“Can I design a logo?” It’s a question asked all the time. In short, I think the answer is yes, anyone can ‘design a logo’ but not everyone can design a good logo. By that I mean something that cleverly and clearly communicates your brand identity - who you are, what you do, and what you believe in (your values).
On the face of it, when it comes to creating a logo it can seem quite simple, but a lot of consideration and planning needs to take place to create something with purpose. A logo needs substance as well as style; it can’t just look pretty, it needs some context.
So how do you create a logo? There’s no one size fits all way of doing this but, as FINALLY’s graphic designer I can share how I approach a logo design or redesign.
Firstly I break my planning down into ‘The Three W-s’ - the Why, the Who, and the What.
Before anything else, I start off with why. As I previously mentioned, a logo needs context, this is the ‘why’. Why is this logo being created and what is its purpose? What is it going to communicate/express? Your brand identity and values form the backbone and logic behind your logo - it will steer the creative direction as well.
Create a bulleted list of reasons why you’re creating a logo. It doesn’t matter if it’s short and sweet - after all, it’s quality over quantity. Strong, to the point, justifications to support your design later on is the aim at this stage.
Once the why is figured out, I move on to the who. Who is this logo for? Who is the target audience? Who’s going to WANT to see this logo and engage with it and your business? You may think the wider the appeal the better, but if you narrow your audience down to people who will be fully invested in your business, it will help you with the creative process of creating the logo itself.
Don’t play down this stage. It’s actually quite important and can have a big influence on the final logo. The people that buy into your brand are just as important as the brand itself, if not more important!
Now the fun begins. Personally, I love this stage as, by this point, you should have a strong idea of what you stand for, how you want to achieve that, and who’s going to benefit from it. All of this will help decide the final outcome of your logo.
From this point, you decide ‘what’ the logo will be made up from. All logos are made up of the following:
- Wordmark: Your brand name.
- Strapline: Your slogan that sums up your brand in a sentence or less ideally.
- Brandmark (Icon): Your clever/effective graphic that sums your brand up.
These elements can be used together or separately. It’s down to you how you want to use these elements for your brand, all that matters is that you use them effectively.
When you create these assets it’s good to keep a few things in mind:
Your brand mark (icon) will be the first thing people see since we gravitate more towards graphics than words. It needs to make an impact and relate with the audience. An icon doesn’t always have to make complete sense the first time you see it but it must encompass and represent what the brand does and believes in.
Although you think it may not be that important, font choice can determine the entire mood/persona of your brand. A quick example: a friendly, more approachable brand could be expressed through a soft rounded Sans Serif font, whereas a more traditional, longer-established brand that wants to play on its history could use a Serif font.
All colours have a connotation and meaning behind them. For example, red can convey passion, strength, or anger, which are both positive and negative emotions from the same colour. So, in short, colour choice is incredibly important as you can use it to play into your values. Keep this in mind in the creative stage. To read more on colour in branding and why it’s important check out Nathan’s blog.
Logo lockups can make or break a brand. Remember, while you know what your brand does and the justifications behind what you’ve created, your audience may not. Good spacing will make it easier for them to take your brand in while the composition can help convey what you want to express.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself here, but at the same time don’t start trying to do anything and everything because you can. Keep a good balance to create something that will make your brand stand out.
What better way for me to round off all this information than with a couple of the most well-known examples on the planet today (and my personal favorites).
I always use FedEx as an example when I talk about logos. The reason is its simplicity. The logo conveys the business’ purpose and the whole brand identity through negative space. What better way to express a brand that focuses on transportation than an arrow hidden within it. It conveys a sense of movement and delivery. Simple but effective.
My second example is Amazon. An online platform that offers you everything from A to Z. Surely that’s a concept that will put a smile on your face? Look again at the logo. Can you see what I did there? It’s the simplicity that makes this logo so clever and effective. Can you see a trend forming from my examples?
I want to finish this blog with a quote from Sagi Haviv (Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv): “A logo is not a sentence, it's the period at the end”.
Haviv believes that a logo should act only as a conclusion to a brand and not carry the entire weight. It gives you a taste of the brand/business. This is why you should take into account the tips and tricks laid out in this blog because something simple but well thought out can convey your values clearly and turn a good logo into a great one.
For help with creating your brand logo and identity, get in touch with the FINALLY design team today.