How to Create a Showstopping Logo

I'm just finished rehauling my brand from the inside out. I thought it would be good idea to share some of the processes I used with you Good People.

5 Easy, Peasy Steps to Creating a Remarkable Logo

Logos are a key component of your brand. When people see your logo, they see your brand's personality.

It's the official visual identity stamp for your business.

For many folks, they make the decision whether to trust your company or not from the first time they glance at your logo. Accordingly, its very important that your logomark invokes professionalism and trust. It should also reflect your company's philosophy (AKA awesomeness).

That's a lot to include, huh? Now I suggest that if it's in the budget you hire a professional.

However, I know that many of you DIY small business owners may not have the budget to hire someone. Thus, this blog post is for you. Below, I'm revealing my top five tips that I use to design fabulous logos for my clients. 

1) Brainstorm a list of buzzwords.

Who would've thought that the first step to designing your logo would be to write out a list?

But, take my word for it. This is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

Start by writing your business name. Underneath it, list at least 10 words that come to mind when you think of the kind of logo you're envisioning will represent your brand. Choose words that reflect your brand's culture and style. To make this process easier download my free Brand Identity Questionnaire. It will help you with creating a logo of your own, but also to develop your brand's style.

 
 

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Now back to the list.

My buzzwords for TFDS™ are: standout, refreshing, productive, creative, feminine, fancy, professional, streamlined, trustworthy, and pretty.

And yes, I said "pretty"!

The best way to create a unique logo is to be honest with yourself about your brand. Don't ascribe to what's considered the norm (preferred standards) for your industry. You don't want a logo that fits in with the others. You want an exceptional logo that attracts your ideal clients. Thus, choose words that truly embody your brand and what you want people to think when they see your brand's mark.

2) Decide which type of logo you want to create.

There are several types of logomarks.

We'll discuss the three most often used types of logos:

  • wordmark (LOGOTYPE)

  • iconic or pictorial MARK (icon or symbol) 

  • combination mark (combination of the wordmark and an icon).

I guarantee you've seen all three of these logo types used somewhere in commerce. 

Examples: 

 
 Wordmark

Wordmark

 
 Iconic Mark

Iconic Mark

 
 Combination Mark

Combination Mark

 

It's up to you which mark you feel truly captures your company's spirit. I prefer wordmarks. They are simple and easy to spruce up a bit. But whatever you pick try to select something that will stand the test of time so that you don't have to keep changing it.  Changing your logo causes clients and customers to question your brand trustworthiness. They question whether your business is going to stick around and the degree of professionalism. 

3. Sketch out your logo design concept on paper.

Grab a pencil and paper. Sketch out a quick outline of your intended logo.

It doesn't matter if you can't draw.

Be creative and keep it simple. Put the pencil to the paper and use basic shapes (circles, squares, triangles, etc.) to complete a rough draft of your mark. Do not allow this step to overwhelm you. It doesn't have to be perfect. This sketch will serve as a guide for your logo concept. If you're having trouble inserting an icon, don't make it complicated. Some of the most beautiful logos are simply black and white wordmarks. Don't worry about fonts (typography) quite yet. Those can be applied later.

While sketching think about your buzzwords and be sure to include them in the concept, literally and/or figuratively. Think about plays on words, synonyms, and icon images that can relay your buzzwords without actually displaying them.  Once you've completed this very important step you're halfway to creating your custom-made logo. 

4. Choose a creative software program or platform to digitally design your logo.

There are several programs. My favs are Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I'm a Adobe affiliate so I use and recommend their products, but they truly are the best products on the market when it comes to design.  For a more budget-friendly option you can try PicMonkey or Canva. They are both easy to learn and though you won't be able to perform all the tricks you would be able to do with Adobe products they still get the job done. 
 

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5. Apply an easy to read font and color palette.

This last step is where all the magic happens.  

Now that you've chosen a software program, its time that you apply an appropriate font and color palette.

If you're using a font, which many of you will instead of just an icon, use an easy to read font. I know a lot of us may be drawn to cutesy, script fonts, but they aren't always the easiest to read.  Also think about your font size.  You don't want people squinting to see your logo, but you also don't want it to be so big that its stands out for all the wrong reasons.  Try designing your logo in a small, medium, and large format so you can see the difference that size makes. Spacing is also important when applying a font. We call is kerning in the design world. You want to ensure that your font spacing is proportionate and visually pleasing when viewing the logo. 

For my clients, I have a trick for applying a good color palette. I grab a pic from from that brand's inspiration board and customize a color palette from selected hues within the photo. This makes selecting the colors easy and in style with that brand's overall design. You can grab a pic from Pinterest or Google. Be sure to pick colors that make sense and are in line with your brand's voice.  Think about how your logo will look on dark and light backgrounds.  Also keep in mind that adding more colors will increase costs when applying your logo on anything that requires printing. I aim to keep a logo design to 3 or less colors.

After, applying your font and color palette, it's official! You have a new logo.

Now get a good amount of feedback from colleagues, friends, and family. Just in case you need to tweak certain aspects before you reveal it to the rest of the world. Remember, everyone might now love it, but if they have constructive criticism be sure to address it within your design. Designing a great logo doesn't take a rocket scientist, but it does take strategy.  Again, I recommend that you leave this job to the pros, but if you really like a challenge give it your best shot. Let me know how it goes!

Share your comments on this topic below. If you have more awesome tips please share them too!