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Creating A Logo

The next step in getting your business off the ground is designing a logo for your new venture.

To do this successfully, we've suggested the following tips to follow so you end up with a design that you both like, and sells your business's brand.

1. Scope it out

Before you do anything else, you need to have some direction for your new logo. This means sitting down and putting together a clear, concise brief

Brand strategies provide the blueprint upon which incredible logos can be built. Usually, a strategy will involve collaboration between clients, designers, and other essential partners in the company. Strategies are crucial because they provide direction. Without some proper up-front thinking and a solid brief, you’re always going to be on the back foot.

Whether your logo design ideas begin with a simple one-page design brief, or a highly sophisticated (and expensive) brand strategy, you’re going to need a clear purpose. Without a strong framework on which to build your brand, you’ll find your logo designs simply don’t stand up to the test of time. In fact, without some agreed criteria to judge your decisions against, everything might come down to someone simply pointing at a design at random and saying… “I’m not sure why, but I like that one.”

It’s essential to start with a clear creative brief. That means going beyond a couple of notes jotted down during your first phone call or meeting. Figure out what makes the business different, and how you’re going to position it in the marketplace. Write up your thoughts and get your client to sign off on your plan so that everyone knows where they are and what to expect. Remember, the goal is to end us with a high-quality logo design.

2. Convey your meaning

A logo is more than just an impact, it’s something that conveys what a business believes in, and if you can give your logo design ideas this sense of “meaning” you’ll be off to a flying start. The best way to achieve meaning, is to begin with some organised creative thinking.

Start by extracting concepts, ideas and keywords from the brief and clustering them into overarching themes.

Map out the clichés, symbols, icons and well-established visual language for each theme.

Look for crossovers, scope for development or the potential to create something distinctive in your logo design ideas. Don’t simply draw – conceptualise and design.

3. Choose the right type for your business

Remember that your logo is not your brand. It is a custom-lettered word that represents your business.

A logo, or brand mark, is the flag in front of every organisation. Just like people, logos come in different shapes, sizes, and varieties.

A logo can be as simple as a wordmark, or as complex as an image. There are no hard and fast rules about which approach works best. Experiment with your logo design ideas, but make sure that whatever you produce fits the brief.

Figuring out how to design a logo means not limiting your thinking to one particular approach. Why not be adventurous and try your hand at different logo design ideas? Test new formats, and find out what fits. What works? What doesn’t? Would your idea work better this way, or that way?

Types of logo include:

  1. Wordmarks
  2. Letterforms
  3. Emblems
  4. Pictorial marks
  5. Abstract symbols

4. Use appropriate shapes and colours

Logo design ideas that use distinct symbols can become more recognisable through repeat exposure. Nike and Apple are two examples of companies who have used symbols to drop their name entirely.

Of all senses, our sight plays the most important role in creating a memorable experience of a brand. It’s worth thinking about how the brain can process your logo design ideas. Here are each of the elements you’ll need to consider:

  1. Shape
  2. Colour
  3. Type

5. Brainstorm ideas

Generating logo design ideas is an exciting process to begin with, as your enthusiasm is at its strongest, and the possibilities are infinite.

During this time, the more ideas you can come up with, the better, but it’s important to set yourself a deadline, and plenty of clear goals.

If you're stuck for ideas, start asking yourself questions, such as could the brand idea be expressed better by exaggerating something? Taking things literally? Using a double-meaning? Adapting a metaphor? Changing your perspective? Using comparison?

Remember to set aside some time to properly review whatever you come up with at a later stage. From there, you can come up with a shortlist of logo design ideas that you might want to develop, and move on.

6. Look at your competitors

Assessing your competitor's logos will help you differentiate your business from others in the same industry.

Hopefully, most of the groundwork for your new logo has now been done, but it's still a good idea to check your ideas are not too similar to your competitors.

Do your homework. Check out the brand’s rivals. Check out the whole sector for that matter. What symbols do they use? What fonts do they use? What colours do they use? Research is key to building some great logo design ideas. Look for ways that you can make the business you’re working for stand out.

By all means, take some time to hunt around on logo blogs and check out trends on agency websites – but make sure that you never just copy what’s already out there. Get inspired by what you see, and be aware of what’s fashionable in the world of branding – but always aim to present logo design ideas that are not only different from the competition, but also simple and timeless.

