The Ultimate Guide to Logo Design
There are some companies out there that would have you believe that designing a logo is as simple as slapping together some type and a shape or two. But there is so much more to designing a good logo than just that, regardless of what some may say.
A lot goes into a great logo design. While a logo seems like just a little thing to create, it represents an entire company or brand, and must convey identity, values, and more. You can’t think of it as just a “little” design job. It can be the most important design a company has, and one that guides future design and branding decisions. With this guide you’ll learn all the steps necessary for creating a fantastic logo for your own project or a potential client’s.
What makes a good logo?
A good logo is powerful. Whether it includes imagery or only type, a good logo has a certain power to it that makes it stand out. On that note, a good logo is unique. It won’t be confused with logos for other companies, particularly a business’s competitors. Along the same lines, a good logo is recognizable. It can become associated with a specific business quickly and easily.
A good logo is timeless, too. It should stand up and still look current 10, 20, or even 50 years down the road. That’s a lot easier said than done. A good logo also re-inforces your brand. It should convey the appropriate mood, tone, and feeling for your business. Whether you choose to make your logo literally represent your business type is up to you, as there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. But in either case, it needs to support your brand.
A really good logo also conveys the core message of your company. It relays the qualities, skills, and values that your company believes in.
Types of logos:
There are three main types of logos: there are logotypes, which are typography-based logos; there are literal logos, where the imagery used directly ties to the type of business (such as a dress for a clothing store); and abstract logos, where the logo imagery isn’t obviously linked to the type of business and may be based more on a feeling or mood.
Logotypes are very common, and often include a distinctive twist or adaptation on an existing typeface or font. Logotypes can be particularly useful for diversified companies who are involved in more than one business (such as GE or DuPont).
The Sky Production logo is a great example of a logotype that ties imagery into the lettering. The “S” is made from cloud shapes, while the side borders look like the edges of film. It’s a great example of pushing the boundaries of what a logotype can be.
The simple triangle shapes that stand in for the A’s in the SiO Athletica logo are bold and modern, and can be repeated throughout signage and other branding materials whenever an A appears, reinforcing the brand. Consider similar treatments when creating your own logos.
While this doesn’t instantly strike one as a logotype, the shape of the logo is actually created by four B characters. It’s creative and memorable, without being complicated.
The Cube logo is simple and straightforward, with a single line turning a square into a stylized letter C.
The Folkdeer logo incorporates antlers into the typography, blurring the line between a logotype and a logo with literal imagery.
Literal logos are also very common, and can instantly lend meaning to a company’s name, if it’s not abundantly clear. Local and small businesses, in particular, seem to be particularly fond of this type of logo. This may be in part because these logos are easily recognizable and leave little open to interpretation (though some do make clever use of double meanings and hidden imagery).
A bike chain is a very literal image for a bike shop or other bike-related business, as shown in this logo for The Ride.
The Herschel Supply Co Winter Club Collection logo is another great example of literal imagery, this time in the form of mountains and trees.
This Meatloaves Gourmet Burger & Cie logo with a sandwich in the shape of a heart is literal while remaining minimalist and modern. It shows that even logos with literal imagery can be fun and unexpected.
The greenly logo uses leaves in their logo, which makes perfect sense for an eco-friendly company.
The rocking chair in the Brooklyn & Co logo makes perfect sense for a furniture company.
The Plumb line Media logo almost looks abstract, until you see that it’s simply a book (representing media) with a simple plumb line in the spine.
Abstract logos are also very useful for diversified businesses, as they convey mood and tone much more than specific business type. A logo doesn’t have to directly convey what a business does. Consider the Nike Swoosh, McDonald’s Golden Arches, or the Apple logo.
The logo for Austariff, which is an Australian solar feed-in incentive, is reminiscent of the sun, while also incorporating a leaf shape (which makes sense for the renewable energy industry). The shape is used in interesting ways throughout their branding materials.
The Stylish Eve logo is based on the form of an apple, but taken to an abstract end. It’s a good example of taking something associated with a name (the name Eve has strong associations with apples) and stylizing it to create an evocative logo.
The Warped Vision logo uses abstract shapes that are reminiscent of a few things, and doesn’t give any real indication of what the company does.
This article has been written by Steve John who currently working in Design Vation, a logo design company as a Senior Graphic Artist. It excels at creating quality logos, web designs and other designing services. Steve also takes keen interest in the study of evolution of logo designs and their impact on overall brand persona.