Logo design can be an intimidating process. As we know, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s important that each piece of your logo reflects the mission and values of your business.
From the initial research to selecting different colors and shapes to include, there are a number of things to consider. We asked 15 marketing and branding experts for their number one logo design tip to help you create an amazing identity for your business.
“The designer behind the famed Twitter bird icon once told me his core rule for logo design: ‘Only do one trick.’ I love this focused approach, as it forces you to prioritize simplicity and not over-design.
Some of the smartest businesses these days are those with the simplest solution to a solving a problem, and this philosophy carries straight through to the branding.”
–Leif Abraham, CEO & Co-Founder, AND CO
“Thankfully most people understand the importance of having a unique logo, so if I had to choose just one tip for logo design, I would advise choosing a design that isn’t too intricate. A few times it’s happened that clients have logos with a lot of detail, so when I’ve had to shrink it down for small artwork, such as display banner ads, or for fabric such as polo shirts, the logo loses its impact and ends up looks blurry.
Take the lead from the big retailers; they tend to go for block letter logos with simple colors, which look great at any size and are memorable.”
– Liz Jammal, Owner, Vivid Marketing
“Translating a positioning into a design is no easy task. A lot of factors weigh in, and both professional and personal agenda influence the final result. My ultimate logo design litmus test is always:
1) Does the design deliver on the brand promise?
2) Does it translate the promise in a relevant way for the customer?
3) Does the logo make the promise credible?
If any of those questions does not get a full ‘yes’ answer, then the logo should be improved do address the specific combination of promise, credibility, and relevance.”
– Filiberto Amati, Partner, Amati & Associates
“Authenticity: Your logo should be capable of reflecting the values of your company, product, or service. Notice that we’re talking about “reflection,” which means YOU are the brand, YOU are the source of the authenticity, and the logo’s job is to be a vessel for delivering those qualities to your public.
The logo is not what makes the company, in many ways, the company makes the logo. The Nike logo is nothing more than a “check mark” unless it’s connected to the quality, stories, and marketing of Nike the company.”
– David Langton, President, Langton Creative Group, Ltd.
“A logo should be designed with longevity and future use in mind. It should be created as a vector file for scalability, be legible even at a very small size, and use Pantone colors for consistency.”
– Jennifer Andos, Creative Director, Paperfish Creative
“Don’t over-design your logo. So many young designers want to add a finishing touch to their logo design: gradient, glow, bevel, shadow, etc. Resist the temptation to overwork your logo.
Understand that the simplest logos are often the best logos. Subtract unnecessary elements until the logo represents the brand in it’s most basic form. And appreciate the fact that the simpler the logo design is, the more memorable it will be.”
– Paul Bies, President, Mystique Brand Communications
“The biggest question I ask myself when critiquing logos is ‘What’s the competition doing?’ A lot of detail, research, and effort goes into logo design, and every single one of your competitors (at least those with established logos) have already gone through the process. Save yourself the time and resources, and learn from them!
Are there any common fonts or colors? Is everyone trying to give off a similar impression, and if so, what is it? Businesses will pour tens of thousands of dollars into design, and still end up with a logo that doesn’t represent themselves or their industry well.
Use your competitors’ decisions as a set of checks and balances to help you make better decisions (and likely save bundles in the process).”
– Kenneth Burke, Marketing Director, Text Request
“Research, research, research. A logo portrays a feeling, an impression, an untouchable sense of the personality of the brand. So, when going through the logo design process, the most important aspect is the research – discovering what are the character traits of the brand, what are the values, the positioning, and the tone that the brand wishes to convey.
Knowing that will help in guiding what type of logo to design, the style, the colors, and the variations/logo extensions. Once you have a feeling for that…iterate! Keep creating, changing, tweaking until you have it right…you’ll know it when you see it.”
