“A logo is the graphic extension of the internal realities of a company.” - Saul Bass
Welcome to Episode 23: 7 Factors That Make Up The Perfect Logo
Creating a logo for your business is a BIG DEAL! It’s not just about the shapes, colours and fonts … those are the face of everything to come. This design element shapes your entire brand, it’s where it is born, and is the very first thing people see and will remember you by for (hopefully) years to come. It might not seem substantial when you’re thinking about the bigger picture.
Now granted, there is no “perfect” formula to answer this, but this process also shouldn’t be mind-boggling rocket science either. There are several fundamental principles to point you in the right direction.
Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...
Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!
In today’s day-in-age, there are millions upon millions of people out there calling themselves designers and offering logo design services. But the real question is … how many of them even know what makes a great logo design?
Now granted, there is no “perfect” formula to answer this, but this process also shouldn’t be mind-boggling rocket science either. There are several fundamental principles to point you in the right direction. For starters, you should not DIY your logo unless you have some mad creative/design skills.
Creating a logo for your business is a BIG DEAL! It’s not just about the shapes, colours, and fonts … those are the face of everything to come. This design element shapes your entire brand, it’s where it is born and is the very first thing people see and will remember you by for (hopefully) years to come. It might not seem substantial when you’re thinking about the bigger picture. But trust me … you don’t want to let any unwise decisions slip through the cracks.
When you think of the importance of a logo, it is narrowed down to three basic functions:
A logo is not forever. It too must evolve with time just as your business will.
Now to pony this all up with some famously insightful words as food for thought from Patrick Winfield, Art Director, Artist, and Photographer …
“I like to work first in black and white to ensure that the logo will look good in its simplest form. Color is very subjective and emotional. This can distract from the overall design -- say if you saw your logo in all red, that color may be the first thing that you respond to and not the composition of the design elements. I will not even consider submitting color suggestions to a client for review until they have signed off on a final black and white logo.”
Getting back to the nitty-gritty of it all …
Time and of course financials are always at the forefront when you’re just starting off as a business owner. And if this is the case -- as it is for many, most entrepreneurs look at different areas of their business plan as to where they feel they might be able to “cut costs” or “DIY” (do-it-yourself).
Some business owners feel that doing things themselves rather than paying a professional -- or going without -- is their best option. But in the end, this will only hurt their business -- and their brand – in the long run. More than they may realize.
Yes, designing your own logo may save you a few bucks, but think about how much it’s going to cost you in the long run …?
Designing a logo is just as much a science as it is an art form. If you choose the wrong logo, it can very much hurt your bigger picture or perhaps even put your company at risk. Your logo should be way more than just some coloured graphics filling up space on your website, social profiles, and business card … It is a visual representation of your company, and its mission and values. It represents everything you stand for as an entrepreneur.
Yes, you may have a striking artistic side and feel that your experience is “just enough” to allow you to come up with an award-winning logo design. But before you get started, I want to share some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make with a DIY design …
And the first most common mistake…
BAD FONT CHOICES.
Fonts are a lot like graphics in a way. Choosing the wrong one will either make or break your business’ brand in the eyes of your target market. You yourself might be fun and playful with a demon-ish edge, but does this style represent your business, its offerings, its mission, and its values?
The takeaway here … Every element within your logo design MUST WORK TOGETHER as a team to represent your business and brand as one.
Most DIY colour choices are made based on personal preference but when designing a logo, there is a lot more to consider. For starters, you probably remember from one of our previous blog posts; “Does Colour Really Matter?” -- about colours having strong psychological associations, so colour representation in your business must not be taken lightly.
Your logo must look and feel professional all the while being something you can be proud of to associate with everything your business stands for. Having something amateur or copied off something you saw on Google, could result in a hefty lawsuit -- and is just plain ‘ol bad business ethics. This is a wretched experience that you just do not need when you are just starting off. And something that could seriously break your business before it even has a chance to take off.
Immediately, your logo must let your audience know what you stand for and what your company is all about. All the while giving them “the feels”. This includes the messaging that the logo perceives or the tagline that follows suit.
So, keeping those pointers in mind, the key to a successful logo is to know ahead of time what you want and how you want to be perceived as a business. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean you need to micromanage the entire design process (this will only drive your graphic designer crazy) but it’s best to keep an open mind. So, if possible, brainstorm some ideas and prepare detailed information to supply to your designer before you get started.
And if you’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to brainstorming your bigger picture, take a peek at some of the amazing virtual tools available right at your fingertips, like Mind Map which is brought to you by Mindomo. It will really help you dig deep into your brand’s purpose and help get the creative juices flowing.
However, if you’re still feeling determined to be your own boss, wear all the hats and DIY your brand without a creative bone in your body, or are working with a professional, I am going to share with you the “rules” of great logo design -- a “formula” if you will -- of everything you need to help you create the “perfect” logo for your business.
Which we here at VU, like to consider the 10 Commandments of Logo Design …
COMMANDMENT #1: DO NOT OVERDO IT -- KEEP IT SIMPLE.
It’s all about making your brand’s message clear, concise, and consistent. The simplest of logos tend to do the best job. Plus, they are easier to recognize and most likely quicker to adapt and scale in all environments -- whether in a virtual or physical lifestyle.
COMMANDMENT #2: DO NOT ADD TONE.
Adding tones to your design adds a strong sense of gloominess as they are way too dark -- dangerous even. They tend to add “shadow” to an otherwise exceptional design. So instead of sticky to gloomy tones, create with tints to brighten things up!
