Your logo is the book cover that consumers will judge you by. Good design communicates that you’re a competent, reliable brand. Adhere to these guidelines, and you’ll have a logo that builds instant trust with your audience.
Start with a clear, concise creative brief
A strong logo requires a strong foundation. That’s where the creative brief comes in. Think of this as a focused starting point for creativity. A brief should be concise, but clearly keep the creative focused and on-message.
Start by defining your brand’s purpose. What do you do, why do you do it and what sets you apart from the competition? Take your brand’s unique points and champion them through your logo. Be honest with yourself. Exaggerating the message, using too many “buzz words” or glossing over challenges can lead to miscommunication.
Do your homework
Review competitor’s logos to see how you can stand out. Look at your target audience and consider their expectations. Create a mood board of photographs, colors and other logos that fit your brand personality. Then, marry this inspiration with your unique points to make it your own.
Keep it simple, and make it memorable
Successful logos feature simple, but unique graphics without feeling overworked. To accomplish this, boil your message down to minimal elements and communicate these elements through your logo. Opt for a simple, flat graphic over an elaborate illustration. Also, consider creating a condensed version of the logo without the tagline. Nike, Google, Apple and FedEx are ideal examples of simple, memorable branding.
Choose your colors wisely
Purposefully select your color palette. Consider color psychology. Some colors trigger hunger while others evoke a calming sensation. Select your colors according to your brand message, and be consist with your palette in the rest of your marketing.
The lack of color is just as important as the color itself. Your logo should be just as powerful in greyscale, one-color or black and white.
Avoid generic typography
Typography is a powerful tool. The personality of the font should match the personality of your brand. Sans Serif fonts are more modern, while a hand-drawn script is playful and energetic. Avoid generic, outdated fonts; I’m looking at you, Helvetica. (Pro tip: Never use comic sans or papyrus. Just don’t.)
If your logo is feeling flat, or lack-luster, revisit your font choices. Browse through free fonts from Font Squirrel. Purchase a handmade font from the folks at Lost Type Co-op. For even more ownership, hire a calligrapher to create something custom.
Smart logos find a way to marry symbols in a clever way. Play with negative space, merge graphics and try and find a unique way to describe your business. This is often easier said than done. If you’ve hit a wall, exercise your creative muscles by changing up your work space or taking a break. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Baron Fig’s app Spark. It really gets the creative juices flowing.
Adhering to these principles will give you a versatile, well-positioned branding that brings clarity to future marketing endeavors. Your logo shouldn’t just communicate what you do – it should communicate why you do it. Make it memorable and you’ll set your business up for success.