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Logo Design: Key Elements of a Great Logo

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Did you know? 95% of small businesses have a poor logo -- meaning it delivers a neutral or negative brand promise. (via Entrepreneur)

"Design is the silent ambassador of your brand." - Paul Rand

Your logo is the most important visual aspect of your brand. If designed correctly, your logo should leave a lasting impression on customers. It must look professional and clear in order to attract customers or clientele. When you think of McDonalds, Nike or Facebook, you immediately envision the logos of these brands. The colors, shapes and fonts you use in your logo should be unique and different from other logos in your same industry. Your logo should be simple, targeted and memorable.  It is the symbol of your company, it's first impression before you even say a word.

Key Elements of a Great Logo

  1. Keep it simple. The most important rule when designing your logo is, "less is more". A rule of thumb: if you can't draw your logo in 20 seconds, then it's no good.  Keeping your design simple is key. Avoid too many effects or 3D effects that degrade the value of your brand. It shouldn't look like you wrote out text with a feature on Microsoft Word. Don't overcomplicate things. Being simple communicates confidence and power. Avoid commonly used fonts, such as Comic Sans and Times New Roman.  Using these fonts can make you look like an amateur. Avoid more than 2 font styles or a busy icon.

  2. Choose your colors: Customers often make emotional connections with brands. Choose colors that are appropriate for your business. According to Color Psychology, color increases brand recognition by 80% and 93% of consumers say that visual appearance is the top factor for them in deciding on a purchase. Many banks use the color blue to signify trust, fast food chains often use red to create hunger. Yellow exudes cheerfulness and positivity and green is associated with wealth or relaxation. Don't underestimate the impact of a logo in black & white, however. A simple solid color design can be just as visually and aesthetically pleasing if designed properly.

  3. Have it professionally designed: Regardless of the font, shape or color of your logo design, it is crucial that your logo has the ability to be scaled larger or smaller without distorting the design. Use vector format whenever possible. If you're unable to save in vector, create a high resolution png version of your design, one with a transparent background image, that you can scale down if necessary. 

  4. Create a unique icon: Using clip art or any sort of online logo generators is a big NO-NO! If you want a symbol to represent your brand, have a graphic designer create one that is unique to YOUR company.  Do some research and take a look at what competitors have as logos. Create something different.

  5. Have options: Creating different variations of your logo is key. For some places, you may just want a symbol to represent your brand. In others, you may want to have your business name written out. Most designers will offer branding guidelines, which is a set of fonts / colors / symbols that represent your brand and allow different pieces of marketing materials and advertisements to be made, all while staying on brand. Having different options to use for social media icons and favicons will also help to unify all of your digital assets.

Before designing a logo, you should have clear knowledge of what your brand represents and it's target audience. Never forget the customer when piecing together your logo design and branding.  What is your company? What does your company aspire to be? How should people perceive your company?  Your logo should be timeless, one that in 20 years from now, would still be relevant. Using an emoji may not be the best decision, but an abstract symbol that is still fun and youthful could do the trick! If you're aiming for modern, just be sure that it's a trend that will last.

However, don't be afraid to re-brand! It's always nice to give your company a face lift so nothing ever gets old or out-dated. You should periodically review your assets and make sure they're still representing your target audience and brand's message. If you have significant changes to your business, such as offering new services, or merging with another company, updating your logo will help give it a fresh start and reflect the new changes.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Logo Design: 

  1. What is your company's primary goal?

  2. Who is your audience / target customer? Get specific. 

  3. What is the mission of your company?

  4. How are you creating an emotional connection with your audience?

  5. What is the tonality of your company? Are you serious, fun, traditional, hip?

  6. What is the vision of your company? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?

  7. What values are important to your company?

  8. What colors or shapes do you feel would best represent your business?

  9. What are your competitors using for logos?

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