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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Business Logo Design

Some business logo designs are forgotten in a flash, while other designs just stick. And, if you think that it is the name of the business that helps your target market to remember and recognise the logo design, you would be mistaken. Although the majority of logo designs use both a wordmark and an icon on websites, you can still create a memorable design by using only an icon.

Whether you decide on using both an icon and a wordmark, only an icon or just a wordmark, the logo design process will call for significant research, a thorough understanding of your target audience and sound knowledge of the key logo design principles. So, if you were under the impression that logo designers can simply whip up effective logo designs in three simple steps, think again!

If your business does not boast a logo yet, use this opportunity to see to it that you design a business logo that will have a strong effect on how your target audience views your business or brand. With the help of the following nine essential steps, your end result will be a business logo design that your target market will love, recognise, and remember.

Step One – Begin with your company’s story

In addition to selling your merchandise and/or services to your target market, you will need to sell your business to them too. Nowadays, it is not good enough just to zoom in on the key facts of your services and/or products. Consumers connect much better to a story and, therefore, for a logo design to be effective, it needs to tell a story that aligns with your custom website design and the rest of your online marketing.

So, your first step is to identify the story that is behind your business. Instead of paying all of your attention to what your business can do for its target market, rather shift your focus to the reason behind delivering these products or services. This motive that drives your business to do what it does should be the starting point of your story. The shapes, colour combos, and fonts that you do decide on should link to this story (but more about this later). Your story is what differentiates you from your competitors and informs your branding and website design choices.

Step Two – List the words that best describe your business

Now that you have identified the story behind your company, your next step will be to identify one word that describes your products or services the best. Try to list as many synonyms for this word (and turning to a thesaurus for help is not cheating; it is recommended). Ultimately you want to narrow it down to a maximum of ten words that best describe the reason that you have identified in the previous step (Step One) as well as your products or services.

Step Three – Use these words to start drawing ideas

So, now you have identified why your business is doing what it does, and you have managed to identify a couple of words that will serve as guidance. With this knowledge, you can finally begin to sketch some designs.

The secret is not to be too critical at this stage – just draw every single idea that you can think of. If your first couple of attempts do not look right, be patient, and allow every idea to unfold and develop gradually. You can use some of your earlier drawings to help you to improve and fine-tune newer sketches.

Whatever you do, keep it simple! The majority of successful logos can be described as minimal. In other words, be picky when it comes to things like colour. You want to consider the current colour crazes, but at the same time, you want to pick a selection of colours (three different colours at the most) that will help you to distinguish yourself from your rivals.

The shapes that you use must also be straightforward. If it takes you longer than seven seconds to draw the main shapes of your logo design, you need to go back to the drawing board. Also, to make sure that your target market will remember your logo design, it is best to steer clear of generic shapes and icons such as stars and globes. If you get stuck, angular shapes such as triangles, rectangles, and squares can be good choices as these shapes are linked with desirable qualities such as productivity, balance, and reliability.

The challenge of this step is to find inspiration for your ideas. If you find that the story and words do not offer enough inspiration to get you firing on all cylinders, there is no harm in checking out other websites with logo designs. Even if it is a logo for a completely different industry, it can still stimulate your creativity. If you need a break from the computer screen, do something completely different. Inspiration many times come from the most unexpected places and, therefore, the secret is just to keep an open mind.

Step Four – Test your best designs

After you have sketched a couple of concepts, try to look at it objectively and select the best three ideas. If you are finding it difficult, the concepts that you find yourself looking at the most usually deserve to make it to the shortlist.

Show the three concepts that you have selected to a trustworthy co-worker, family member, or buddy. Ideally, you want to show these drafts to people who share some of the characteristics of your target market as they will be able to give you much better insight into how your actual target market will view your business and its products.

This means that you might receive negative feedback, but this step is a necessary evil. By opening yourself to honest criticism, you are much better equipped to improve your final business logo design. Based on the responses that you have received, you can then pick the concept that you want to use for your final logo design.

Step Five – Fine-tune the sketch

Now that you have decided which drawing you want to use for your final design, you can start to fine-tune it. Go back to the story (Step One) and words (Step Two) that you have written down and identify the words and elements that your drawing does not encapsulate yet. Using these words, you can refine your sketch further. You are also free to include elements that you liked from some of your previous concepts.

Step Six – Sketch your logo in digital format

You have most likely been wondering when it is time to ditch your pencil and notepad and switch on your computer. Once you have fine-tuned your final sketch, you are finally all set to recreate your design in digital format.

Getting the layout correct will be one of your main concerns. Although your design can be asymmetrical, you want it to be aligned in various contexts. Your logo should, at all times, appear aligned with its surroundings. You also want to check that the different shapes and text are spaced correctly.

Step Seven – Select your colour scheme

While your website developers can help you choose a background colour for your custom website design, in other ways you have little control over the background against which your business logo design will be placed. Your logo might be placed on anything from a coffee mug to a bumper sticker. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have different colour options that will work well with lighter backgrounds or darker backgrounds.

Blue and black are the most prominent colour choices, while the most popular secondary colour (in other words any other colour excluding the primary colour) is light grey, followed by dark grey. As mentioned earlier, when it comes to logo design and colour, it is definitely not the more, the merrier.

According to research, completed by SmartSign, that looked at over 2000 business logo designs from Inc. 5000’s list of America’s fastest-growing companies, only one out of ten companies has opted to use more than three colours in its logo designs. About half, decided on two colours, while about two out of ten either opted for a single colour or the recommended maximum of three colours. If you are not scared for some controversy, you can opt for a brighter colour palette as opposed to the more subdued blues and greys.

Step Eight – Select a font

The type of typeface that you use in your logo reveals a lot about your company. When it comes to fonts, you have two main options: sans serif (a font without sterns on each letter) or serif (a font with sterns). If you are looking to create something more modern, sans serif will be the better choice, while the latter will be more suitable for a classic look. Whatever you do, try to avoid generic typefaces such as Comic Sans and Times New Roman.

If the main element in your design is a symbol or shape (as opposed to text), you will have to think about how the name of your business will look if it should get used without the logo. That being said, you do not have to combine text with your graphics. According to the same study completed by SmartSign, about 4% of the fastest-growing companies use only an icon in their logo design.

Step Nine – Make sure that it is something scalable

In today’s day and age, your business logo design will get used on various platforms. It could be printed on a flyer, in digital format on your business website, or as an icon on one of your social media accounts. As a result, you will want to create a logo that looks great and easy to read irrespective of its size. That is why a minimalistic logo is such a great choice as these can be scaled down easily without losing any details.

A few final thoughts

Although this process might sound like too much to handle, taking it slow and steady will do the trick. Do not be in a hurry when it comes to designing your business logo, or you might just find yourself in a position down the line that you need to begin from scratch. Complete all nine steps, and you will be rewarded with a memorable logo design. For instance, testing your best designs might sound like a step that you can skip or leave for later. Though, during the logo design process, it is easy to become so absorbed that all the elements start to make total sense to you (which might not be the case for your target market). Therefore, even this step serves a key function.

At the end of the day, your business logo design is not the only thing that will determine whether your business has been successful. That being said, it does not do any harm to take the time to create a custom logo design that will make the heads turn for all the right reasons. And, if you are a startup that is still busy breaking into an overly saturated market, an eye-catching logo becomes even more important.

Then, once your logo has helped your business to grow and perhaps even to start selling a bigger range of products, do not be surprised if you feel that you need to redesign your business logo design. Whatever might be the reason for redesigning your logo, when the time comes, you can use these same nine steps again.

For more information on business logo design, contact our logo and website design Sydney team.

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