7 Design Principles to Follow When Developing Your Logo
Think of your logo as the first impression people will experience with your brand; in fact, people often make up their minds about whether a logo is good or not within seconds of seeing it. So how do you ensure that you have one that will not just show who you are, but make a strong visual impression? Here are a few simple principles to follow when designing your logo (or when collaborating with a professional designer to create your logo) that will make sure it puts your brand’s best foot forward:
If people are making decisions about your logo within seconds, you need to make sure your brand is being represented and understood just as quickly. Having too many elements in your logo may not just make it look messy, but confusing as to where to look and what the most important aspect of your brand is. If you are finding there are elements in your logo that don’t contribute to the whole, think about removing them.
Along with the previous principle of simplicity, make sure your logo gets remembered. This may be accomplished by having a strong visual element (think of the Starbucks mermaid) or something with easily described basic elements (like the five interlocking rings of the Olympics). Your logo is a symbol, and like any symbol it should stand for something singular and be easy to recall. Anything that is too complex, detailed, or involves multiple parts may not even read as a logo but as a full design, or it may be more difficult for the viewer to “get” it quickly. If people aren’t getting it fast, they will likely just dismiss it and forget about it.
It is always tempting to find inspiration from the peers in your field, and you don’t want your logo to be so out-of-the-park that it doesn’t reflect anything about your brand. But at the end of the day, you want your business to stand out amongst the crowd. When designing a logo, do a quick search to look at the logos of other businesses in your field, to make sure yours isn’t too similar to another business. That way, you are sure that you won’t get confused with another business, look like you simply copied someone else, and find a way to be original and memorable among the visual identities of your peers.
Modern, but Not Quickly Dated
Unless your brand is representing something old-timey and historical, making it capture a feeling of “today” makes your brand feel relevant. But be careful of hopping onto trends that will quickly fade: you want your logo to stand over time. Consider the color palettes and fonts you are using to make sure they are timeless and not just hot for the moment. This is not to say that tweaks and changes can’t be made to your logo over the years either. Even big brands will shake things up from time to time to incorporate new colors or changes to their visual elements in order to stay current.
As stated by Robin Mathew, “Design is where science and art break even.” Logos are no exception, as they aren’t just pretty little pictures; they need to follow basic scientific elements to be pleasing on the eye, such as symmetry and proportion. This is where a professional well-versed in design can help you make sure your logo is designed to aesthetic perfection.
All the elements of your logo should feel like they work together: if your art is all clean lines and simplicity but your font is playful and all over the place, they may look like they come from two completely different logos. Find ways to reflect the elements of your logo throughout in a way that makes it look cohesive. One great way to do this is repeating colors between different elements, such as the visual and the text.
Your logo is likely to be used on many different applications and in multiple contexts. Consider the different ways you can show off your logo: on your website, on large-scale banners, on t-shirts, promotional products, print advertisements, and more. A good designer will make sure your logo is created in a way that will look good in all contexts, while maintaining its integrity and meaning. A further way to develop your logo would be to create multiple versions depending on what the layout of a particular application may be; that is, you may design a longer, horizontal version, in addition to a taller, stacked version of the same logo using the same elements. Not only that, but creating a single-color version of your logo is also smart in order to be able to readily apply your logo to products and applications that only allow one-color to be printed.
Your logo should be a quick visual representation of your brand, and the above design considerations are a great place to get started on developing this big, important statement for your visual identity. And this is all before you get into really diving deep on what the words and visuals of your logo should be in order to effectively convey the meaning and mission of your brand.
What is most important, however, is having a strong visual for your brand that will be quickly recognizable and understandable. If you are ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to take your ideas and concepts, and quickly show them to a viewer for just a couple of seconds to see which ones they remember or connect with the most in order to find out which direction to build off of. You may be surprised by the results and have a better sense of how to simplify in order to make that big first impression for your brand.
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