7. Think about practicality

You need to consider how your logo design ideas work as an app icon on your smartphone or in your Twitter feed is just as important as how it looks on traditional media, the side of a bus or behind the reception desk in your client’s office building.

Think about how your logo design ideas will perform in multiple different areas. For instance, how will this brilliant design of yours work in a tall skinny space? How will it work in a wide shallow space? Does it still work in black and white? Could it be stitched onto a garment? Could it be screen printed on a balloon? Try to make sure that you can answer these questions as early as possible in the design process, and you’ll save yourself a world of problems later.

During this early stage of the project, think about creating some rough mock-ups of your logo designs. Brand marks rarely exist in a vacuum, and there are countless resources out there that can help you to achieve great professional-looking mock-ups as quickly as you’d like. Mock-ups can help you, and your client to visualise the potential of your logo design ideas beyond a single image on a piece of paper.

One of the most important rules to remember when designing your logo is to keep it simple.

Many of the biggest brands in the world such as Apple, Nike, BP, FedEx, Virgin and Coca Cola all have a simple logo that people instantly recognise.

The more complicated the logo, the less likely people are to recognise who you are – something you don’t want when you really need to be noticed!

To make your logo stand out, you may wish to use vibrant and/or contrasting colours, although this should not be the only factor that makes it recognisable.

Your logo will not always be printed in colour, e.g. in newspapers, so it must have other features in order for it to be effective.

Of course, the final design depends to some extent on your personal preferences and the nature of your business, but the concept itself should override the colour scheme.

First you need to decide whether the logo is something you have the skills to be able to do yourself.

We’re not talking about messing around with clip art here – it needs to look professional so it makes your company seem professional.

A bodge job will only make you look like an amateur, so if you know you won’t be able to do a great job of it yourself, hire a design company to do it for you.

Try looking for several small, local firms who should give you a reasonable quote. Compare their prices, and check out their portfolios of previous work.

You may find you like one better than the others, even if they are slightly more expensive.

Make use of your contacts here - do you know anyone in the design industry who could get a logo done for you at a cheaper rate than normal? Do you know anyone who knows someone else that works in a design company?

If your budget can stretch to getting a professionally designed logo, then it will be well worth it in the long run.

There are many things to think about when designing your new business logo.

Try out different font types for your company name – it should reflect what you are selling and blend in nicely with the rest of the logo design.

For example, if you are selling Art supplies, you may wish to choose a scribbled, handwritten font such as that used by Paperchase (make sure it is legible though!).

Don’t go overboard with colours either – the more you have, the more it will cost you to print. One or two should be sufficient. Again, consider the colour schemes used by well-known brands – many use no more than two colours, and many of these only use one.

You need to plan ahead too, and think about the future – will your logo look outdated in 10 or 20 years time? You want something that will always be fresh and timeless.

Allow for differences in scale – will your logo still be clear to people if it is printed fairly small on business cards or in a magazine?

Can people still read your company name? There’s no point designing a logo where the name of the company isn’t clear – people aren’t going to bother trying to read it or make it out. Think - if people don't know who you are, how will they contact you?

Look at some of the logos for famous brands known throughout the world – what makes them so recognisable?

A good exercise that you can do is to look up all of your competitors and put their logos into a single file.

Make notes on what you do and don’t like about them, and use them when coming up with your own design.

Once you have something in place, compare it to your competitor’s logos – does yours stand out from all the others?

Overall, you need to create something unique, simple, flexible and memorable – unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen overnight.

Spend as much time as you can on getting the logo design right – ask family, friends and associates for their opinion, and keep re-designing it until you are happy it meets all of the aforementioned criteria.

Try putting your logo out of sight for a week or two - if you look at it again afterwards and still like it, then run with it.

Make sure you test it out first in different formats, e.g. business card, letterhead, website, brochure, etc. before you start printing anything.

Does it look ok on everything you are going to use it for?

If you can create a logo that makes a visual impact and conveys your brand well, the chances are you will make a lasting impression and get ahead of the competition.

Further information

For more tips and advice on starting a business and entrepreneurship, please see: