Are you a creative entrepreneur just starting out with your business? Maybe you already own a small business and are looking to rebrand. Regardless of your need for a new logo, we can all agree that they’re pretty important.
While you can certainly understand a brand’s message and core values through words, that understanding won’t go very far in making your audience fall in love with your brand. It was Aristotle who said, “the soul cannot think without an image.” In order to move your audience to love, recognize, and support your brand, you need to stir their soul.
That’s where a good logo comes in.
Designing the ultimate logo requires some logo design guidelines, however. Keep reading for your ultimate logo design guide. It’ll help you create a logo that’s as recognizable as Nike in no time!
What Makes the Ultimate Logo?
There are a few key characteristics that turn a pile of shapes and colors into the ultimate logo.
The first is uniqueness. Your logo needs to set your business or brand apart, not blend in with others in your industry. While it’s okay to look at your competitors’ logos to get an idea of what’s appealing to your shared target audience, it’s never a good idea to let it inform your logo too much. Let them inspire you, not guide you.
The second ultimate logo characteristic is recognizability. When your audience sees your logo for the second time, the ultimate logo will jog their memory and make them think of your business. If it’s not designed well, it may as well not represent anything.
The third is timelessness. Your logo should be able to transcend the decades that you’ll be in business, and only undergo minimal changes throughout that whole span of time. Take a peek at the Coca-Cola logo’s history— it still looks pretty similar to its original design, which was penned in 1887!
The fourth characteristic of the ultimate logo is that it works for you. A well-designed logo will improve your sales, up your recognition, and create emotions that you want to be attached to your brand. Logos aren’t just pretty pictures– they have a job to do, and the ultimate logo does it well.
Find out more about designing the ultimate logo before you start your logo design journey!
The Three Types of Logos
There are three different types of logos. Each could work for your business or brand, but doing some research ahead of time will help you be sure you’re choosing the right category for your logo.
Literal logos include imagery that’s literal to what your business sells, or what your brand does. Examples include:
- hamburger imagery for a bar and grill
- flatware imagery for an upscale restaurant
- a wrench for a mechanic’s shop
- the to-go coffee cup of Dunkin’ Donuts’ logo
- an open book for a bookstore
- brain imagery for a psychiatrist’s office
There’s no simpler way to get your message across.
Literal logos offer a lot of room for creativity, too. It’s fun to put your own spin on literal imagery to infuse that imagery with some of what your brand’s all about!
Be careful, though– literal logos can become too obvious in a hurry. For instance, a photographer’s logo which incorporates a camera seems to make sense, but it might actually be working against that creative entrepreneur. Their audience wants to know what makes their photography different, and a literal logo won’t evoke much emotion here or tell that story.
Abstract logos are aesthetically pleasing designs whose primary job it is to evoke emotion. On their own, there’s no telling what sort of company they represent. The goal for an ultimate abstract logo, though, is for it to become so iconic that you only need to see it once to know the brand it’s attached to forever.
Take BP’s logo, for instance. Their logo is a sunburst with varying shades of green. If you had never been introduced to the company or its logo before, you would have no idea what that company sells or does.
After BP’s infamous 2010 oil spill, though, their brand became inextricably attached to their logo– so much so that critics of the company had a field day redesigning their logo to reflect the spill.
This is one example of how a logo can come to represent your business, regardless of whether or not it’s literal.
The third type of logo is called a logotype. Essentially, it’s your business spelled out in a certain typography that grows to represent your business’ values.
Some great examples of logotypes are:
- Shutterfly’s minimal typography and memorable orange
- Coca-Cola’s classic logotype
- Goodyear’s italicized yellow and blue logotype
- Lipton tea’s red arciform
Ideally, your font is chosen to reflect the emotion behind your brand. If your business does investing, you’ll want to stick with a professional, no-nonsense typography. Creative businesses, like illustrators and photographers, will want to choose a font that embodies the feeling behind their work.
Stay in Line with Your Brand
Staying in line with your brand is key when it comes to logo design.
First, you need to define your audience. If your audience’s age demographic is children, you’re not going to want to use lots of beige or brown in your color scheme, will you?
Choose a font, color scheme, and design aesthetic that speaks to your target client. Don’t just choose these things because you like them– remember, your brand should be working for you, not the other way around.
One Logo, Many Applications
You’ll need to make different versions of your logo to use in different areas of your business. You’ll want to have your full design on your stationery, but perhaps a condensed version on business cards to save space. On your website, you might want a combination of the two.
Check out how Disney and Chanel create different versions of their logos to get an idea of how to scale your logo up or down!
Your Ultimate Logo
Now that you’ve read up on the most important things for designing the ultimate logo, hopefully your creative juices are flowing as you start to think about your own!
Want to pick up a few more tips and tricks before you sit down in front of Photoshop? Check out our other logo design articles for more inspiration!