What is logo design?

What is logo design ?

A logo is a graphic mark or symbol, used for distinct public identification and recognition of a company or group of people. It can be any random abstract design, or may contain the name of the thing it represents. We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we say that a company’s logo is in fact synonymous to its brand and trademark.

Logos are an integral part of graphic designing as they are visual entities. Custom logo designs give a ‘face’ to your company, without which efficient branding is almost impossible. Owing to the high amount of importance it holds in building corporate identities and fostering customer recognition, it is advisable to redesign logos frequently.

Introduction

Your logo is the visual representation of your brand—and everything it stands for. At a glance, it should reflect your brand’s personality and promise. Ideally, it will be memorable and stand out from the crowd. Consider iconic logos such as the Nike swoosh Apple Computer’s simple apple or Target’s red bulls eye. What comes to mind when you think of each one?

If you are in the process of starting a small business, you may not have the resources to hire a designer to develop your logo. This guide was developed to help small business owners with no design experience understand how to create a logo. You’ll learn about the processes necessary to transfer your ideas onto paper, find out how to spot flaws in your concept and enable your primary idea to grow until it reaches a satisfying level of quality.

Although this may be new ground, you’ll probably learn a lot and enjoy the experience. So, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a logo ?

A logo works much like your name. When you were born, your parents gave you a name that, over time, you infused with personality. Now, when people hear your name, they immediately think of you. And when people talk about you, your name evokes certain emotions and characteristics.

Whenever the name comes up, people immediately think “that funny party guy who has a deep voice” or “that blonde girl who has a quirky laugh and always dresses well.”

In the same vein, a logo is a symbolic representation of your brand identity. It carries vital information about who you are and what you do and causes people to feel a certain emotion. For example, BMW is associated with precision, quality vehicles and prestige, as many company executives drive their sedans. Nike is associated with high-level sports performance and durable shoes.

Why are logos important?

Logos give businesses an identity, but you need to understand why that is so important. The branding process has many different stages and elements. The design and proper usage of your logo are a big part of it.

Your job is to make sure people connect the dots and recognize your brand the second they see the logo. If that works, your marketing efforts will be much more effective. The fact is, most people build an emotional connection with the brands they’ve had positive experiences with, based on their history and personality.

When targeted consumers see your logo, they need to instantly recognize it and connect it with your brand values. Why is this important? Because approximately 65 percent of consumers said shared values attract them to a brand and to the specific products or services you offer. They also revealed that shared values help make your brand more memorable. The very next time they think about something related to your niche, your brand name and logo should be the first images that pop into their minds.

Your audience should be able to differentiate your logo from a series of different brand logos on a shelf and choose your product based on the fact that they associate it with quality, cost-effectiveness or any other characteristic that you want to be known for.

Principles of an effective logo

For you to successfully create a logo, there are some principles you need to be aware of. As a beginner in the world of logo design, you’ll need to train your mind so that it can adopt a creative thinking process that will enable you to come up with unique designs. You should be able to do this if you understand the following principles:

Simplicity is the key

Designers constantly overdo it when it comes to logos. But the most popular logos are striking in their simplicity. Nike and Apple are great examples: everyone on the planet recognizes these logos and their mottos. Obviously, there’s a thin line between overdoing and under doing it, and this might be your biggest challenge when designing a logo.

It needs to be unique

In a sea of companies, the last thing you need is a generic logo design that looks like everyone else’s. Sure, there are some popular design features for any niche, but you need something with a unique style—features that people relate to your brand specifically.

It needs to be recognizable

You need to get inside the mind of your target audience, find out what they like and desire, and develop your design accordingly. The logo should stand out and be easy to recognize, even from a distance. Obviously, a lot of research needs to be done here but it will be worth your while.

Flexibility is very important

The logo should be recognizable regardless of size or the medium it is represented in. It needs to work both in color and black and white, on billboards and business cards, in a corner of a web page viewed from a smartphone, and on keychains and mugs. Logos that are overly complex don’t translate well into smaller formats.

It needs mirror a business’ personality

It’s possible to come up with a great logo that just lacks the right spirit. An excellent example would be to use playful colors and a cartoonish font when creating a logo for a serious law firm—that’s a big no-no. However, there are many different mistakes you can make in this process that are not as obvious, which is why it’s quite important for you to clearly define your business.

Different types of logos

Now that you’re familiar with the basic principles, it’s time to find out what types of logos there are, so you can become familiar with your options. Different types of logos can help you achieve maximal personalization and find just the right tone.

Text

A common mistake laymen make is thinking that a logo needs to consist only of design elements rather than plain text. This is far from the truth. It’s possible to create a timeless design by using a word, a single letter or an abbreviation. The beauty of this approach lies in different fonts and possibilities that are practically limitless.

