Coca-Cola. Nike. NBC.
Hearing the name of any of these blockbuster brands immediately draws a simple image to mind. For Coke, it’s the red circle with script letters. Nike, the iconic check mark. NBC, a peacock with rainbow toned feathers.
These brands have accomplished what all businesses aspire to: creating a logo that’s timeless, memorable and instantly recognizable. So how can you achieve the same for your brand?
We’ll explain what goes into a great logo and how to design one that works for your company.
Understanding why some logos work while others fall flat takes a quick (or not so quick, depending on how much time you have) lesson in psychology.
Three critical design elements come into play, each with their own psychological factors attached: color, font and shape.
You’ve probably already heard that certain colors are tied with certain emotions.
When it comes to brand logos, it’s almost uncanny how some industries stick to the book when it comes to color psychology.
For example, banking and financial institutions predominantly use the color blue, which is closely associated with feelings of trust (a phenomenon that may have biblical origins—who knew?!).
Check out this infographic from The Logo Company, which showcases the dominant feelings associated with each color and some of the most famous logos in each hue.
Fast Company has an excellent in-depth breakdown on the psychology behind every color.
Just like you choose a default font for your Microsoft Word documents, you’ll probably need to choose one for your logo. But it’s not quite as simple as picking one that looks pretty.
Fonts tend to go in and out of fashion just like clothing (remember the Comic Sans craze of the 90’s, anyone?).
If you saw a logo using this font today, chances are you’d find it a bit dated, though you might not immediately pinpoint font as the reason.
As a business, you want a logo that won’t age with passing fads, so it’s important to choose a classic font.
Simple fonts with clean lines generally work best for logos. If you’re going for a traditional feel, serif fonts work well. For a more modern vibe, sans-serif may be more your style.
FYI, an easy way to distinguish the two is that letters in serif fonts appear to have little “feet" at the ends of each letter.
And the third design element: shape.
Psychologically speaking, circles tend to convey positive feelings, like inclusion, community and happiness.
Squares and vertical lines, like those in the Ignite Spot logo, suggest stability and strength. Angled lines like triangles are associated with forward thinking and masculinity.
When creating a logo for a local business, shape is probably the design element you’ll have to worry least about, but it’s something to consider if you’re choosing between a few top options.
The Creative Brief
We strongly advocate for working with a professional designer to create a fantastic logo. In fact, it’s one of the few things we believe you absolutely need, even when starting a business with no money.
So how do you convey your vision for a logo to your designer? In the creative brief.
The creative brief is where you’ll explain what makes your brand unique—the key values and selling points that set you apart from everyone else doing business under the sun.
Your designer will use this input to create a visual interpretation of your brand.
Each designer has his or her own set of questions to complete the creative brief, but here are a few major ones to consider:
What five words describe my brand?
What five words are the opposite of my brand?
How do we want our logo to make people feel?
What is our company’s mission?
It’s also a great idea to share a few existing logos you love and a few you hate, both of which can help guide a designer.
Major corporations spend tens of thousands of dollars (or more!) designing their logos. The good news for you is that technology has made high-quality design talent accessible to the masses, so you no longer have to go through an expensive design firm.
99Designs is an awesome platform for purchasing a high-quality logo design. As its name suggests, various designers read your creative brief and compete to design the perfect logo. You narrow down your options by voting in a series of rounds. Logo pricing with 99Designs starts at a few hundred bucks.
Etsy is another great marketplace for discovering designers to work with. The cool thing about Etsy is you can browse the portfolios of many different artists to spark ideas and find a style that mimics what you’re looking for. Then, work one-on-one with the designer to achieve your goal.
Have you invested in a professional logo for your brand? Share your website link in the comments below so we can check it out.
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Watch this quick video that shows how Twitter created its signature bird logo using only circles.