Logo Design 101

October 26, 2021

Edited by Nicole Bishop
Originally posted on digitalhyve.com

If you are researching how to design your logo or redesign your current logo, we understand the process may seem intimidating. This symbol is going to represent your company for years to come. It’s going to bring an identity to your business that will live in many aspects including, offices, social media platforms, business cards, sponsorships, websites, and everywhere else your company is present. With the proper preparation, thoughtfulness, and patience, you will be well on your way to a brand you are proud of. 


Defining the kind of logo you want

There are many types of logo styles you can work with: wordmark, logomark, lettermark, and combined mark. Wordmarks and lettermarks are similar in that they both use text only in the logo, but lettermarks are usually shorter than wordmarks (think full word vs abbreviation). Logomarks are image-based logos or logos that only use graphical elements. Combined marks use the best of both worlds and usually have either a wordmark or lettermark used in conjunction with a logomark. Sometimes different variations of your logo will encompass multiple umbrellas.


It needs to work in black & white

Black and white is a basic idea in graphic design when it comes to any form of branding. You want your logo to work in all scenarios, including when needed in a dark/light contrast. When designing, always mock the logo in black and white (no greyscale) to avoid issues down the line. Note: this doesn’t mean it HAS to be a black and white logo, but should the need arise, you’ll need to be ready.


Make it simple & memorable

While it may seem counterintuitive to make a simple logo, simple can lead to better execution, which leads to standing out in your industry. Want to know why people so easily recognize the Apple logo? Or McDonald’s golden arches? Or the Target bullseye? While you don’t need to go as simple as some of these brands, the easier it is for your consumers to process you and your brand, the more that they’ll remember you.


Three necessary file types: SVG, PNG, EPS

Whenever you’ve finalized your logo, have those three file types saved for your logo. You can use a PNG for non-designed elements like email signatures, an SVG for any website or digital design usage, and EPS for any print design. SVG and EPS are incredibly important as they are vectors and can scale infinitely.


Choose a style that fits your business

While the modernist minimalist style is currently all the rage, it doesn’t fit all industries and businesses. When creating a logo, look at competitors in your industry. What stands out, what blends in, and what pushes boxes in all the wrong ways? Also, look internally at the purpose of your business, what you stand for, and what different elements of your logo will represent your brand? By figuring these items out, you can start getting a gist of what will work for you and your business. And don’t be afraid to have fun with it. As long as the logo style fits with all the rest of your branded elements, you’re golden.


Don’t be afraid of white space

Here’s a little secret: white space can help and even enhance your logo! Use the white space to create visual illusions. A great example is the FedEx logo. Take a look at the “Ex,” and you’ll see a secret arrow hidden inside.


Keep the Colors simple

Sometimes you can’t pick between colors, and that’s okay. It happens even to the best of designers. However, having more than two (or three if you really need it) colors makes it harder for your logo to translate into black and white and can make it look busy and distracting. Look at the most popular brands out there. There’s a reason they’re as recognizable as they are, and that has to do a lot with how they use color.

Keep in mind that neutrals like black and white are safe to use and shouldn’t count towards your color count (but don’t push it).


Think of where your logo is going to live

When making a logo, it’s important to remember where this logo is going to live. Social media, profile pictures, letterheads, and much more need to be differentiated from each other as they all don’t necessarily share the same optimal style of your logo. Having a responsive logo will allow it to automatically scale according to the virtual location. Vertical, horizontal, and icon are the standard ways to align your logo but may not necessarily be needed, depending on what your logo looks like.


Sketch, sketch, sketch!

Like most things design, it’s not going to happen on the first go, and it may not even happen on the second or fifteenth. A good practice to try when designing your logo is to do small thumbnail sketches and just grind out a dozen or two logo ideas. They don’t have to be full renders or highly detailed, but just enough of an idea to know what it is and have a solid impression of the logo. When you’re finally burnt out, go through your sketches and see which ones immediately stand out and which ones leave you feeling meh. You’ll have a great starting point at finding a final logo from the pool of goods you have.


It’s not a quick process

Creating a logo is not a one-and-done process. It is going to take time, and by hurrying through it, your logo will look rushed and sloppy. This is the LIFE of your brand, and it takes mere milliseconds for users and consumers to make an impression on your brand, your website, and especially your logo. People trust good design, and trust is everything.


By applying these tips to your logo design/ redesign, we feel confident you will love what you come up with. If you need a little more support, our design experts at Digital Hyve can help. From logo design to typography, brand voice and tone, photography direction, and beyond, we are here to help you discover and define your brand identity. If you are interested in learning more, we’re happy to chat!