Symbolic

Symbols are fun and memorable. A symbol can be anything from a small green leaf that signifies eco-consciousness to a specific animal, geometric shapes or even something completely abstract. Many symbols are recognizable worldwide, and while some of them incorporate other well-known symbols from the past, or were inspired by them, a lot of the best ones were created from scratch.

The obvious problem here is that you won’t be the first person to remember a certain connotation between a symbol and a particular business niche, and it’s very likely that you’ll end up with a concept that already exists if you don’t do your homework.

Combined

If you decide to combine symbols with text, you’ll have even more options for your design. There are many interesting examples of how powerful a combination of symbols and words can be in the world of logos. But there’s a problem you need to avoid. This type of logo can easily be overdone—with so many options, it can be difficult not to cross that thin line we mentioned earlier. Staying aware of our first principle—simplicity—will keep you on the right track.

The logo design process

Everything we’ve mentioned so far is a bit theoretical, but now it’s time to see the exact steps you need to go through before you can come up with a final version of your logo. A light bulb appearing above your head along with a brilliant idea in your mind the minute you start working on it is a possibility, but also highly unlikely. Any creative process needs to be divided into clear steps, so that you can be as efficient as possible.

Create a brief or creative guideline, to cover the end goals and problems that need to be addressed.

Before you start working on the logo, you need to define what you are trying to convey, who your target audience is, what common problem you will be solving and what makes your brand different from the competition. You essentially want to clearly define your value proposition and crystallize your brand philosophy.

Here’s an efficient list of questions you should have in front of you during this process:

  • What are my goals?
  • Who I am trying to present via a logo?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What makes me better than my competition?
  • What does my brand stand for?

Talk with your business associates and employees, or family members if you are starting a family business, and make sure you know how you want others to view your company.

In-depth research

The next step is to start looking at the market, other companies in your niche and even what consumers are saying on forums and social media. Your logo needs to be market appropriate, tailored to suit the preferences of your target audience and initiate an emotional response. Simultaneously, it must be consistent with your own brand values and the type of image you wish to portray. Creating an ideal customer avatar helps a lot during this stage.

Armed with insights from your research, you can begin to narrow your ideas down to the specific type of logo you think would work best, such as one of the three mentioned in the previous section. You can also start to think about the colors, fonts and symbols you can use, and the emotion you want to convey. It’s best to focus on one or two characteristics that you’d like showcase through your logo, such as “elegant and modern” or “young and adventurous.”

Finding inspiration and exploring different ideas

This is the point where you sit down with your business partners, friends or family members, make lots of coffee and start brainstorming. While you’re doing your homework, make sure that you expose your mind to different sources of inspiration — having a staring contest with a blank page in front of you can hardly do any good. You can look at pop culture, art, history, mythology, something from your past that has great emotional value, an inspirational quote from a book or movie, or create a play on words based on your company name. It will keep you motivated and focused throughout the whole process if you take several short breaks.

Creating several coherent digital draft versions

Once you have a good idea what you want to accomplish and have found several elements you wish to incorporate, you can begin to sketch out different ideas on paper. You don’t need great drawing skills for this process, just create rough images. There are three main options here: you can create rough freehand drawings to give a professional designer an idea of what you want, use computer software and online tools to put together a few drafts or just outsource the project completely, but more on that later.

Evaluating and tweaking the design

The primary concept you come up with should be treated as a tree that has just been planted—you need to give it space to breathe and grow. When you are designing your own logo, it’s best to share your ideas and rough sketches with friends and family, or even with potential customers on social media, and get some feedback.

Producing samples and selecting a design

When you have created several design options that work best, it’s time to crystallize them. At this point you can choose one or two designs that everyone likes, and create one or two variations, changing small things like font, color, proportions or the positioning of some of the elements. You also should test your concepts in black and white, and in color, and see if they work in a range of sizes. After this is done, it’s time to seek more feedback. When you’ve determined which of these variations seems to get the best response, it’s time to move on to the final phase.

Free Tools

If you have time on your hands and want to create a logo by yourself, the next three tools will be very helpful. Each of them is a great tool that’s very efficient and most importantly—free to use.

Online Logo Maker

With over one million users, this software is capable of providing you with a first-hand experience in the world of logos. The huge collection of images from a lot of different categories makes it simple to use and you can create your own logo within minutes. You should be aware that the interface of this tool is not that great, which the only major disadvantage of Online Logo Maker is. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to create good symbolic logos using this software.

