If you consider the phrase “a picture paints a thousand words” then that starts to describe how important a logo is to a business and what kind of role a good one can play.
Every brand has a logo of some sort, and some of them are world famous. Think about the Nike ‘swoosh’ and the Apple….erm….’apple’ and you start to understand what a logo does; it says something without saying anything, and you want it to catch the imagination of your market and be something people want on their chest, in their homes or to eat or drink when they are out and about.
There are many different ways you can approach the need for a logo, and it is true that an average logo can become a memorable one purely because of the success of the business, rather than the logo itself. So fundamentally, you need a solid business plan, a solid brand and a successful business for a logo to also be successful, because a logo is not the ‘only’ visual identity your business has. But where do you start with designing a new logo? Here we have broken the process down to help you approach it strategically and methodically and hopefully with some eye-catching and memorable results.
What is your identity?
A good logo needs to have an impact and draw attention, but it also needs to provide unspoken information, as it is carrying your message without speaking.
So what is your message?
What does your business stand for?
What are its principles?
What is its story?
Your logo needs to reflect the personality of your business and what makes it unique, so first of all you need to establish what that is.
Ideas and concepts
Brainstorming ideas, ideally in a group, is a great start in creating a new logo, so get plenty of concepts and ideas on the table and don’t worry about how bad or corny they are, sometimes a good idea can come from a bad one. You need to think like your audience here and put yourself in the minds of your market demographic. What would you want to see as the logo of this business? There are no limits to the number or quality of ideas at this stage. Put together a collection of words, photos, colours, images and drawings and keep looking at it, research your competition and make a note of what they have done well or badly. How can you use that and make your logo unique and better?
Taking the question ‘what would your audience expect to see from your brand?’ a little further, you need to agree on a design style for your logo and make sure it reflects the personality, tone and demographic of your business. So a solicitors or funeral directors wouldn’t create a zany cartoon character and would be classic and authoritative in style, while a digital marketing or design agency might be minimalist, modern and cool. There are many different moods you can portray in a logo, such as:
And this can dictate whether the logo takes a literal image from the name or profession and works around that, or whether you use a retro/vintage image or whether you want to be subliminal or abstract with a logo. Ultimately, how do you want the business to be seen? And don’t forget that trendy logos are great, but will they quickly become outdated? Changing logos can be very damaging to a business, so think about longevity.
Designing the logo
If you can afford to, it is best to seek professional assistance here in order to get the right advice, skills and technical knowledge, because your logo needs to be transferrable to several different mediums and formats. The psychology behind colours can be quite complex, so choosing the right colour closely ties in with what message and mood you want to portray. You can also get advice on which fonts will work in the way you want them to.
Look at the options
You should agree with your designer a clear brief and that you want at least three or four options to consider. Now you can get feedback from colleagues, friends and family on what works and what doesn’t, making a shortlist of maybe two final possibilities to choose from.
Widen your feedback to your target demographic and ask direct questions about what your logo options communicate. Are they too fussy? Are they too dull or vague? Do they carry the right message? Are they too cheap, naff or cheesy? Now is the time to find out if the logo has a chance of doing the job you want it to.
Integrate and implement
The final logo design you choose will need to be used on business cards, literature, a website, social media, packaging, premises and possibly on the product or service itself. So do you integrate this slowly or with a big launch? Will it be controversial? A shock? Could it take some time to be accepted? Create a strategic marketing campaign to manage this change. This is hard enough for a new business, but for an existing and successful one it can be even harder.
What makes a good logo?
You might think we should have asked this at the start, but once a logo is launched you need to review its success and whether it is working how you want it to. So a good logo needs to be:
Adaptable to different mediums
Distinctive and memorable
Reflect your identity and carry your message
Ultimately, can a user tell what your brand is immediately upon seeing your logo? If the answer is yes, then your new logo is a good one.
For more information on the logo designing process, read our Logo Design FAQs.