How To Design A Logo - The Ultimate Guide

September 22, 2021
Authored by:
Alisha Shibli
Featuring:

To build a successful business, you need to think about your brand.

Whether you're building a small local business, or you're starting a solopreneurial venture, or you're on your way to building the next conglomerate––it all starts with building a credible brand.

A strong brand creates instant recognition and helps you identify your customers (existing and potential). The bigger you build your brand, the better opportunities you'll attract for your business.

But just saying, "build a brand" is vague. How do you, exactly, build this trustworthy and robust brand--one that helps your business?

It starts with getting the essential visual elements right, such as your logo.

What Is A Logo?

Your company logo is one of the first visual elements that your user is exposed to. It's an excellent opportunity to set the tone and start building trust with your clients and customers.

As Milton Glaser, the man behind the internationally renowned - I Love New York graphic/logo, famously said:

"There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!

Wow, is the one to aim for."

So, when thinking about how to design a logo that'll add value to the business and help build a strong brand, consider these three factors:

  • Scalability
  • Flexibility
  • Memorability

Your logo will be used on multiple platforms, both online and offline, even on your email signature. Therefore, you must design it to keep in mind how it'll translate in all your marketing campaigns and that it doesn't get lost in the crowd.

When it comes to logos, there are generic logos, and then there are great logos--ones that you can identify without their brand name attached to them. For example, can you guess what brand this is?


So, how to design a memorable logo? If you're at the stage of creating a company logo, you're in a position where you can impact how your customers perceive your brand.

And while a logo may seem like a simple task, knowing how to design a "just right" logo and one that helps you build a memorable brand requires a bit of effort.

In this article, we'll go through eight steps on how to design a business logo.

Define Your Brand Identity

You want your business logo design to communicate your brand’s personality. For that to happen, you first need to outline your brand’s core personality. Once you know what makes you unique and what your brand is all about, it will be a lot easier for you to make design choices that complement each other.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself, to get to the bottom of your brand identity:

  • Why did we start this business?
  • What are some beliefs and values that are important to us as a brand?
  • What do we do better than our competitors?
  • What makes us and our product special?
  • If we could describe our brand in three words, what would they be?
  • What are the three words we would want our customers to use to describe us?

How To Design A Logo?

Mentioned below are eight steps for designing a logo for your business––one that is scalable, flexible, and memorable.

Step 1: Start with your brand story

Businesses need to make money. While that's true, it's not poetic, nor is it emotional enough for your user to engage with you. To truly build a profitable business, you need to sell your story more than your product.

Consumers and marketing have evolved significantly over the years. Today, the customer is more interested in your story than the ten exquisite features of your product. So, what does this mean to you?

Before you start creating a logo, take some time to craft your brand story. The way to do this is to stop thinking about what you do and start thinking about why you do it. The root of your story lies in answering the 'why,' and this gets translated into colours, typefaces, and the overall design of your logo.

Step 2: Study your competitors

Studying your competitors that fit within your brand guidelines might seem odd in the beginning. However, it could give you a different and unique insight into your industry. When you do thorough competitor research, you begin to understand how they built their brand, where you are in the brand-building process, and how to take things up a notch to exceed customer expectations.

And when it comes to studying competitors, don't get stuck on your immediate list. Study a mix of local, national, and international brands in your space. Understand what they offer and how they communicate their brand.

The more you study, the more you'll be inspired. You'll see billboards, and instead of looking at the message, you'll be observing the typography or the colour combination.

Step 3: Look for inspiration

When looking for inspiration, don't limit yourself to just looking at other logos. While that can be a great starting point, try observing everything around you and soak up all the inspiration you can find.

When you're actively looking for inspiration, you'll find it in some of the most unexpected places. For example, the colour of a flower or a leaf's shape will give you some ideas. You'll start noticing different fonts instead of reading the message, and you'll see how different colours and fonts trigger different emotions.

Once you immerse yourself in the logo design process, you won't even have to look for inspiration--it'll come to you. You'll see certain things and have one or multiple "Aha!" moments. Keep your eyes and your mind open, and soon you'll find the perfect logo.

Step 4: Know what makes for a good logo

Once you have your brand story and inspiration in place, the next step is to understand the characteristics of a great logo. Knowing how to design a logo that's right according to the design principles and tells a story takes effort. Here are four essential characteristics that every good logo must have:

  • Create a logo that can stand the test of time. You might pick a design that's relevant today but before you put your stamp on it, ask yourself, "will this be relevant ten years from today?" Keep working on the logo until the answer to that question is a solid yes.
  • Create a logo that resonates with your audience. Your logo doesn't necessarily need to have your business name or show your selling product. But it needs to connect with your audience. For this, a detailed study of your target market is necessary.
  • Create a simple logo. Your logo doesn't need to have the most complicated design or ten different colours. The phrase "less is more" is famous for a reason.
  • Create a versatile logo. You'll be using your logo in multiple places--online ads and offline communication. Giant billboards and small business cards. The logo needs to look good in all shapes and sizes.

Step 5: Be mindful about your colour palette and fonts

Your logo will be placed on multiple different backgrounds, which is why you need to think about your colour variations. A good practice is to create a version of your logo for both light and dark backgrounds. This might mean changing the font's colour, or it could also mean changing the colour of your entire logo. Place your logo on various backgrounds to get a fair idea. And if budget allows, put it on t-shirts, mugs, notepads, and a few other items to see how it looks.

Choosing a font is an equally important decision. The font you choose can say a lot about your business. You could either go with serif (with stems on each letter) or sans serif (no stems).