Features/Benefits

  • Logos create the first impression of the company, which plays a key role in brand building.
  • They define the character of your businessand adds to its credibility.
  • Logos are memorable. It is true that people remember images better than words, and so a creative and memorable design leaves a lasting impression in the minds of viewers, even if they actually forget the name of the company.
  • Logos send out a message. By creating artistic representation of the brand, logo designers enable companies to convey the meaning attached to their brand.
  • An elegant logo adds to authenticity and reliability of the company in the eyes of the customers.
  • You cannot make minor changes in the image from the service database
  • Usually mediocre result (everything depends on your skills and experience)

Tips for designing an eye-catching logo

  • Skillfully merge two or more possibly contrasting images into one to give the logo a clever and memorable touch. Logos which play mind games with the viewers often are more appreciated than simplistic designs.
  • Don’t add too many colors. As visually appealing it may seem, too many colors often make the logo illegible and messy in reduced sizes. Stick to 2-3, preferably contrasting colors.
  • Choose bold, bright or cool and subtle colors which reflect the personality of the company. Even black and white logos can be very impactful at times.
  • Disconnect the images and the text. Overlapping text-image logos can prove to be illegible, messy and overdone.
  • Opt for a unique logo design rather than taking the easy way out of using a clipart. Clipart is universally available and cannot be trademarked. Hence creating your own logo design eliminates the possibility of other companies using the same design as yours to their logo.
  • Use negative space efficiently. Negative space is the space created in between text or images.
  • Keep the design simple and classy. Simple logos often are highly impactful and always prove to be the best icons when standing the test of time. May it be Apple or Nike, simple logos leave an unmistakable brand mark.
  • Be open to timely changes to your design to make it more impactful, and to make sure that the logo does not stand outdated in the current working scenario.

Choosing the best company for your logo design

  • Check for the company’s portfolio and find out what realms they specialize in.
  • Check for customer reviews and satisfaction.
  • Along with the designing skills, check for company’s branding skills. Even the most exceptional designers without appropriate knowledge about branding can fail to generate the perfect logo you require.
  • Check for compatibility of ideas – whether they can to put to paper what you envision to stand as the face of your company.
  • Make sure they provide healthy client support. Multiple changes in the logo design could be required before the perfect logo is generated, and for the very reason, it is essential that the company puts the client’s needs above all.

In an era where everything from a safety pin to a jumbo jet sells because of a brand name, hiring a brand design agency that has the ability to create a powerful impact on target customers has become mandatory for every business. Brand design or branding is a highly specialized activity. It requires focused efforts that reach beyond the mundane tasks of logo design, media buying, e-mail blasts and direct mail.

Though brand design includes creativity, it is a process that involves long-term strategic thinking. Some of the key strategies and tactics for creating a successful brand are brand research, brand planning, profiling, image analysis, brand image, brand marketing and internet branding.

Brand design involves the creation of a brand image or identity, establishing a strong market position, and generating high brand equity. Brand equity refers to the total value of your brand and determines the position of your company in the market.

Your brand reflects your products’ unique characteristics, and brand design involves the creation of an image that your target customers perceive through your company name, logo, slogan and all communications.

Selecting the right agency for a company brand design can be a formidable task. A great partnership can deliver immense ROI and growth, while a mismatch can result in loss of valuable time and money, decreased sales, and cause severe damage to your brand.

How to choose a design company :

Preparation

Are you ready to hire a professional brand design company? Set your goals. Clearly define your expectations. Freeze your budget. Try to foresee the hurdles that you may encounter until the desired results are achieved.

Short listing

Identify some of the best brands through your favorite magazines, TV commercials, hoardings, clubs and other sources. Find out and list the brand design companies that created those brands. Strike out the design companies that work for your competitors.

Do an Internet search using keywords such as “brand design agency”. The first page of the search engine results page will list the agencies that have done good work and are prominent in their field. Select about 6 to 8 names from the results.

Evaluation

Discuss your goals and objectives with your shortlisted agencies. Narrow your list to those that focus on brand design, and eliminate those that focus only on logo design, marketing or advertising.

The key points for evaluation are :

Size : 

  • A big agency may assign its "C" team and yet cost a lot. Instead, select a smaller agency which can be more dedicated to your cause, and more economical too.

Expertise :

  • Make sure that the agency has the right expertise, skills, and sufficient knowledge of modern tools and technologies.

Industry Experience :

  • Check the agency's portfolio for successful brands, and inquire if the same team will work with you now.

Ideas and Strategy :

  • Did the agency come up with a few unique creative ideas that you did not think of during your interaction? Is the agency strategic and tactical in its thinking and approach?

Chemistry :

  • If the agency team struck a good rapport with you during the evaluation interaction, then it is likely to strike a long-term, successful relationship in your brand design journey

Flat world     Solutions is a brand design agency that employs creative and experienced professionals who possess the necessary traits and attributes required creating a great brand design for you. Our portfolio and testimonials speak volumes about our creative abilities and professional project execution skills.