COMMANDMENT #3: DO NOT USE RASTER IMAGERY.
For those who are unfamiliar, a raster image is compiled of millions of pixels -- tiny dots if you will -- that contain unique colour and tonal information that comes together to create an image. Which is usually produced from a larger photo or scanned image file. They are pixel-based and resolution dependent so as you may already be thinking, the answer is YES … the more pixels on the image, the higher the resolution and the higher the quality. Which means the larger the image.
So, using raster imagery is one of the hugest NO-NO’s in design-land as it creates digital havoc when pre-loading on any and all digital spaces.
COMMANDMENT #4: DO NOT MAKE TOO SMALL -- KEEP IT SCALABLE.
As you already know, the digital world is responsive. So, anything and everything built for digital should be built responsive. And yes, this even includes logos. This way they can adjust and scale to fit their surroundings, no matter the screen size.
COMMANDMENT #5: DO NOT GO COLOUR CRAZY!
Sometimes people forget that colours set the mood. So, going colour crazy is just going to lead to chaos. One should NOT just choose colours based upon their personal preference, how they’re feeling that week, or what color their favourite shirt is. Colours convey emotions all by themselves. So ideally, two to four colours are more than enough. Less is once again more. And of equal importance, make sure they complement each other.
COMMANDMENT #6: DO NOT KILL CHARM WITH TOO MANY FONTS.
Just like colours, fonts also define mood and emotion. And different fonts have different personalities, just like us humans. And the ones we choose need to make our brand shine, and not get swallowed up by the millions of brands out there in our niche. So, use more than one, but never more than two. And yes, SIZE DOES MATTER here. You again, want things to be clear, concise, and consistent. In short, it needs to be readable people!
COMMANDMENT #7: DO NOT CREATE AS AN OUTLINE.
Short n’ sweet … outlines look sharp in design, but no-way-hose on a logo as it makes the design way too difficult to comprehend -- or read. Especially on smaller screens. So, just avoid this design choice altogether.
COMMANDMENT #8: DO NOT WRITE ON YOUR DESIGN.
This one is simple. Just don’t do it. Responsive design is amazing in today’s virtual world. But one must remember, it may look amazing big, but it also has to look amazing small. So, if writings are placed on your design, they become illegible when microscopic.
COMMANDMENT #9: DO NOT PUT IT IN A BOX.
This one is again as simple as the last … Just do NOT do this. It limits the design's potential and makes it appear confined. So, let your logo breathe and adapt to white space in its surroundings without any boundaries.
And last but not least …
COMMANDMENT #10: DO NOT CREATE IN 3-D – KEEP THINGS FLAT.
Flat design was once a trend because it implied simplicity. And at one point, it was never to be seen in logo-land. However, nowadays with UX being of utmost importance in the digital world, icons in logos got rid of all the “fancy” details and became simpler. Which meant they then became more recognizable. For a while there, a lot of larger companies resisted the trend, while others fully supported it. But now, this trend became a design process to simplify partially due to the variety of available media formats.
So, “fancy” is out, and FLAT is in! And here to stay, most likely forever.
So, to wrap things up in a small bundle with a tight little bow, the takeaways of this utmost important question … “What makes a good logo?” are simple.
Just like your logo should be.
From a design standpoint, a good logo is simple in form but enough detail to convey the owner’s intended message. It is practical and appropriate, yet distinctive. It should be appropriate to your business needs and desires -- remember you’re building a brand personality here, not just a graphically pleasing design because you feel like it. This design should also be able to be printed at any size and in most cases, be effective on its own without colourization. And most importantly, TIMELESS, VERSATILE, and MEMORABLE.
Truthfully, it really boils down to two things: an amazing concept and phenomenal execution that can be remembered for decades!
This creative process is truly in a league of its own, and something we promise to touch base on more in a later digital glue “untangling” episode! However, the principles of a smart logo design, whether you’re a newbie designer, a DIYer, or an entrepreneur getting their toes wet working with a graphic designer, are what matters the most in today’s episode …
So, now that you know the “formula” to get what you need, to have a logo that makes your business sparkle n’ shine … Feel free to drop us a line with any burning questions you may have about your upcoming new logo design or rebrand.
Or if you’re feeling like venturing into a bit more research, you can pop by our website for a couple of quick reads from a few of our previous blog posts on this topic called:
I promise you; these “untangled” writings will dig a bit deeper into “next steps” and alongside what you’ve learned here today, you should now be ready to go make your mark on the world!
So, with all this newfound logo design knowledge, a CONGRATULATIONS is in order as you are now well on your way to showcasing the essence of your brand.
Just remember while your logo is substantially one of the most important pieces, it is just the beginning of your brand platform. Your brand should be built upon identity (who you really are) and image (how you want to be perceived). It will tell a story of why, how, and what you do … right down to the colours, fonts, graphics, website, social platforms, newsletter, email signature, literally EVERYTHING.
Your brand should represent all that you stand for as a business by communicating your purpose, values, and even your personality. And each of those core elements are equally important as the next. They pull one another together to create a passionate, recognizable, meaningful, and memorable experience.
So, the best advice I can give is to focus on “the feels” in order to create memorable benefits, connect emotionally, invest in your virtual presence, and most importantly, your brand is not about YOU, it’s about your audience and potential dream clients.
And to have great brand success, remember:
… Emotions drive decisions.
… Familiarity breeds preference.
… Design memories and experiences.
… Repetition is critical, but at all the right times.
And most importantly …
… People will never forget how you made them feel. They buy because they feel it, so make them feel something.