15 Essential Logo Design Considerations to Build a Strong Brand Identity
The Importance of Your Brand Logo
A little while ago we wrote about the importance of establishing an effective brand. In that post, we touched on the importance of a noticeable and recognizable brand logo and gave you some very basic logo design tips. Today I want to dive a bit deeper into that topic by providing you with a few essential logo design considerations to help you create an effective brand identity.
Your brand logo is not just another visual element that you create to promote your business or product brand. It is the single most recognizable part of your brand identity. A truly effective brand logo works to identify your brand in a basic visual format. Look at brands like Apple, Nike, or Rakuten, and you will see what I mean.
Of course, you will have a website, social media pages, business cards, and perhaps even brochures and other branded marketing collateral. That all helps to build your brand identity and introduce your brand to your target audience. But only when the brand logo design for your company is remarkable enough to stand out and get noticed.
The Importance of Brand Logos for Brand Identity
Simply put, your brand logo will become the image or visual identity of your business. It is the most visible aspect of your overall brand identity. And in 2019 an effective brand identity is essential if you want to rise above the digital noise. The following logo design considerations will get you started.
No matter what service or product you offer, there are thousands of other businesses that will offer the same, and they also will attempt to catch the attention of your target audience. Therefore, a successful business is the one that has created a unique brand identity for itself. That allows consumers to immediately reach that company’s products and services.
Creating the Right Brand Logo Instead of Simply a Brand Logo
There are of course many different ways to create an effective brand identity, and brand logos are just one of them. But brand logos tend to get noticed more than any other aspect of your brand identity. This means getting just the right brand logo is absolutely essential.
We work with a lot of logos provided by our clients for use in a variety of web and print projects. It always surprises us how many brand logos miss the mark in one or more areas. Some logos are not reflective of the business or service, and others are just plain bad design. We even had one recent client mention their logo “looks like moldy bread.” Not quite the brand identity they had in mind!
When our creative teams design brand identities and brand logos for our global clients, we always ask them to focus on the following logo design considerations, so I thought it would be helpful to share those with you as well.
15 Essential Logo Design Considerations
1 – Start with the Basics
Different Logo Types
Logos generally come in two different types, vector logos, and image logos. Generally, we do NOT recommend using image logos; at small sizes, image details are lost to the viewer. Another consideration is that image logos don’t work well at different sizes, but vector logos can be scaled up or down to fit any requirements without any loss of quality.
At the very least you should have a color and a black-only version of your logo. Depending on the logo design you may need both horizontal and vertical versions, and you may also want to consider getting versions of your logo to be used on social media profiles and as a favicon on your website.
Always get your brand logo in the following file formats so that you can use it for any application:
- PRINT (hi-res) versions should include EPS files with text converted to outlines, TIFF, and JPEG files.
- WEB (lo-res) versions should include JPEG and PNG or SVG files.
2 – Choose Your Design Style
The next of my logo design considerations focus on your design style. You can use various design styles when creating a logo, but to pick the best one, you need to focus on what type of brand identity you are trying to create.
Generally, bold and modern designs work well for startups and tech firms, and a more traditional and conservative approach is usually best for firms in the financial and insurance field. Feminine styles work better in the health and beauty industry. These are just some basic logo design considerations, of course.
3 – Get Inspired
Inspiration is an often-overlooked logo design consideration, but it is essential. If you want to create a unique brand logo you need to start with a unique idea. Sometimes they are hard to come by.
One of my own favorite ways to get inspired is to visit a museum or your local bookstore. Take a look at the work of famous logo designers, but don’t copy their work! Review your own previous work or that of your colleagues. Take a look at nature’s designs. All of these will provide you with plenty of inspiration to create your brand logo.
4 – Be Different
The next of my logo design tips is to be different. To rise above the digital noise, you must distinguish yourself as a brand with a distinct style. Rather than copy another design or style, be innovative and stand out from the crowd.
