Before going into the key elements of an impactful logo for your business, you must understand your target audience and define how you want your brand to appear to them.
Knowing what your customer values about you and expects from you is important to develop a relevant logo, as well as inspire trust and loyalty.
The color combination and design style mainly depends on your branding, so you may want to decide on your branding plan before getting started on the logo designing process.
After learning your customer thoroughly and creating clear branding for your business, it’s time to make the logo happen.
Here are the key elements of an impactful logo:
1. Strength and Balance
A logo is a visualization of your company personality, so whether it’s made of graphic or typography, or both of them, it should reflect your company in its heart and soul.
It is an icon that reminds the audience of your business, so keep your products/services in mind so your logo can be reflected. Favoring logos that have a strong, balanced look so it can make an impression on the audience.
Simplicity is a vital factor in business logos. Not only does it make a better impression on your audience, but it is also easier to reproduce and fully engage them. When printed by itself, or in solid black and white or in color, your logo will still be easy to recognize.
The branding experts at Red Kite Design say that:
"Overly complex logos do not convey professionalism, but will instead most likely confuse the customers.
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A streamlined logo reflects assurance and is more memorable. Thus, simplicity should be at the top of your mind when creating the logo. It may be hard to refrain from adding too many elements to your logo, but less really is more.
For a person to identify and remember your logo, there must be some games to play with it. If it’s too simple and easy to ‘read’, the audience will feel no sense of discovery, but too much abstraction will confuse them. Your business logo doesn’t have to always describe what your business does. For example, you don’t want a picture of a shoe on your shoe company’s products. A strong logo design is the one that can communicate your brand without the company name. This will enable you to use the logo as a stand-alone image.
Certainly, in the beginning, you will envision using your logo on platforms such as websites, brochures, and business cards; but throughout a business’s life cycle, it will be used in a lot of different ways. Whether there is a change in the size, background color, or styling, your logo should be versatile enough to adapt. Your logo should be recognizable anywhere and in any size - whether it’s on a big billboard 100 meters away or on a small business card in your hand.
It should be adaptable in all design formats, and should also create the same feeling on all marketing materials, such as embroidery, stamping, or embossing.
No matter what color your logo comes in or what background is behind it - whether it’s in many colors or just black and white - it should recall the same brand story. Certain design elements, such as fonts, don’t lend themselves well to being scaled-down, so keep versatility in mind when finalizing your logo.
Many startups and small businesses use different logos on different materials, but this can confuse the audience. Be sure to keep your logo consistent and flexible.
5. Appropriate Colors
When it comes to deciding your logo’s color, remind yourself of the message you want to send to the customers. Your logo should communicate, if not reinforce, the message/tone/mood, instead of neutralizing or distracting from it.
Certain colors evoke different feelings and convey different messages. For example, blue often communicates trust and loyalty, while green is eco-friendly.
Also, logos are often printed in black and white, so consider a color that is as strong or stronger in black and white. It’s important to remember that some colors may be aesthetically pleasing on computers, but may not work on business cards or merchandise, or may not be printable on these types of materials.
Your logo should have a maximum of three colors as too many can increase the cost of production as well as making it hard to reproduce.
Staying in touch with the latest trends is good, but not for your logo. A logo should have a long life expectancy, even though it will evolve over time, but the main message and recognizable features should always be there.
A logo that is stuck in a certain time period is more likely to feel outdated as soon as trends change. A good logo should feel fresh every single time someone looks at it.
Your business is unique, so your logo should also be the one and only. A good logo will be able to distinguish itself from your competitors in a unique way - and thus stand out among the clutter and the crowd, so that it will be memorable and visible to your intended audience. It is not hard to create a unique logo without thousands of fonts, color combinations, and intricate designs.
It is quite disturbing when you see logos that look the same as many other brands, so be careful not to make your logo too much like all the others out there. Avoid logo cliches like “swoops”, “wooshes”, or “pinwheels”.
It is good to do research, but be careful that this doesn’t lead you onto the same track as other brands’ logos. Remember to set yourself apart and not allow your logo to be confused with other brands’. Keeping things simple is always a good first step.
8. Quality Typography
Your chosen typography is like the voice with which you deliver your message. Remind yourself of the message and the tone you want to communicate and choose the right type of typography to illustrate it.
Different fonts evoke different feelings; for example, typefaces in serifs express a sense of dignity and power, while san serifs are more cleaning looking and convey a sense of stability. After deciding on your typography, check if the typeface works with your logo and can be read on small logos.
9. Meaning that Derives from your Brand
Your logo should derive the meaning from your brand, not the other way around. The best logos are not well known for being a logo, but because of the story and vision, they represent. When starting to make your logo, make sure that you already have a picture of your branding in mind, so that your logo can follow.
Unless you plan on never using your logo outside of an on-screen application, a PNG or PSD file is not going to cut it. Always ask your illustrators for vector-based graphics which will provide the best flexibility for your future use.
Good branding and making considered adjustments over time is a unique opportunity for small businesses to stand out from your competitors, so try to communicate your message well from the first moment the audience first sees your logo, as you only get one chance at a first impression.
It’s important to know your audience so that you can understand what they are looking for and deliver it to them. More than just a cool design, your logo should send a loud and clear message about what your brand is offering.
A relevant logo should be targeted and purposeful and should be able to speak to your audience. For example, when picking the color for your logo, understanding why you should pick certain colors instead of your favorite will put your logo at a great advantage. Certain colors or designs may not appeal to you but will to your intended audience.
Creating a winning brand for your business is not an easy task, but designing your logo can be a great adventure.
Being the first introduction of your business to a potential customer, having a well-designed logo is just as important as a good first impression of your products or services.
Throughout the process, it’s important to always keep in mind who your audience is, the message you want to send, and the tone in which you want to deliver it so that your logo can communicate well to the audience.
From the vector elements to the typography, everything should be consistent and in harmony. Great design leads to great message communication.
As you begin to design your logo, keep the key elements mentioned in this article in mind to make sure that your logo comes out as a powerful statement, and enables your brand to resonate with your audience.
Your logo will stay with your business throughout its life cycle, so design a timeless and logo to support your business into the future.