Designing iconic and memorable logos isn’t as easy as it looks. Looking at the logos of the top brands like Nike, Apple, or Amazon, you might think it’s very simple.
What’s so difficult about designing Nike’s logo? You just add a swoosh and you’re done, right?
Well, not exactly.
Logo design is more intricate and complicated than just drawing shapes, adding color, or choosing a font.
There’s a lot more involved in the logo design process. And if you’re a designer, you might have realized this already.
That’s why you’re probably here. To learn some logo design tips so that your logos not only look good but also be meaningful.
In this article, I’ll be sharing some important logo design tips that will help you improve your logos and make them better.
Some of these logo design tips might seem too obvious or apparent, but they are still overlooked by many designers.
Here’s the list of tips for designing good logos.
Logo Design Tips That Will Help You Design Better Logos
Here are the best tips that will help you become a better logo designer:
1. Have A Good Understanding Of The Brand
This is probably the most important and most often overlooked by designers. A logo is not just an image.
A logo is a visual identification tool.
When you think about Apple’s logo, what comes to your mind?
You probably think about their premium products that are in many ways superior to the rest of the competition. You look at the logo and instantly know that the product will be good. You’ll feel pride owning one of their products.
And this is not by accident. Apple’s branding has played a crucial role in creating its personality.
That’s because the Apple logo was designed with their brand in mind.
Before designing, try to understand the brand and what it reflects. Conduct research to understand the brand’s values, attributes, and personality.
Is the brand more serious or fun? Do they have a casual vibe or formal?
By conducting brand research, you’ll be able to find the answers to this question. Also, don’t rely on guesswork and finding answers on your own.
Always talk to your client when researching the brand as they can help you answer all your questions.
A good practice to understand the brand is by conducting a discovery session or sending a logo questionnaire to your client.
2. Focus On The Audience
Designing a logo for the target audience is just as important as having a clear understanding of the brand.
At the end of the day, they should serve the target audience for which it is designed.
For example – An energetic and sporty logo would fit well for a sports brand than a bland and simple one.
Whenever you’re designing a logo, think from the perspective of the audience to understand how they would react after looking at the logo.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What are they like?
- What are their struggles and problems?
- What are they trying to solve with this brand?
- How do they feel?
This will help you uncover so much about the target audience and their motivations. It’s also highly recommended that you create user personas to fully understand the target audience.
If the target audience understands the logo, they will be likely to remember the brand and feel more connected to it.
3. Think About The Long Term Goals
This logo design tip is along the lines of the first two. Whenever you’re designing a logo, always consider the long-term goals of the business.
A logo that is good today for the brand may not be ideal in the next 5-10 years. It’s better to design a logo that represents the brand for a long time.
No one likes an outdated design. And worse of all, no one wants to go through a rebrand every 5-10 years. Not to mention the risk and cost involved with rebranding.
So, how do you ensure the longevity of your logo?
It’s quite simple. You should talk to your client about their long-term business goals. Figure out if they have plans on expanding or focusing on a new product or audience in the long run.
With this information, you’ll be able to figure out what the brand is today and what it’s going to look like in the next 5, 10, or 20 years.
4. Make Your Logo Meaningful
A good logo is one that has a meaning. No, I’m not saying you must design logos with hidden meanings.
What I’m saying is your logo should be meaningful to the brand and what it represents.
Consider Amazon’s logo:
This logo creates a long-lasting impression on the audience and instantly conveys the message of the brand.
Try to bring out the values in your logo and give it an authentic back story. This will help the audience relate to the brand even more as the logo you design will have a meaning behind it.
5. Don’t Get Hyped Over Trends
I see a lot of designers making the mistake of getting lost in trends and trying to mimic what’s “new” or “hot”.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But when you’re designing a logo for a brand, you need to let go of that hype train.
Trends come and go. What’s hot today will be considered garbage in a few years.
Today, it’s minimalism. Tomorrow, it’ll be gradients. And so on.
Relying completely on trends while designing logos is the quickest way to make your logo outdated.
When you’re designing a brand’s identity, longevity should always be the first priority over any design trend no matter how popular it is.
6. Make It Versatile
A logo is used for different purposes, contexts, and sizes. It can be used on a website, business cards, flyers, and many other locations.
You should make sure your logo is adaptable to all different sizes and use cases. Make sure to test your logo in different use cases to know if it’s versatile enough.
If it’s not, try creating some variations for different use cases. For example, on dark backgrounds, use a light-colored version of the logo.
Or on business cards or small stationery items, only use the symbol mark of the logo without the text.
Also, make sure your logo is in vector format. Use software like Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer to design your logos.
