How To Make a Logo

How To Make a Logo
An Introduction

The current era of logo design began in the 1870s with the first abstract logo, the Bass red triangle.

Your logo is the visual representation of your brand—and everything it stands for. At a glance, it should reflect your brand’s personality and promise. Ideally, it will be memorable and stand out from the crowd. Consider iconic logos such as the Nike swoosh, Apple Computer’s simple apple or Target’s red bullseye. What comes to mind when you think of each one?

If you are in the process of starting a small business, you may not have the resources to hire a designer to develop your logo. This guide was developed to help small business owners with no design experience understand how to create a logo. You’ll learn about the processes necessary to transfer your ideas onto paper, find out how to spot flaws in your concept and enable your primary idea to grow until it reaches a satisfying level of quality.

Although this may be new ground, you’ll probably learn a lot and enjoy the experience. So, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a logo?

A logo works much like your name. When you were born, your parents gave you a name that, over time, you infused with personality. Now, when people hear your name, they immediately think of you. And when people talk about you, your name evokes certain emotions and characteristics.

Whenever the name comes up, people immediately think “that funny party guy who has a deep voice” or “that blonde girl who has a quirky laugh and always dresses well.”

In the same vein, a logo is a symbolic representation of your brand identity. It carries vital information about who you are and what you do and causes people to feel a certain emotion. For example, BMW is associated with precision, quality vehicles and prestige, as many company executives drive their sedans. Nike is associated with high-level sports performance and durable shoes.

Why are logos important?

Logos give businesses an identity, but you need to understand why that is so important. The branding process has many different stages and elements. The design and proper usage of your logo are a big part of it.

Your job is to make sure people connect the dots and recognize your brand the second they see the logo. If that works, your marketing efforts will be much more effective. The fact is, most people build an emotional connection to the brands they’ve had positive experiences with, based on their history and personality.

When targeted consumers see your logo, they need to instantly recognize it and connect it with your brand values. Why is this important? Because approximately 65 percent of consumers said shared values attract them to a brand and to the specific products or services you offer. They also revealed that shared values help make your brand more memorable. The very next time they think about something related to your niche, your brand name and logo should be the first images that pop into their minds.

Your audience should be able to differentiate your logo from a series of different brand logos on a shelf and choose your product based on the fact that they associate it with quality, cost-effectiveness or any other characteristic that you want to be known for.

Principles of an effective logo

For you to successfully create a logo, there are some principles you need to be aware of. As a beginner in the world of logo design, you’ll need to train your mind so that it can adopt a creative thinking process that will enable you to come up with unique designs. You should be able to do this if you understand the following principles:

Simplicity is the key

Designers constantly overdo it when it comes to logos. But the most popular logos are striking in their simplicity. Nike and Apple are great examples: everyone on the planet recognizes these logos and their mottos. Obviously, there’s a thin line between overdoing and underdoing it, and this might be your biggest challenge when designing a logo.

It needs to be unique

In a sea of companies, the last thing you need is a generic logo design that looks like everyone else’s. Sure, there are some popular design features for any niche, but you need something with a unique style—features that people relate to your brand specifically.

It needs to be recognizable

You need to get inside the mind of your target audience, find out what they like and desire, and develop your design accordingly. The logo should stand out and be easy to recognize, even from a distance. Obviously, a lot of research needs to be done here but it will be worth your while.

The evolution of the Apple logotype supports well the principle stated in this part.

Flexibility is very important

The logo should be recognizable regardless of size or the medium it is represented in. It needs to work both in color and black and white, on billboards and business cards, in a corner of a web page viewed from a smartphone, and on keychains and mugs. Logos that are overly complex don’t translate well into smaller formats.

It needs mirror a business’ personality

It’s possible to come up with a great logo that just lacks the right spirit. An excellent example would be to use playful colors and a cartoonish font when creating a logo for a serious law firm—that’s a big no-no. However, there are many different mistakes you can make in this process that is not as obvious, which is why it’s quite important for you to clearly define your business.

Different types of logos…

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Need a Great Logo Fast? Try These Apps

Need a Great Logo Fast? Try These Apps

Picture Nike without its trademark swoosh. Or McDonald’s without its golden arches. Or Apple without its iconic half-eaten fruit. Can’t, right?

Having a good logo is just as important — if not more important — than nailing the perfect name. Not a visual branding genius? No worries. Let these apps do the hard work:

Choose from tons of shapes already created by designers and add touches to make yours unique.

You can choose a background color and an object (think cloud, apple, cupcake), and then adjust by color, size, and text with dozens of fonts to choose from.

When the logo is in perfect shape, just hit “I’m done,” and the image will save to your smart phone’s camera roll.

Color Viewfinder: Don’t feel limited by that ol’ square, Roy G. Biv.

This app replicates colors you see in the real world so you can find — and use — inspiration from anywhere. Just take a photo of a color or a group of colors that inspires you, upload, and the app creates a personal color palette.

SketchUp: Get your 3-D glasses ready.

If your logo’s complete but something’s not quite right, why not move to the third dimension? Upload your image and use “line” and “arc” tools to trace over it. Then, select the “pull” tool to see your logo transformed.