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7 Essential Rules to Follow When Designing a Logo

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Updated onFebruary 24, 2020

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Have you ever seen a well-established business or brand without a logo? Of course not! This is because a logo is the face of your brand, the very first impression your company or business makes on its target audience. Depending on how well you represent your brand, through its logo, it will significantly impact how customers perceive your business.

It’s no secret that an impressive logo is essential for a successful business. It plays a critical role in marketing, as well as establishing a strong brand identity for your business. However, there’s more to creating an excellent visual representation for your brand, other than just investing in web design services or a graphic designer. It requires proper skills, plenty of experience and practice as well as the following essential rules to consider when designing a logo. But before we get there, let’s first discuss what a logo is.

What is a Logo?

Generally, the goal of a logo is to effortlessly represent your brand to your segment audience, while also differentiating you from your competitors. Thus, the design process should aim to create an instantly recognizable logo that inspires trust, loyalty, admiration, and indirect superiority. Typically, the logo is one aspect of your business’ commercial brand or economic entity. Hence, the shape, image, fonts and colors should be strikingly different to give your brand a unique identity from its competitors. So basically, your logo is your identity and tells your story.

According to one of the world’s most celebrated designers, Paul Rand, a logo is a signature that indirectly sells as well as identifies. Thus, your logo should inspire a potential customer to desire your products and services as well as make a purchase. So, what makes an excellent logo? A good logo should be appropriate, distinctive, practical, graphic, simple, and perfectly convey the brand’s intended message.

Moreover, the logo should be able to be printed in any size, with or without color, and still maintain its authenticity. Generally, your logo is a visual container of your brand. It tells a story and communicates what your company is all about.

Related: 14 WordPress Plugins to Showcase your Sponsors and Brands Logos

What is Involved in the Logo Design Process?

Creating a logo may seem easy and effortless; after all, they are small and look easy to make. Well, it’s not. A great logo demands thoughtfulness, creativity and an effective combination of various elements to make the design complete. Therefore, most logo designers follow a process to ensure the final design meets the intended need and purpose. Below, we’ve listed these steps.

  • Design Brief

This involves conducting a questioner or an interview with the client to get essential details of the final product. Before beginning a logo design project, you need to understand the following elements.

a. Who is the logo for?
b. Who is the target audience?

  • Research

This stage involves researching the industry itself to determine its history and competition. This step enables the graphic designer to problem-solve by identifying the pain points of the client in terms of marketing and address them in the final product to ensure the brand stands out.

  • Reference

Longevity in logo designs plays a vital role. Thus, performing extensive research on logo designs that are successful, current, and use modern trends may be valuable sources of inspiration. The trick is to compare and contrast, not copy and paste. Once you narrow down on great successful brands, you can seek inspiration from their logo designs.

  • Sketching and Conceptualization

This stage involves developing design logo concepts based on the brief and research. Sketching and conceptualization play an integral role in helping the designers to evolve their imagination, from just an idea to an actual design.

  • Reflection

Reflecting on the design helps your ideas to mature. Additionally, seeking feedback allows you to develop a fresh perspective of your work as well as improve on it.

  • Revision and Positioning

It is always important to revise and enhance the logo as much as required to ensure it perfectly represents the brand in the competitive market.

  • Presentation

If you are a contractor, you may wish to present the logo with context to help the client visualize the brand identity. Generally, a meaningful presentation is custom made – for a particular purpose or person.

Related: Big Web Development And Design Trends To Look For In 2020

Seven Essential Rules to Follow When Designing a Logo

1. Simplicity is Key

Great logo designs, those that immediately inspire your target audience to engage with your brand are simple, clean, and uncluttered. In general, less is more and simplicity creates impact. Maintaining a simple design ensures your logo withstands the challenges of time, is replicable and easy to work with.

Moreover, considering logos are used in a variety of ways, on different platforms and in various sizes and formats, fine details may be lost. Thus, you want a logo that is clear, visible, reflects your aesthetics and conveys your brand’s philosophy. A good example is the Nike logo – nothing more than just a monochrome swoosh. With this example, it’s quite clear that a practical logo is one with few elements, each of which can easily be identified and crucial to the message you want to convey.

The simplicity of your logo design trickles down to the choices in color options, typeface, and graphics. Moreover, it’s best to keep a few active elements rather than overpowering the design with excessive overlapping images, fonts or even shading. Remember, the goal is not to overcrowd your logo with elements but instead using a few active details.

Doing this ensures the excellent use of spacing which gives your logo room to breathe, stand out and communicate to your audience.