Try to stay away from free online logo maker tools as they don’t offer enough flexibility both in terms of design and file formats.
7. Design In Black & White First
When I first started designing logos, I used to fall into the trap of spending countless hours experiment with colors when my logo wasn’t even complete.
And I’ve seen many designers fall into this trap. For one reason, it’s tempting to see how your logo would look in different colors.
But that’s an inefficient way of designing logos. At first, you should only work with black and white colors.
This will help you focus more on the concept and shape of your logo before jumping into details that can be changed easily later on.
Another reason why many professional designers recommend designing in black and white is that if your logo doesn’t look good in black and white, it most likely won’t look good after adding colors.
The logo you design may be used in a colorless black and white version in many instances. And if it fails to impress without color, then it’s not a good logo.
8. Keep It Simple
One of the most important principles of logo design is that it should be simple. Don’t try to complicate your logo by adding too many elements or colors.
There are many advantages of designing a simple logo:
- It’s memorable
- It’s flexible
- It’s recognizable
If you look at the logos of the top brands in the world, you’ll notice that a lot of them are very simple.
Apple, Nike, and FedEx are some examples of brands that have straightforward logos, yet they are so powerful and iconic.
To design a simple logo, try using shapes that are clean and easily recognizable. Also, use fonts that aren’t too complicated or hard to read.
9. Use Colors Carefully
Do you know that 95% of top brands in the world only use two colors in their logo?
So, if you think that adding too many colors to your logo is going to make it better, think again.
In the previous tip, I talked about the importance of keeping your logo simple. And colors play a major part in determining the simplicity of your logo.
If you use too many colors, your logo can look complicated and messy.
Don’t try to add colors to your logo without any thought. When designing a logo for a brand, it’s important to take into account its characteristics, attributes, and other values.
You wouldn’t use pink color for a funeral servicer brand, right?
Before choosing a color, read about color psychology and how it influences our brain. For example, the color red is associated with energy, passion, and anger.
Research about the brand and what it represents to pick the right color. Don’t randomly choose colors or pick from existing logos because they look cool or awesome.
Also, try using complementary colors or shades in your logo to add some contrast. Using the same colors with no contrast will not make your logo look any good.
Lastly, if you want to use gradients, pick the proper combination that looks visually appealing. Keep in mind that your logo might have different cases and a gradient may not be perfect for some of the use cases.
10. Choose The Right Fonts
Just like colors, fonts also evoke different emotional responses in our brains. Some fonts can make people feel comfortable, trustable, and youthful while others can make them feel angry or repulsed.
It’s important to choose a font that lets the audience know what this brand’s personality looks like.
Want to establish a quirky and fun personality? You can use a script font that has swishes and curls in its letters.
Want to establish an elegant and classic personality? A serif font like Playfair Display might work for you.
At the end of the day, you need to choose a font that aligns the most with the brand’s personality.
You should also make sure that your font blends well with the symbol mark.
11. Consider Proportions & Symmetry
Even the best logos can look bad if they’re not proportionate or symmetric. Your logo should look visually appealing to the audience.
To do that, it should be proportionate in its size and positioning. A logo with a very big font and a small symbol mark will not look good.
Now, you don’t have to get carried away in making your logo perfect by using countless grids or the golden ratio.
Still, you should make sure it looks consistent in terms of size, position, curves, arc, and edges.
Look for edges or curves in your logo and check if they’re consistent. Check the spacing between the symbol and the font to make sure they’re not too close or too far from each other.
12. Get Opinions From Others
We designers take pride in our work and rightfully so. But when you’re working for a client, it’s better to take a second or third opinion from others.
There’s nothing wrong with this and in fact, is helpful in many cases. When you’re working on something for too long, it might look good to your eyes.
But that may not be true for others.
It wouldn’t hurt you to take opinions from other designers or friends. Before presenting a logo to my clients, I always first show it to my friends. I show it to both my designer friends and the ones who are not designers.
This helps me get feedback that I may not have thought about. Oftentimes, you may overlook some important details but they can be apparent to someone else.
You don’t have to change your logo based on every critique or feedback you get. You can get decide on which feedback helps you and which one doesn’t.
Another tip when getting feedback from others is to explain what the logo is and who it is for. You’re not getting anything useful if you’re just going to send a logo to someone without providing any context about the logo and brand.
Want opinions and feedback on your logo? Join the GridRule community on Facebook.
A lot of logo design tips in this article might seem obvious to you. While reading this, you might have even said “duh” multiple times.
But many designers don’t follow these basic practices while designing logos. And if you’re one of them, I hope this article helped you sharpen your logo design skills.
Bookmark this article so that you can back and read it anytime you’re designing a logo. Also, share it with others who will find this helpful.