Designing logos is a part of a web designer’s most common projects. We have put down some logo design tips in this article, coming straight from some of the most successful designers ever. As for any artistic project, there is no one size fits all kind of advice, and you are open to your own interpretations. At the very least, this article should provide you with enough to get started and to get thinking about your next few logo designs.
When you have more than a few projects on hand, you can easily be tempted to take short cuts to finishing your work. But we strongly recommend you take the conventional routes to all design projects, to save you possible headaches when you are nearly done. For example, using clip art graphics can seem like a short cut, but what if you realize later that the image isn’t licensed for a job like this? There you have an example of a shortcut gone all wrong!
1. Keep it Simple
An extremely detailed logo is not only more difficult to create, it is also difficult to remember! Why waste time making a detailed design when all you needed was something simple? When you try and work out a simplistic design, you will realize it is actually harder to come up with simple designs that do the job. Simple designs are the mark of a good designer and they display the fact that the designer’s mind is able to simplify a complex idea by getting right down to the core of the business ideas.
2. Size DOES Matter
Remember that a logo may need to be reproduced at many different sizes – on company letterheads, on web sites, and even on advertising hoardings! If your logo design is too complex, it can get really difficult to comprehend at the smaller sizes. Is your logo small and simple enough to be reproduced on a company ballpoint pen? Try and visualize the logo on various scales when you are starting off on the project. Any experienced clients would from their side, think of the same when you present them with design options, so why not do the weeding on your own?
3. A Little About Aspect Ratio
This is nothing but the relation between the width and height dimensions of the logo design. Logos that are short and wide, or narrow and too tall, are visually confusing and do not seem to balance out. You do not have to think symmetry all the time, but a fair balance between the height and width is important to make a pleasing logo design. Why not start with a geometric idea of the logo aspect ratio? Squares are pretty effective, as are circular logos. Play around with basic shapes before you start filling in the details of your logo.
4. Disconnecting Features
if the client has requested that the logo have a graphic element as well as text, it is not always a good idea to make inter-twining designs unless you can pull it off really well. It is far better to work on the design aspect completely independently of the text bit, and this gives the features enough distinction to stand out. However, at the end of the day they also need to work hand in hand to complete the design. So this is one of the more complex design requirements you may encounter in your logo making experience.
5. Keep the Target Audience in Mind
Anyone who wants a new logo wants one because they no longer feel strongly about the existing one. Maybe the company has changed partners; maybe it has changed some of its core values. At the end of the day the logo needs to connect with the target audience though, and not the top brass of the company alone. Try and put this across to the client as gently as possible. As a designer you are the most qualified to make this decision, and to give the company a logo that will prove to be popular with the company’s end clientele.
6. Keep the Essence of the Company in Mind
Any company has core values that they try and live up to when making critical decisions throughout the company history. When designing a logo, it is good for the designer to have a clear idea of these core values of the company. Why not try and incorporate some aspect of these core values into the design elements of the logo? Needless to say, a geometric logo, which would work well for something like a school that teaches algebra, would NOT work as well for the ice cream shop at the street corner!
7. A Logo Needs to Have Immediate Impact
This is the tell tale sign of a good logo. It needs to have an immediate and lasting effect on the viewer. You have the luxury of just a few seconds to leave an impact on your audience! Again, if your logo design is so complex that people need to decipher it to understand what it means, it probably wont be too effective would it? Especially in today’s fast paced world, all you have is a few seconds of the viewers’ undivided attention before they focus on something else altogether.
8. Do NOT Tag Line your Logo
There is nothing wrong with tag lines, but not as a part of the logo design itself. When you are making a logo, one of your goals is to simplify the meaning of the company’s core values and put it down in as simple a way as possible. Tag lines would no doubt become illegible when you size down the logo for something like a ballpoint pen! So – a logo is supposed to be a graphic element, keep it graphic! Tag lines or punch lines can always be added to larger print areas such as faxes or letterheads.
9. Do NOT Get Carried by Color
While it is good to think carefully about the color of your logo, remember that it may sometimes be printed out on black and white printers in offices far and wide! So – keep the shape and form of your logo design as a high priority. Color needs to take a lower seat in this case. Further, colors can always be modified even at the last minute of the design process. Shape and form need to be pin pointed first! Why not start off the design process with simple tools like a pencil and paper? Forget about color till later stages.
10. Use Color With Care
Are you going to use two colors on your logo or four? It is going to have a huge impact on the final display! Usually a company would already have a corporate identity and a corporate color (blue for Aol?). This makes things simpler when selecting color tones for the logo. When you do not have a color scheme to work with you may need to make multiple versions of the logo, for final approval from the client. Usually you wouldn’t want to use such strong colors that the logo becomes a distraction when printed on a page or an advertisement.
11. Think Print Colors
Certain shades of web colors are beyond the grasp of CMYK print colors. From experience we have learnt that the best way to check out web safe colors appearing on print media, is to print the logo out for yourself. Why wait until the client discovers an error and gets back to you at a later date? You should print out the logo on a basic color printer to see how it turns out. Remember, you will get the highest color quality on a photo quality paper and printer – and that is not something that a conventional office would need to have!
12. Keep it Light
It is great if your logo can actually mean something, it is not going to be easy to put in very many ideas into a simple logo design. This is something you may want to discuss in your initial meetings with the client. Let them know that where logo design is concerned, simplistic is GOOD! If you look at the top design logos on the internet (a Google search should give it to you quickly), you will see that ALL popular logos have been of extremely simple designs, with simple ideas behind them. The more you try and put into it, the more are you going to clutter the logo with distractive elements.
This is the final stage of a successful logo. The more the target audience gets to see the logo, the more does it register on their minds. Think of the Nike logo and why it is so very successful and iconic. Is it a great design? Maybe not! But it sure has been drilled into the minds of the audience through gazillion TV commercials and print ads and banners! Although this aspect is out of the designer’s control, do keep it in mind if you are designing a logo for your own company!