5 Things To Know Before Designing (or Redesigning) Your Logo
—Tips From a Graphic Designer—
You’re looking to define your brand with a new or updated logo, huh? Perhaps you’re ready to step out into the world with your shiny new business, or maybe you’re in desperate need of a refresh on your logo that’s old enough to be a college graduate. Or maybe you’ve made the grave mistake of designing your logo yourself and are now realizing you should have left the job to a professional. Whatever the case, here you are and you need some help.
Well, you are in luck. I’ve designed my fair share of logos and have learned much from the countless mistakes I’ve made over the years. One of the biggest lessons I’ve absorbed is this: we graphic designers need so much more information than you think! It is not enough to tell a graphic designer the name of your business and your favorite color.
You’ll need to KNOW exactly what you want to GET exactly what you want.
Take a look at this handy-dandy list of things to know before designing or redesigning your logo. Understanding what a designer needs from you (and why) can help make the design process a much more pleasant experience.
1. KNOW THYSELF.
- Describe your brand in 3-5 adjectives, and be VERY specific (for example, if you describe your business as “high-end,” what do you really mean? Detail and quality? Sleek and modern? Cushy and expensive? Beware of using subjective words!)
- What’s the personality and style of your business?
2. GATHER A VISUAL DICTIONARY.
- Pinterest is a useful tool for this! Create a Pinterest board to share with your designer full of images that speak to the personality of your business.
- Try not to focus on other business’ logos, but instead gather images that can be used as a visual dictionary for your brand. You may find that when viewing the images all together, a clearer picture of your business’ identity shines through.
3. UNCOMPLICATE THE COLORS.
- Don’t get your heart set on a color for your logo simply because it’s your favorite. The color(s) chosen for your logo should represent your brand to your clients and customers, and getting set on one color can blind you to a better choice. It’s much better to begin by considering color families before choosing specific colors. (i.e. “I’d like to try a vibrant primary color.” or “I think a pastel would be great.” etc.)
- Logos usually consist of 2-3 main colors, including a neutral color like black, grey, or white for a more professional look. Simplicity is the key. Logos that look amateur tend have too many distracting colors.
- It’s a good idea to also choose a complimentary accent color (not in the logo) to use on your website and in print materials and ads.
4. HAVE A LITTLE FONT KNOWLEDGE.
- It’s good to have a general sense of font “lingo.” You’ll be able to better communicate what you like and don’t like about a font if you know the vocab. You should know the difference between serif and sans serif at the very least. (It’s as simple as a quick Google search and you’re a capable adult.)
- Your designer will have a CUH-RAZY number of fonts at their fingertips and they can customize these fonts to more closely and uniquely reflect your brand. Trust that if you’ve described your brand well to your designer, he/she probably has at least a few fonts to get the ball rolling.
5. LAYOUT: IT’S A LOGO, NOT A COLLAGE.
- Let’s say it again together— Keep. It. Simple. Don’t try to cram your entire story into an icon. The simpler the logo, the more versatile it will be across a variety of platforms.
- Will you need a symbol? Should that symbol represent the name of your business (like Target and Shell) or should you go with simple iconography (like Adidas and Nike)? Using a symbol can be extremely useful in representing your brand without saying a word.
- Consider a letterform logo (like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s) to give your brand a unique vintage or handcrafted feel. Using letterform on it’s own (without a symbol or emblem) is a great way to achieve these styles.
- Do you need a tagline? Taglines can be useful to clarify your business’ mission, but keep in mind they can also clutter a logo. Consider using a tagline only for specific purposes, like the header of your website.
Designing a logo takes time, so prepare for at least 2-3 weeks of “sussing it out” before arriving at the final logo. Throughout the process, remember to keep an open mind to your designer’s choices. Chances are they probably spent an inordinate amount of time studying and practicing to perfect even the most insignificant detail of their craft. After all, you are paying for a designer. You should get your money’s worth. Use their years of experience and knowledge to your advantage and you won’t be disappointed with the result.