Whichever font you choose, consider steering away from the generic ones such as Times New Roman or Comic Sans or Calibri. These fonts are used everywhere, and they'll do nothing to make your business stand out.

Step 6: Explore logo makers

Having all the necessary information about what makes an excellent logo is great. However, designing a logo from scratch still isn't that easy, which is why you should consider using a logo maker. All you have to do is enter your business name along with a slogan, a tagline, or any other text you think might be relevant and viola! In just a few seconds, you'll get dozens of high resolution, transparent, and black and white logos that are ready to use. You can pick the logo you like and customize its colour, icon, design, font, and more according to your brand guidelines.

And that's not all--the platform also offers website packages and a free domain name with selected packages. In a matter of a few minutes, you'll have your business website along with a brilliant logo up and running.

Step 7: Take a break from your logo

Once you have your final logo ready, step back from it for some time. Don't look at it for a few days. For several days you have been immersed in the process of designing your logo. You'll need to give your mind a break to look at the design from a fresh perspective. When you study your logo again after a few days, you might be able to spot a mistake or an element that could be better-defined.

Step 8: Refine your choice

When you think you've got the final logo ready, share it and seek feedback. This could be from your friends, family, colleagues or your target audience. Check if the logo speaks to them and how they react to it.

One of the essential qualities that you're gunning for is memorability. Do the people who see the logo remember it? Can they associate your brand with your logo?

With this feedback, you can go back to the design and add the final touches to ensure that the logo you have is nothing short of perfect.

How To Optimize Your Logo

Whether it's the Adidas three bars or the iconic golden arches of McDonald's, the world of logo design is filled with imagery synonymous with brand names and companies. While it's often difficult to find the perfect representation for your business, you can find help with logo design. But the work doesn't stop there.

Once you have your logo, it's vital to follow some logo optimization standards and use them to improve your brand's visibility. After all, the goal of a well-designed logo is to generate brand association and have people think about your business with one quick look at your logo.

To get to that point, you need to make the logo as visible online as possible, be it your site, social media accounts, or Google SERPs.

Luckily, we put together a group of logo optimization tips to generate SEO wins and boost visibility. Whether you just made your logo design last week or already have had it printed on company clothing for years, these tips are useful.

Custom filename

Logo optimization starts with the file name. Don't upload your logo photos with generic/generated file names. Consider, which name sounds more usable by search engines "logo.jpg/png" or "Company-Name-Color-Logo"? Even better, attach the main keyword to the logo file name.

The simple act of logo optimization of including the business name may not seem like a big deal, but it's crucial to SEO best practices. When you Google optimize logo file names, you help search engines understand what logo image represents and improve the SEO value.

Note:

Always use dashes! Google's web crawlers understand dashes and will read every word in your filename. If you use underscores, you run the risk of muddling the file name and not being understood.

The alt text trick

Suppose you're familiar with classic SEO terms/parameters. In that case, you'll already know that Alt text for images describes the image that search engines and screen readers can use to interpret the image on display. Alt text helps comply with accessibility standards and provides a small opportunity for logo optimization.

However, be sure to avoid keyword stuffing and other over-optimization techniques (an SEO agency can help with this). The primary purpose of Alt text is for accessibility to screen readers. Your logo Alt text should be easy to read and understand.

Note:

Google highlighted the importance of Alt tags in their Image Publishing Guidelines.

Use Schema.org to markup your logo

Schema is microdata you can add to HTML tags that let search engines know how to represent your web page data in SERPs. It's more or less organizational data for search engines. There are more reasons why you should use schema.

On logo optimization, the best thing about schema markup is that you can tag one image on your site as your business's official logo. This tag is invaluable for building the Knowledge Graph box in Google search results when users search your business.

Over time, this will translate into increased ranking and brand association with your logo.

Logo file size

An overlooked aspect of logo optimization is file size. Avoid uploading large image files and then displaying them in a smaller size. Instead, optimize images by compressing them for web use. This maintains quality while also uploading a smaller file onto the site.

Finally, always use responsive images. It's a necessity when visitors could access your site from a phone, a tablet, laptops, and any number of web-connected pieces of tech.

Note:

Always use an image for the logo because it allows for logo optimization for SEO. WordPress image replacement options and webpage themes that display the logo as a DIV background image or CSS sprites are undesirable logo options because they don't allow you to set ALT text or Schema.org markup.

Quick Logo Optimization Tips

  • Since Google's site design has white backgrounds, there have been indications that if you tag a white/transparent image as your logo, Google's system will decline to use it because it would seem invisible. Your logo must have colours beyond just white and transparent to avoid this error.
  • Use the same logo image on Google My Business and social media sites. Consistent use reinforces the image as your brand's representation.

Start developing your logo SEO strategy today

When thinking about how to design a logo, keep these few tips in mind:

  • Don't follow trends. Instead, focus on creating something timeless.
  • Don't get consumed by style. Instead, focus on substance. All style and no substance will not make you memorable.

Your logo is your visual pitch. So make sure it builds some connection with your audience.

Now that you know some logo optimization secrets, their addition to your SEO plan can boost your website and brand in search engine rankings. Are you worried your SEO-optimized logo isn't up to snuff? Or maybe it's time for a rebrand?

To get the most out of your logo design, you'll want to check out different design techniques, branding strategies, and industry examples to ensure you create the logo that speaks for your brand.

Why not try out our online logo maker tool to watch your logo design come to life.
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Alisha Shibli

Alisha is the Head of Marketing at LOGO.com. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.