Business tips

Designing the perfect logo for your business

You’re launching a business and the last thing on your mind is the logo. But getting a great logo for your company is as easy as it is important. Here are five tips to get you started.

It’s easy to see a logo as something that belongs in the domain of the big companies. And it’s tempting to leave it off the list of main priorities when launching an e-commerce business, especially when finances are tight. But even for the smallest and most niche businesses, branding is fundamentally important.

“A consistent brand is important to start building a visual relationship with potential customers,” says Adam Lyttle, Founder and Lead Designer at Melbourne’s LogoNow. “Such signage on your vehicle needs to be clear and concise. After all, you only have a few minutes – even seconds – to make an impact.”

Lyttle believes the best logos are those that have hidden meanings. “Not only should a logo be unique, but it should also showcase the core values of the business. For example, the Amazon logo includes a ‘Smile’ and the FedEx logo includes an arrow in the white space between the E and X.”

With so many great logos out there to choose from, it’s difficult to pinpoint a stand-out, but for Lyttle, a great example of the variables he’s mentioned is the logo for the City of Melbourne. “The logo showcases our beautiful city to the world during international events. It’s vibrant, fun, colourful and artistic. A great reflection of the diversity and culture of Melbourne.”

The good news is getting a logo for your business doesn’t have to be a major investment of time or money. The key is to understand your brand and what makes a logo successful and then the work’s half done, whether you’re giving a logo design company a brief or creating one yourself. Here are five tips towards creating a great logo for your business.

Understand your brand

The most important element of logo design is that it reflects your brand and this should be your first step, whether giving a brief to a logo design company or creating your own. Jot down what you think about the brand or create a mood board of images and words that reflect it. Do you just sell one product? Is it a utilitarian brand or appealing to desire? Is it feminine or masculine, high-tech or organic? These questions will impact the font and colours you choose and whether to include a graphic. Try out a brand personality quiz if you need a hand.

Keep it simple

When you think about the world’s most famous logos the most important thing that they have in common is simplicity. Think about the apple minus its “byte”, or Nike’s “swoosh”. You want a logo to imprint on someone’s mind immediately – rather than require them to analyse its meaning – and you want it to be recognisable no matter how quickly it pops up or how small it is.

Consider colour

The first rule with colour is to aim for just one or two colours. American design company DesignBuddy did a data analysis on the world’s top brands and what their logos have in common and found that 95 per cent use one or two colours.

The next important step is understanding the science behind colours. In his great article Why Facebook is Blue: The Science of Colors in Marketing, Leo Widrich includes a Colour Emotion Guide graph complete with some of the most famous logos used in each colour. To summarise it:

Yellow = warmth, optimism, clarity
Orange = friendly, cheerful, confident
Red = excitement, youthful, bold
Purple = creative, imaginative, wise
Blue = trust, dependable, strength
Green = peaceful, health, growth
Grey = balance, neutral, calm

Widrich added that KISSmetrics.com has found that women respond to blue, green and purple while men respond to blue, green and black. Black is said to be associated with luxury and power.

Finally, once you’ve chosen your colour/s it’s important to make sure the logo looks good in black and white as well. Don’t forget black and white is a viable option in its own right, too – it’s seen as classically elegant (and it’s cheaper!).

Reveal your unique selling point (USP) with images, domain name, font or tagline

Many logos just use a stylised type – in fact, DesignBuddy’s analysis found that 41 per cent of the world’s top brands use stylised type as their logo. Stylised type can simply be eye-catching – think Coca-Cola – or can reveal the personality of the brand. For example, a company that sells children’s toys might have a childish font.

If your business name and domain name are the same, including a dot com in the logo is one way to send people straight to your business. Even the largest companies, such as Amazon, do this.

If your company just sells one product you might include a graphic of the item, such as the shoe on the Zappos.com logo. Or if your USP is something that can be summed up in a few words, you could include a tagline under the logo, such as “100% organic”.

Make sure it’s versatile

In this digital age, logos now appear on multiple devices at varying sizes and so ensuring legibility is crucial. Make sure the text on your logo isn’t so small that it is impossible to read on a mobile phone for example. This is especially pertinent if you include a tagline.

For resizing flexibility, it’s important that logos are designed in vector format, such as an .eps file or Adobe Illustrator file, rather than as a raster graphic, such as a gif or jpeg. This is because vector graphics are not made of pixels, and so the logo can be scaled to be very large without losing quality – the quality will look the same on a business card as it will on a billboard.

To have a play with designing your own logo, sites such as LogoYes and Logomaker offer free logo creation programs, but sometimes include fees for higher-quality versions for print.

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