So, how can you be different? Start by breaking the rules of design and taking risks. Why not try a variety of logo design styles to find the one that works best for your business or product brand? Experiment with different color combinations until you find one that makes your brand image original.
5 – Create Balance
One of the most essential logo design tips is to strike a certain balance. Balance is important in logo design because our minds naturally perceive a balanced design as being more pleasing and appealing. Try to keep your logo balanced by keeping the “weight” of the logo graphics, colors, and size roughly equal on each side.
Of course, the rule of balance can be broken if required. I have designed a number of very unique and effective logos that way. But always remember that your brand logo will be viewed by your intended target audience, the people you need to convert. Not many of them will be actual artists themselves. It is better to err on the side of balance.
6 – Keep It Simple
This is not only one of my logo design considerations, but one of my mantras for my design teams. Keep it simple! Most people are not smart enough to understand complicated. Therefore, the simpler your brand logo, the more recognizable it will be.
I mentioned some highly recognizable brand logos earlier in this post. For example, the Nike swoosh is an extremely simple logo and one of the most recognizable in the world. Follow that example. Pare your brand logo design down to its essentials by leaving out all unnecessary elements.
7 – Try a Minimal Design
Based on the above logo design tip, I always recommend a minimal approach to logo design. It is one of the most effective ways to create a memorable brand identity. Remove all excessive elements. Keep only those colors, shapes, lines, symbols, fonts that are required to convey a message. Any element that is unnecessary occupying the logo design space should be eliminated.
8 – Focus on Brand Recognition
Any essential brand logo design considerations need to include brand recognition. You can create an awesome brand logo, but will it stand out and be recognizable? That is the key question you need to ask yourself here!
The whole point of creating a brand logo is to build brand recognition. But, how do you go about doing this? Basically, it means creating a brand logo that the average Joe can easily relate to your product or service. This will vary from brand to brand, but it always includes the following: size, style, color, typography, and originality.
Overlooking any of these during the logo design process will impair the quality of your final product. Examine your brand logo design and see whether it meets all of these criteria.
9 – Give It Meaning
An effective brand logo must have some meaning; it must convey a message of some sort. Merely seeing a brand logo on a product or advertisement will not make it memorable. So how can you convey your brand message simply and succinctly?
First of all, you need to have an actual brand message or strategy. Write this down on paper. Then, see if your brand logo conveys that message. It should show the intent behind the design. Any effective brand logo is a concise visual representation of your brand. Make it so even prospective consumers are able to easily understand and describe the purpose.
10 – Make It Scalable
Your logo will be used in a number of print and web applications at different sizes and resolutions, including websites, business cards, stationery, marketing materials, promotional items, etc. And it has to look good and be legible in any size.
Your brand logo needs to look good and be easy to identify regardless if it is small or large. For this reason, we always recommend keeping your logo design as simple as possible. Small details and text become almost impossible to see clearly below a certain size. Therefore, bold graphics and text will make your logo stand out much more.
A logo is not effective if it loses too much definition when scaled down for letterheads, envelopes, and small promotional items, think trade show swag. But your brand logo also has to look good when used for larger formats, such as vehicle wraps, posters, billboards, and in electronic formats such as your online presence and social media profiles, web apps, and even high definition TV.
11 – Sketch It Out First
Sketches are an important first step and need to be part of any essential logo design considerations. When our creative teams start any logo designs their MacBook Pros are not their first tools. They start the logo designs as simple doodles on paper napkins and evolve that to sketches on paper. These are not for clients, but simply to try out ideas and concepts.
Even in a very rough format, this will give you a good idea of how different concepts pan out, and how different design elements work together. If nothing seems to work, start over and begin sketching new ideas. Sooner or later you will get something you can take to the next stage.
12 – Start in Black and White
The next of my logo design tips stem from many years of experience. Whenever I or my teams showed colored design concepts to clients, they could not reach a decision, and we had to start over. There is a simple reason for this. Different concepts in different colors were simply too overwhelming. Working in black-and-white provided both better results and faster decisions.
