional approach can be a great way to create a truly lasting impression. A classic logo keeps it simple and doesn’t venture into crazy colour palettes, graphics or fonts. A classic logo communicates your reliability and “down-to-earth” values embraced by your brand.

Retro or vintage: The retro or vintage style made a comeback recently, immediately invoking feelings of nostalgia for the past. A vintage logo tells customers that history is important to you and that everything you sell is done right, “the old way.”

Modern and minimalist: Brands opt for the modern or minimalist design when communicating how fresh and contemporary they are. This style utilises a lot of white space, minimal design details, and simple lines, which often results in sleek logos. A minimalist design aesthetic communicates how modern you are to your customer and your ability to say and do more with less.

Fun and quirky: This logo style is quite popular for companies with young target customers. Fun and quirky styles tend to be colourful and cute and use fun symbols or illustrations to inspire positive emotions.

Handmade and Handcrafted: The Handcrafted style communicates your brand’s individualism and emphasis on high quality. This style works well in combination with other aesthetics like vintage to bring the point home. It can also be combined with minimal and fun styles as well as simple and sophisticated for a bright and youthful look.

Find the right type of logo

On top of the overall style, there are 7 types of logo you can choose from;

Lettermarks /Monogram Logos: Lettermark logos are a great way to streamline your company logo, especially if your name is long or difficult to remember. Many businesses opt to go by their initials as opposed to their full names: HP, CNN, or H&M.

Wordmarks: Wordmarks are a straightforward way of using your company name as the company logo. Design typography is applied to capture the brand’s personality and foster brand recognition. If you’ve got a unique name for your brand, this could be a great way to emphasise that.

Pictorial marks: These are iconographic images that are easily recognisable and can fully represent the brand. These are often times paired with word marks to further direct your target audience to your brand. You can choose something simple or complex, as long as it is a unique symbol that can be used to identify your brand.

Abstract logo: In the place of recognisable symbols, you might choose to go with geometric forms that can’t establish an immediate connection to an already existing image but create something entirely new for your brand. An abstract logo mark will take into consideration all the unique aspects of your brand and then condense them into an abstract symbol, further reinforcing your brand’s unique individuality.

Mascots: Mascot logos are an interesting a fun way of giving your brand personality. They are usually colourful and playful cartoon characters that present your business in a family-friendly way.

Combination mark: This combines a symbol with a word to create an easily recognisable logo. The brand name is placed next to the symbol or integrated into the graphic element.

Emblem: Similar to combination marks, emblem logos are usually a combination of word and pictorial elements. They typically consist of text integrated with symbols or icons, like badges, seals or crests.

Pay attention to colour

Different colours have different meanings, so it is essential to be careful in your colour selection. The psychology behind colour has been studied and documented with the conclusion that colours exert a powerful influence on emotions.

Red: Red represents excitement, passion, and anger. It’s a fantastic choice if your brand is loud, youthful and wants to stand out in the marketplace.

Orange: Orange is also an energetic colour that encourages positivity, joy and light-heartedness.

Yellow: If you want your brand to seem accessible and friendly, yellow is the colour your should use. It gives off a cheerful and youthful energy.

Green: This versatile colour can work for just about any brand. It also has the added advantage of being a colour so closely connected with nature.

Blue: Blue is a classic colour choice that communicates a calming, relaxed and trustworthy tone. It also symbolises maturity.

Purple: Purple is a colour that communicates royalty, luxury and exclusivity. Purple can be mysterious, eclectic, or feminine, depending on the shade chosen.

Pink: If your brand is girly, nothing communicates this better than pink. With all the different shades like pastel rose, millennial pink or neon magenta and be both youthful and feminine.

Black: Black is the perfect colour for a sleek, modern and luxurious brand aesthetic. It works in great combination with all other colours as a neutral colour.

Pick the right typography

There are many font options to pick from, such as serif fonts, Sans serif fonts, Script fonts, and Display fonts. The font choice has more to do with your business values, target audience and industry-specific considerations.

Discuss with your designer

Now that you’ve put all the ingredients for a great business logo together, it’s time to speak to your designer. Make sure you select a designer whose previous work hints at a wide versatility in style and creativity. In conversations with your designer, be sure to give them as much information about your brand as possible, including your brand values. Also, be sure to give your designer plenty of feedback so they can have a clear understanding of what you might be looking for.

With all this information, you’re well on your way to having a great logo designed for your brand, communicating your brand values, purpose, and reason for being to your customers and the broader marketplace.