– Rob Cohen, Chief Strategy Officer, Penguin Strategies
“Branding concurrently connects with your audience and separates your business from the competition. A logo should be able to stand the test of time and still be relevant and attractive 5, 10, and 25 years from now.
The best branding connects to the most specific target market possible, not “everyone.” A highly-focused visual directed at that target will connect the brand to the audience. The message, channel, tone, etc. should all be based on traits of the best target demographic for that business.
Focus on who your attracting, not your own personal style or taste. Take yourself out of the design.”
– Kyle Golding, CEO & Chief Strategic Idealist, The Golding Group
“The most important thing to remember when designing a logo is to remember that digital is not print – just because a logo looks great on your website does not mean that it will look good on your business cards, letterhead, wearables and promotional products.
The best thing you can do when designing your new logo is to look at all of the possible applications and then ask an expert. Don’t just rely on the designer. Talk to a printer and talk to an experienced promotional products expert to be sure that your new logo will work in all situations.”
– Anne Kleinman, President, Ad Infinitum
“My most important tip for logo design is to make it as clean and simple as possible. Imaginative, yes of course! But think about the applications of logos today: logos today need to be both social media and web friendly – so gone are the days of intricate logos with lots of text. You need a logo that can boil down to a simple symbol. Think about favicons, those tiny images at the top of your website’s browser tab – look how small those are. The best logos are legible even at that very small level.
New entrepreneurs often have a hard time with this because they try to put so much into their logo. Of course, you want to put as much research, thought and analysis behind your brand as you can afford prior to “pushing go.” But at the end of the day, as sophisticated as we get with the rationale and data behind going in any brand direction, there is plenty of elegance in simplicity.
Da Vinci himself once said, “simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” Quite true. The very best logos are clean, simple, yet powerful and recognizable even on a tiny scale.”
– Andrea D. Smith, Senior Brand Director, The ADS Agency
“Always use a vector format, so you may resize it infinitely. Start your design in black and white and make sure to check the scale throughout your process as it might be on a business card or it might end up on a billboard. The key is simplicity when considering a logo. If it’s too complicated it’s less effective and whether it’s on the web or print, you need to ensure its clear and concise.”
– Caroline Wisner, Lead Graphic Designer, Strazanac Solutions
“If I had to provide a single most important tip in designing a logo, it would be to avoid common typefaces. While this may be obvious to most designers, it’s clearly not apparent to many companies and organizations. Unique typography is an extremely simple way to look professional.”
– Erik Pitzer, Graphic Designer, Illumine8 Marketing & PR
“Make it memorable. In our agency, this is the most important thing. It has to tell a story, it has to create an impact, it has to be memorable. Your brand is what your company represents, and your brand represents you. You do not want to people to see the logo and say: they sell shoes, or tablets or whatever. You want them to say: Oh, they are the best at creating innovative and beautiful shoes, tablets, etc.
As your company starts to grow, and people get to know more about you, your brand will become one of the most valuable elements of your business. You have to create a story from the beginning that you can scale, and that your first few clients will still remember for what it represents and the story it conveys.
There are of course many, many more components of a logo, but making it memorable is by far the most important thing. It is what identifies you as a business and keeps you relevant!”
– Andres Tovar, Chief Commercial Officer, Noetic Marketer
“Never underestimate the power of a second opinion. When you’re in the process of creating a logo, it’s possible that you may miss some important details that probably someone else wouldn’t. Be sure to always have a second pair of eyes to identify things that you might have missed during the design process.
Once you have your logo design concept defined, always make the time to check whether there are any hidden words and meanings, or even cultural misunderstandings. You don’t want to end up in someone’s “logo fails” list.
Many design studios have a practice of pinning the unfinished work up on the walls, so the others can see it and share their opinion. But if you are a freelancer and work alone, then try to find people (preferably from your industry) and ask them for a feedback. Of course, make sure to always return the favor.”
– Ivan Spasojevic, Marketer, Ucraft
p.s. Want more tips? Check out our logo design resources!