2. Versatility and Scalability

A practical logo works across a variety of media and applications. For instance, your logo will be used on your products, shop signage, digital ads, and so on. Therefore, it should be versatile and adaptable to whatever media or application it lands on. For instance, your logo should be designed in vector format to ensure it is scalable to any size. One way to determine if your logo is effective is to try to print in a variety of designs, for instance,

  • In a single color
  • In reverse color (light logo on a dark background)
  • Size of a postage stamp
  • As a large billboard

Nonetheless, you can incorporate versatility in your logo by beginning the design process in black and white. Doing this allows you to focus on the shape and concept rather than color, which is subjective to external factors such as nature. Alternatively, consider a responsive logo that is adaptive and has a variety of size options, complexity and color to adapt and accommodate where it’s placed or used. In this case, the rule of thumb is to ensure that your logo can work with any background or color.

Similarly, your logo should be scalable because it will be used in several different places, from pens to the sides of buildings. For this reason, it needs to adapt and work effectively in both small and large sizes. Hence, your logo should be designed in vector format to ensure it can be scaled and easily be reproduced in any size. Scalability ensures that your logo is meaningful, aesthetically pleasing and legible regardless of the size, where it’s printed.

However, this may be challenging if you incorporate too much detail in your logo.

3. Balance and Proportion

There’s no denying, balanced designs are beautiful. A well-proportioned design strikes a balance between the various elements that make up your logo. In this case, proportion refers to the weight of each component used in your logo.

Practically, the right proportion should make your logo whole and meaningful.

For instance, symmetrical logos are balanced through equally weighted elements aligned on either side of a centerline. Alternatively, asymmetrical logos can also be balanced by using opposite weights to create an uneven composition that still has equilibrium. Ensuring your logo is well balanced and proportional ensures your final design is pleasing with a balanced aesthetic quality.

4. Originality

The business world is a jungle. Thus, your logo needs to be different and memorable to stand out in the fierce market. This will ensure that it attracts the right attention and remains in people’s minds. Consider some of the unforgettable logos out there, including Apple’s or Starbucks. Agreed, we see them a lot, but at the same time, they are a clear representation of original and unforgettable logos.

It’s no secret that unforgettable logos stand out by being original, different, and memorable. Therefore, your logo must attract a first glance that your target audience or potential clients will remember, trust and rely on after several interactions with your brand. For this reason, you must have a unique design concept that ultimately blends artistry, market demands and consumer needs.

5. Timelessness, But Modern

A timeless logo will always look good. A good rule of thumb to ensure you achieve this aspect is to avoid short-lived trends and always go for classic looks. Epic logos stand the test of time because they focus on logo principles and rules that last rather than what is currently trending. Additionally, they are less stylized and more restrained to capture the fundamental characteristics of timelessness without losing its meaning in detail. Thus, as your business grows your primary goals and ideals will still be up to date and integrated into a logo that speaks to you, for you and for the brand.

To test the logo design principle, imagine having to explain the inspiration behind your logo over and over again for many years. Do you feel like the explanation you provide will be valid in five to 10 or more years? Thus, aim to make your logo modern, but not too modern that in five years it loses its meaning. Moreover, remember that trendy is hot today but will naturally run out of pizzazz in a matter of time.

6. Memorable

Most successful brands ensure their logo is memorable. Your target audience should be able to recall your brand after just one glance of your logo. Similar to any symbol, your logo should consist of a design that people will easily remember. Nonetheless, you can enhance the memorability of your logo by starting with a unique design concept.

Consider using a simple idea that no one has ever used before. Again, the best example is the Nike logo. Additionally, whenever you can, refrain from complex, over-elaborate and multilayered designs, as these would be challenging for the viewer to remember.

7. Appropriate

A logo should suit the intended audience. For instance, if your target audience is children, you can use playful, yet fun and colorful, bold typefaces, but you can’t use the same design for corporate businesses such as law firms.

Therefore, when designing your logo, you need to understand the personas of your target audience. For instance, if your selling point against your competitors’ skews towards a younger, faster and cooler generation, then your logo should reflect this.

Additionally, remember that your logo is for your target demographic. Hence, you should refrain from creating one that you like, as this will beat the purpose of creating it in the first place. However, with proper market research, you will be able to design the perfect logo for your segment audience. Moreover, you can incorporate your brand’s story by brainstorming with your team on what elements best reflect your business. The story doesn’t have to be personal.

Having a strong brand, modern features, and a top-notch marketing strategy are paramount for the success of your business. However, standing out in the crowd is easier said than done for most brands. Yet a carefully thought-out, simple and unique design can give your business a fresh take in the fierce market. Although designing a logo sounds like hard work, it shouldn’t be, follow the rules and principles above for the perfect logo design. Remember, a logo isn’t everything when it comes to branding or marketing but it’s the best precursor for making the right first impression on your clients.

Umer Bilal

Umer Bilal works for Grafdom and is the leading web designer in Dubai . When he’s not pursuing his passion for education technology, Umer writes engaging content that aims to offer advice on trending web development and designing tools.

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Have you ever seen a well-established business or brand without a logo? Of course not! This is because a logo is the face of your brand, the very first impression your company or business makes on its target audience. Depending on how well you represent......