Congrats on taking the plunge! Starting a new business is rarely easy and always takes a leap of courage, but there are a few key ways to set yourself up for success.
Because competition is steep, you need a way to differentiate yourself from the other companies fighting to stand out in your niche and to let your audience know why your business is the one to pick.
That’s why, regardless of whether you’re a first-timer or a serial entrepreneur, one of the first tasks to focus on should be creating your logo.
Your logo will essentially be the face of your business; it’s the first thing your potential customers will see when interacting with your brand, and it’ll act as a symbol that your audience can refer back to – ultimately leading them to remember and recognise your brand.
That said, how do you know what kind of logo would be the best fit for your business?
Here are seven things to keep in mind that will help you figure out the answer.
#1. Company Values
Before you begin the actual design process, you should think long and hard about the parts of your business you want emphasised. The intention behind your logo should be to communicate your values to your audience through a visual cue, but in order to get it right, you have to pin down what those values are.
Think beyond your product or service; why did you start your business in the first place? Is there a cause you’re committed to, like making retail greener or empowering women to succeed in tech? The conclusions you draw here are going to influence the designs you choose for your logo, so you’ll want this to be clear before moving forward.
With the rise of global technological innovation and recent growth of the gig economy, there are now numerous ways to go about designing your business logo, depending on your budgetary constraints.
Here are the main three options to consider:
Hire a designer. This is the best option for many people, because you can work closely with a designer – whether a freelance artist, a graphic designer, or an entire studio – and communicate exactly what you want down to the very detail. However, this is likely to be the most expensive option, which not everyone can afford. That said, many people opt for having a professional create the exact logo they want and are willing to lay out the money for the expertise.
Online logo maker. If your wallet can’t accommodate hiring a designer, you should consider using an online logo maker. There are numerous logo makers available on the market, and they are generally much more affordable (and quick) than hiring a designer. While you may miss the human interaction part of the process, a logo maker will still take your design preferences into account when designing your logo.
Design it yourself. If you have any sort of artistic inclination, you may want to design your own logo! Even more budget-friendly, the only cost to you will be time – but of course, you’ll miss out on the skills of a professional if you go this route.
Regardless which option suits your budget best, all of the considerations on this list will still apply. If you’re working with designers, for example, you’ll still need to tell them what your business values are, so they can create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
#3. Type of Logo – Words vs. Images
There are three main categories of logos: Images, words, and combination marks.
Wordmarks don’t use images; instead, they focus on communicating brand personality directly with letters, through fonts and colors.
Brand marks, on the other hand, are logos that only use graphic symbols or icons that represent real-world objects.
And combination marks, like the name sounds, use a combination of lettering and symbols to form a logo.
Each type of logo has its own strengths, so it’s important to decide which one is most in line with the goals of your business.
For example, using a strawberry icon that looks nice but has no obvious connection to your home-inspection business is probably not the way to go. And, if you’re considering a text-based logo, ask yourself if the name of your business alone is enough to convey what your business does.
Once you’ve decided on the shape and form of your logo, you’ll be able to move on to the design itself.
#4. Select Colours that Reflect Your Brand
Colours are permeated with meaning, whether we consciously realise it or not. In fact, there’s a whole area of study devoted to colour psychology, or the subliminal messages that different colours give off.
In this respect, the colours you use in your logo tell a story about your business and brand, so choose your colour palette with this in mind.
While it may feel intuitive to select colours that speak to your personal aesthetic preferences, you should first and foremost choose the colour(s) that best communicate your brand message. A children’s costume store, for example, should gravitate towards brighter colours like yellows and oranges, while obviously avoiding subdued greys and blacks.
Additionally, stay away from too many colours when putting together your palette. Try to stick to three-colour combinations or less; if you throw any more than that into the mix, your logo will turn from clear and enticing to confusing and unattractive.
#5. Use Fonts with Intention
Fonts are characterized by families: Serif, Sans Serif, Slab Serif, and Script. And, just like with colours, each font family has a personality. Serifs tend to be traditional and symbolise stability; scripts convey elegance and favor brands that want to come off as “elite.”
There are also a number of rules for pairing fonts; for one, you should never use more than two fonts in your logo (one for your main logo text, and one for your tagline). And, if you are going to pair fonts, they should both give off the same vibe while contrasting enough that readers will be able to distinguish them from one another.
Lastly, make sure that whichever font you choose is legible; there’s no point in having a logo with text if your audience can’t make out what it says.
#6. Less is More
Simple logos are easy to recognise and remember. And, simplicity is a key ingredient for logos, because most consumers only focus on logos for a short time before moving on to something else.
Think of some of the most successful logos in history, like Nike’s single swoosh or Apple’s fruit icon. They highlight the most important parts of their respective brands’ personalities, without forcing customers to “work” to understand what they’re looking at.
Overall, try to avoid clutter in your logo, and stay away from using too much detail. Realise that your logo will appear in many different contexts and in many different sizes; a design that is too complex likely won’t translate well when scaled down into a smaller size.
#7. Test it Out First
Once you have a logo design you like, it’s time to share it with people you trust and get their feedback.
Ideally, your logo will be appearing in all sorts of different places – both online and offline – so before you officially commit to a design, try putting it on different branding materials, like an unpublished social media page or a business document. Will it look as good on screen as it does on business cards? If the answer is “yes,” pass it off to your people and see if they agree with you.
Because you want your logo to be versatile, you can always tweak it if you feel like something isn’t quite right. Testing it out lets you see how the logo will work for you in real life, without your having to obligate yourself to it just yet.
Over to You
Designing a logo doesn’t have to be massive amounts of work, but it should be intentional from the get-go. Remember that you want a design as appealing as it is meaningful, but without overwhelming your audience.