Another thing to consider is that your brand logo should be equally effective in black and white. There are many instances when you will be printing the logo without colors. When publishing your advertisements in a newspaper, the logo will generally appear without colors. Plus, a one-color logo can be both highly effective, and cheaper to print.
13 – Be Careful with Colors and Color Combinations
Once you have arrived at a basic black-and-white logo you can start adding colors. But don’t go overboard with this. Color theory is complex, but if you understand the basics you can use color to your brand advantage.
Here are some basic rules to keep in mind:
- Use colors near to each other on the color wheel (e.g. for a “warm” palette, use red, orange, and yellow hues).
- Don’t use colors that are so bright that they are hard on the eyes.
- The logo must also look good in black and white, grayscale, and two colors.
- Breaking the rules sometimes is okay; just make sure you have a good reason!
Knowing how colors evoke feelings and moods is equally important. For example, red can evoke feelings of aggression, love, passion, and strength. Yellow is considered innovative, blue represents conservative, and greens evoke feelings of nature and sustainability.
Keep this in mind as you try out different color combinations and try to match the color to the overall tone and feel of the brand. Playing around with individual colors on their own is another of our essential logo design considerations. Some brands are recognizable solely by their distinct color.
14 – Choose Fonts Carefully
Next on my list of essential logo design considerations are fonts. There used to be a saying in graphic design that the designer with the most fonts wins. But that is not applicable to logo design. Choosing the right font type and size is much more difficult than many beginner designers realize.
If your logo design includes text, either as part of the logo or in the tagline, you will need to spend time sorting through various font types and testing them in your design before making a final decision. Try both serif fonts and sans-serif fonts as well as script, italics, bold, and custom fonts.
Consider three main points when choosing a font to accompany your logo design:
- Avoid the most commonly used fonts, such as Comic Sans, or else your design may come off as amateurish.
- Make sure the font is legible when scaled down, especially with script fonts.
- One font is ideal; avoid having more than two.
- Strongly consider a custom font for your design. The more original the font, the more it will distinguish the brand. Examples of successful logos that have a custom font are Yahoo!, Twitter, and Coca Cola.
15 – Go Easy on Effects
And the last of our essential logo design considerations is to please go easy on applying effects! Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and other graphic design programs are extremely powerful logo design tools and have many filters and effects that can be applied to a logo. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do so.
Our creative team, myself included love to play around with different effects. It’s definitely cool to see what can be done, and how far you can push the creative envelope. But some of that is better kept in the design labo instead of springing it on your target audience. Trust me on that one.
Final Thoughts on Logo Design
When executed correctly, a logo is a powerful asset for your brand. It is essential for developing your brand image and building brand awareness. However, creating an effective visual representation of your brand requires a lot more than simply graphic design.
If you carefully follow our essential logo design considerations, you will end up with an effective brand logo that you can use for all your web and print needs without unpleasant surprises down the road. And you are certainly able to design your own brand logo using readily available software and resources.
I do recommend that you stay with the industry standards and avoid free tools that usually provide questionable results at best. And if you really want to pay $ 99.00 or less for a complete logo design package let me warn you. You will simply end up with a cheap logo, which in turn will make your brand look cheap as well.
Usually, there are specific brand logo design considerations specific to your business or product brand. You may want to discuss our logo design tips with a professional designer to be sure you actually meet your brand and business objectives. If you agree we would love to help you.
Need Help Creating a better Brand Logo for Your Business?
Feel free to reach out to us and learn more about brand development and logo design services. Our team can help you determine exactly what type of brand logo and the image you really need and apply our logo design tips to help you create the brand assets you need to attract, engage and convert your target audience.
Do You Have an Effective Brand Logo?
Now that you read this post how do you feel about your brand logo? Did our logo design tips help you create an effective brand image? Or do you feel that your brand development may be missing the mark? If so, what do you think is missing from your brand logo or image? Please feel free to let us know so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share these logo design tips with your audience!
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