Beginner's Guide to Creating The Perfect Logo
If you are about to launch a new business idea or you need a fresh design for your corporate identity, this article is for you! From the conceptual aspects of logo design...
Are you about to launch a new business idea and need a great logo to spearhead your efforts? Or are you in need of a fresh design to reinvigorate your brand?
Whatever your objective, by the end of this article, you will possess everything you need to know about creating the perfect logo for your business.
We will begin with the conceptual aspects of logo design, and then we will move onto the practical side of things. Before you even put pen to paper, and begin brainstorming your logo, take a minute to contemplate what a logo is and how it functions.
Logos are symbols, first and foremost; they are marks of identity designed to promote public recognition. They are also vehicles for communication, and they communicate a message about that which the logo itself represents - which is the business or company.
“A logo doesn’t sell, it identifies. A logo derives its meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it means is more important than what it looks like.” - Paul Rand.
But more importantly, the sight of the logo should trigger a series of thoughts in the observer's mind relating to the wider brand architecture or identity package - like when you see a Nike tick and think sportswear, even though the two things are essentially unrelated.
The wider the distribution of your overall brand narrative, the less your logo has to communicate by itself, and the more it simply refers to or reminds people of, the wider narrative context.
So one of the first things to consider when creating a logo is: what do you want it to say?
To figure this out, you need to study the personality of your business - and if you are just starting out, you need to consider what kind of a personality you want your business to project and then capture this in your logo.
As previously mentioned, a logo will usually communicate what you do or sell, though not always.
Larger and more recognizable company logos don’t need to explain what the business does as much as smaller, less recognizable businesses.
Mcdonald’s, for example, is a yellow M - this doesn’t exactly communicate fast food.
But nearly as many people recognize this symbol worldwide as they do the Christian cross; this is because - like the Christian cross - the symbol exists within the context of a broader narrative.
Note how the original Mcdonald’s logo clearly explained what Mcdonald’s sold at the time.
And look at the logo today:
The fact that Macdonald’s has such a strong and constantly reinforced narrative surrounding their brand, their logo instantly invokes this narrative, and the simple golden arches communicate a whole host of ideas.
So that is one important thing to remember about a logo; it doesn’t exist within a vacuum, and it is useless without an accompanying brand identity package.
Creating the logo concept
Begin by making some notes and writing down a few words that encapsulate the nature of your business.
- What are your values?
- What do you seek to change or improve?
- What do you offer?
Your objective is to communicate these ideas visually; you need to take these bulky ideas and reduce them down into a concentrated form.
For someone unfamiliar with graphic design, this could prove to be challenging, though certainly doable. If you are a total newbie and are responsible for creating a logo for whatever reason, design tools like Canva are invaluable.
But whatever your skill level, by the end of this article, you will know how to create the perfect logo - as promised.
So, be aware of the following points when conceptualizing your logo:
Logos are symbols - what do you want to symbolize?
Decide what you want to communicate to the public regarding what you offer, what your business personality or ‘vibe’ is.
Your logo can be an amalgamation of verbal and visual aspects, or it can be purely visual, without words.
The size and recognizability of your brand will determine the importance of communicating a message about your business through the logo itself, due to the reasons we previously mentioned.
If you have a well-established and recognizable brand identity, you can focus less on communicating a message and more on symbolizing your wider brand narrative.
A logo must be highly distinctive
Your color scheme, pictorial representation, and or verbal elements must be unique and distinguish your logo from existing logos.
You don’t want to showcase your logo and accidentally trigger thoughts about another company - your logo must be unique.
A logo must form a small part of your overall brand identity package
Without a superimposing narrative about your brand, your logo is virtually meaningless.
It must effortlessly conjure up a series of images and ideas in the observer's mind, serving as a reminder of these things.
It must speak a thousand words while being silent.
Keep it simple
Remember what we said about reducing the complex ideas down into a concentrated and potent form?
Take the key aspects that represent your business and translate them into a concise and straightforward visual symbol.
You can be very literal with your logo, for example;
This is the logo for Penguin Books.
A simple, unique, and pleasant logo which adequately serves its purpose.
Notice how the symbols for many logos have remained relatively unchanged over the years.
You want to achieve a certain level of timelessness in your logo design; do not use some symbol or idea that you have seen in popular culture, as culture is in constant flux.
Your wider brand narrative can adjust itself to changing cultural tides, but your symbol, the thing which refers to your wider brand narrative, is fixed.
Creating the logo
Hopefully, you now have a solid conceptual foundation upon which your logo can be constructed, and now comes the practical aspect of logo creation.
It is important to note that even though logos appear incredibly simple, it is inadvisable to attempt to create your own without some graphic design experience - it is far easier and more likely to result in success by hiring a team specializing in this area.
The first step is to decide on what software you are going to use.
As I briefly touched on earlier, Canva is my personal favorite for absolute beginners; you are pretty limited in what you can achieve there, but if you have absolutely no design experience and you really need to make a logo yourself, Canva is the way to go.
For an experienced designer, Adobe Illustrator is arguably the best software available.
Here’s an overview of the process on Canva:
Open Canva and search; ‘Logo.’
This will bring up a huge selection of logo templates or the option to start with a blank logo.
If you are a beginner, it is much easier to simply select a logo design that you like the look of, and make adjustments from there.
Or you can even keep the logo design that you select - but remember what we said about distinctiveness!
You can select elements within the design and change the size or color with ease.
With Canva Pro, you can unlock significantly more designs and features, and it is helpful for more than just logo making.
In terms of Adobe Illustrator, the process is much more complex, but the advanced designer should have no problem using it.
When you open Adobe Illustrator, you are going to be presented with a screen like this:
A completely blank canvas with all the tools required to create your logo, bespoke, from scratch.
This offers a lot more scope for possibility, as long as you have the necessary training to use the software.
You can combine simple shapes to make artistic patterns and symbols, use a wide variety of colors, add text, and then fine-tune the whole thing until it resembles something like this:
In a nutshell
As you can see, the logo is unique as it has been made from scratch without any templates, and this kind of logo would be entirely suitable for a business. The importance of hiring an expert for your logo creation can’t be understated - because it is a piece of primary marketing material, getting it right is crucial.
A well-designed logo means you will attract immediate attention, even if it is just to check out your cool logo! It also adds a great deal to your brand image, making you appear more professional, more successful, and more attractive.
We are happy to offer personalized support to those who are interested in creating a new logo or to answer any questions you may have about the process; just drop us an email, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.