So… is logo design a difficult thing? Really?? It’s just a circle with company’s name written under it!
If you have been in the logo designing industry long enough, you must have heard remarks like the one above. Common man doesn’t understand the huge science behind logo designing.
A logo is not just a symbol, it is an aspect of the economic entity of a brand, it is the identity of a company. A logo’s shape, color and font present the psyche of the mother firm. Only the almighty and we designers know what we go through while creating a logo that is unique, inspiring, easily understandable and memorable. We know and the God knows!
Even though logo design has become a science, there are some fundamental rules, some simple guidelines that should you follow, you should not face any difficulties creating reasonable logos.
Today I’m sharing those techniques and guidelines for creating effective logos. If you are beginner or an intermediate level designer, this article is a must read for you.
Basics of Logo Design
To make great logos, you do not need great designing skills. What you need is commonsense!
I say commonsense because the first and most important thing you need to figure out for a logo is the purpose of that logo. You need to figure out what is the message this logo should contain? Once you have that figured out, 50% of the work is done.
Most of the newbie designers fail in figuring out the purpose of the logo hence their designs continuously get rejected. This is the step you need to work on the most.
Selecting Fonts, Colors and Shapes
An image from Color Psychology Info-graphic
The selection of these elements is solely dependent on the message you want to convey with your logo. Let’s take help from Paul Rand. He is one of the greatest logo designers of all time. He says:
A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it means is more important than what it looks like. The subject matter of a logo can be almost anything.
A logo is a flag, a signature, an escutcheon, a street sign. A logo does not sell it only identifies. A logo is rarely a description of a business. A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.
So we learn that our usage of colors, fonts and shapes depends on the product or company it is signifying. How edgy can your logo be? How colorful should it be? These and all such questions have the answer lying in the realization of concept of the company.
For boosting your skill to an envious level, you can study Mr. Rand’s book Design, Form and Chaos.
The Message in the Logo
We have talked about the message in the logo. Let’s take some real examples of logos that have conveyed the message successfully over the years.
Apple Inc. Logo
In the famous apple logo, there’s one bite taken off from the fruit. Can you guess who took that bite? Yes, you are right. This refers to the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the “Tree of knowledge”. So the message is that Apple Inc. products are actually fruits from the tree of knowledge. Now that’s quite a message!
Such a simple logo it is, but the arrow points from a-to-z. This represents the wide range of products available at Amazon.com. Apart from that, the arrow also adds a smile-like effect
FedEx’s logo seems very straightforward but if you look closely, you’ll find that there’s an arrow hidden in the lower part where E meets X. The arrow is pointing towards right that gives the illusion of movement and speed.
For more interesting facts about famous logos, please see brand logos.
Logo Design Process
The graph you are seeing above is designed by Jacob Cass, even though he is a master designer you don’t have to follow his pattern blindly. Every designer discovers his logo design process with time.
You might want to create a make a concept first and do the research afterwards just to fine-tune your concept. You might create a whole other pattern of logo design process. Whatever suits you.
The basic thing is that your logo design process should contain these steps:
- Brief from Client
- Sketch of Logo
- First Finalized Draft in Computer
An Effective Logo Design
Paul Rand’s quote wallpaper by Gustavo Cramez
Just like the logo design process, there are no fixed parameters on which a logo can be judged, however every designer has his scale on which he/she weighs every logo in the market.
The best set parameters I’ve found is the parameter set by famous graphic designer, David Airey.
According to David a good logo must be:
- Describable: you should be able to describe it easily. For instance, the apple logo can described using the words “an apple with a bite taken off from the right side.”
- Memorable: probably the most important factor in a logo.
- Scalable: if you have one-inch logo, you should be able make into a 60 feet wide billboard without any problem.
- Effective without color: it should be able to Xeroxed.
Image credit to David Airey
I would add another aspect to the logo design. That is versatility. In today’s world, we often need to spice up our logos according to the occasion. Google Doodle is a good example of a versatile logo. Here’s Apple logo timeline and you can see how versatile this logo is.
Sum it Up
It’s getting late so let’s conclude the article.
The juice of today’s article is that the most important step in designing a logo is that you have to immerse yourself in the brand. You need to know the target audience, you need to research the competitors and of course, you need to understand the client’s needs.
Once you have done these things, you can move on to the design part. At this point, you need to make an idea, make a message that your logo will convey. When you create the message, you’ll have the concept. Now comes the part of designing.
Draw the first draft on paper, then grab the keyboard and mouse. You know rest of the drill.
In the end, I want to give you a parameter of my own for judging whether a logo is good enough or not. That parameter is if you see a parody of that logo, would you recognize it? Here’s an example:
Youtube parody designed by Viktor Hertz
You did understand the logo and the satire, didn’t you? This means youtube has an good logo.
And now I leave you with some great logo designs for your inspiration.
Some Brilliant Logo Designs
For more creative logos, please visit company logos.