How To Design A Logo

Want to know how to design a logo like a professional and have all the resources you need in just one post? Then this is the post for you… Learn professional logo design in just 5 steps!

1. Learn What A Logo Is & What It Represents

Before you design a logo, you must understand what a logo is, what it represents and what it is supposed to do. A logo is not just a mark – a logo reflects a business’s commercial brand via the use of shape, fonts, colour, and  or images.

A logo is for inspiring trust, recognition and admiration for a company or product and it is our job as designers to create a logo that will do its job.

One must know what a logo is before continuing.

For further reading on what is a logo check out Wikipedia’s Definition.

2. Know The Principles of Effective Logo Design

Now that you know what a logo is supposed to do, and what it should represent you now must learn about what makes a great logo aka; the basic rules and principles of effective logo design.

1. A logo must be simple

A simple logo design allows for easy recognition and allows the logo to be versatile & memorable. Good logos feature something unexpected or unique without being overdrawn.

2. A logo must be memorable

Following closely behind the principle of simplicity, is that of memorability. An effective logo design should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple, yet, appropriate logo.

3. A logo must be timeless

An effective logo should be timeless – that is, it will stand the test of time. Will the logo still be effective in 10, 20, 50 years?

4. A logo must be versatile

An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications. For this reason a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. The logo must work in just one colour too.

5. A logo must be appropriate

How you position the logo should be appropriate for its intended purpose. For example, if you are designing a a logo for children’s toys store, it would be appropriate to use a childish font & color scheme. This would not be so appropriate for a law firm.

For further reading on the rules and principles of great logo design I highly recommend to read the logo design tips from Logo Factory before continuing and also the article Why logo design does not cost $5.00. You may also wish to read How NOT To Design A Logo.

3. Learn Off Others Success & Mistakes

Successful Logos

Now you know what the rules of logo design are, you can distinguish the difference between a good and a bad logo… By knowing what other logos have succeeded and why they have succeeded gives a great insight into what makes a good logo.

For example, lets look at the classic Nike Swoosh. This logo was created by Caroline Davidson in 1971 for only $35 yet it still a strong, memorable logo, effective without colour and easily scalable. It is simple, fluid and fast and represents the wing in the famous statue of the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike – something perfect for a sporting apparel business. Nike is just one of many great logos, think about other famous brands that you know about and check out their logos – what makes them successful?

For more quality, lesser known logos I recommend checking out Logo Of The Day or going to your local book store or library and looking at a logo design book.

The Not So Successful Logos

We can also learn off logos that have not been as successful such as the ones in the above picture or these bad logo designs. As seen in that post linked, some logos can depict things that may have not always be noticeable to the designer (as in the middle logo above) or they could just be plain bad design, as in the logo to the right.

4. Establish Your Own Logo Design Process

Now that we know what a logo is, what the principles and rules of logo design are and what makes a successful logo we can now finally begin the design process. This it hardest part of the 5 steps and is its own topic in itself – Each person’s logo design process is different and experience usually is the key factor in creating your own logo design process however check out The Secret Logo Design Process Of Top Logo Designers for a better idea.

In short, a logo design process usually consists of

  1. The Design Brief
  2. Research & Brainstorming
  3. Sketching
  4. Prototyping & Conceptualising (See Step 5)
  5. Send To Client For Review
  6. Revise & Add Finishing Touches
  7. Supply Files To Client and Give Customer Service

If you ever get stuck before or during your design process check out this great article on How To Boost Your Creativity. 

5. Learn The Software & Complete The Logo

After you have got your design process sorted out, it is usually a good time to begin mastering your software (Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard) but remember you can’t design a logo by just hopping straight onto the computer… brainstorm and sketch first.

After you have got your initial ideas and sketches from brainstorming you can then usually jump onto the computer to start digitising your logo. After you have got a great concept(s) digitised you can send it to your client, get revisions, and eventually complete the logo and thus, you have successfully created a professional logo.