Brand logos are often overlooked in our day to day lives but stop to think about it for a second and you’ll realise they are the commercial totems and signposts of our modern lives. Most of us could instantly recognise all manner of brand logos and in some cases, just the colour schemes they use.
In order for your business to become a brand and create this immediate recognition in your burgeoning customer base, you need to design a logo that will immediately stand out from the crowd and be instantly recognisable as yours. In addition to providing prospective customers with their first impression of your brand, your logo can also influence purchasing decisions and shape the overall attitudes people will have towards your products or services.
Keep Your Brand Front and Centre
As both a representation of and an introduction to your brand, your logo must have the ability to appeal to and connect with a specific target audience. You might find it helpful to write down a few key words that you immediately associate with your brand, before creating a visual mood board to help you to integrate your brand’s ideology and key attributes into your logo design.
Colour is Critical
As your logo should perfectly encapsulate your brand personality, selecting the right colour palette is crucial. Bold hues can immediately capture attention, however, an unmeasured combination runs the risk of appearing too over the top. Equally, muted tones can feel sophisticated and refined, but if they aren’t used creatively enough they might go unnoticed or overlooked.
Every colour carries its own unique characteristics and cultural connotations and can add nuance to the overall message you want to convey. Although colour theory and the psychology of colour is markedly more complex, here is a quick colour breakdown to get you started:
- Red is bold and energetic
- Orange is youthful and creative
- Yellow is optimistic and enthusiastic
- Green is organic and natural
- Blue is trustworthy and professional
- Purple is wise and spiritual
- Pink is fun and poised
- Brown is reliable and traditional
- Black is powerful and authoritative
- White is pure and simple
As a visual cornerstone of your brand, you must know exactly what your logo means. Try to avoid getting carried away by design flourishes that look aesthetically pleasing but don’t have any real correlation with your brand identity. Additionally, you should aim to create a logo that you can own, and by that we mean avoiding cliché at all costs will always pay off in the long run. Take Evernote’s logo, for example. The elephant is immediately recognisable, but it’s the curled trunk and dog-eared page fold ear that make this logo so unique and distinctive.
Although you could flip through a font menu and select something that makes your brand name look good, custom typography is another opportunity to give your logo a sense of inimitability that shouldn’t be overlooked. Working to elevate your design, custom fonts are also far more difficult to imitate.
Simplicity and Flexibility
The best logos are simple and timeless, with Apple’s iconic logo being a perfect example. There is objectively nothing remarkable about the silhouette of an apple, however the missing “byte/bite” both gives the logo its inimitable character and reinforces Apple’s computer-focused brand identity.
Symmetry and Proportion
In 2009, a 27-page pitch made by a creative agency to refresh the Pepsi logo caused a stir with its level of detail and discussion of symmetrical energy fields. While it is certainly possible to go a little overboard, there are still many important lessons to be learnt about proportion and symmetry. Although studies have shown that symmetry can result in increased activity in the brain’s visual cortex, symmetry in design can be associated with craftsmanship and perfection, while asymmetry can convey humanity and authenticity.
Negative space can be used to convey meaning in unique and unexpected ways. Take the FedEx logo, for example. You might have seen this logo a thousand times and never noticed its subtle hidden arrow design feature. This might sound like a design fail but the almost nonchalant utilisation of negative space is actually what makes this logo so brilliant.
Active or Passive?
Introducing a sense of motion in your brand logo can give it a bit of oomph if you feel there is something missing. Twitter has produced several variants of its original logo over the years, with its passive perched bird transforming into an active in-flight bird that has a distinctive upward trajectory.
Don’t Rush Creativity
Rather than attempting to design something that is immediately iconic, focus on creating something that really represents your brand. After all, this is often precisely what ultimately makes a logo design iconic. For example, the creator of Nike’s swoosh logo, Carolyn Davidson, was asked to create something that epitomises motion. By focusing on a singular objective, she created one of the world’s most immediately recognisable logos.
Invest in Meaning
Every successful logo is packed with meaning and has a clear narrative that deftly conveys the brand’s core values. Although your initial motivation might be to create something that feels fresh, it is the connection to your brand’s identity that you will ultimately form a deep connection with.