Logo Design 101: 5 Things You Must’n Forget

by Inspiredology

on October 22, 2012

in Logos

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Maximizing creativity is a continuous challenge that every designer faces. If you’re trying to design a logo, we’ve got 5 tips you wont learn in school in order to make the best ooey gooey logo.

Right off the bat, a good logo should be:

  • Appropriate – You wouldn’t use the colorful, bouncy letters of Toys R Us for an investment firm, nor would you use Merrill Lynch’s bull for a toy store; the logo has to fit the company right down to its customers.
  • Simple – You need people to be able to recognize and feel a connection almost immediately.
  • Versatile – Now more than ever, your logo has to work in a variety of mediums, sizes, and colors (or lack thereof).
  • Memorable – It needs to stand out in people’s memory so that they think of it whenever they think of the company.
  • Timeless – Amazon could have easily used a mouse or something technology-related, to represent their brand, but they chose a smile (and everything from A to Z) because that’s something that will still have meaning 20 years from now
But there is more to these foundations.

Obviously, creating a logo that meets those standards is a lot easier said than done, which is why we thought we’d help you out by offering up some lesser-known tips to help you achieve those principles.

Trendy is bad

This kind of goes along with the principle of being timeless, but so many logo designers fall for this trap. Every few years, there tends to be a trend in logo design (using bevels! having corporate swooshes!), unfortunately, trends mean that 1) everyone else is doing it so your logo won’t stand out and 2) it will have a shelf life. Go against the grain.

You can learn from success, but probably not what you think

When designing logos, it’s imperative that you revisit the best of what’s out there, Nike’s swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, Puma’s, and think about what works. Do not, however, start to think that you need an animal, swoosh, or arch for success. The lessons come back to the simplicity, scalability, and appropriateness of those designs.

Design for the business, not for yourself

It’s great that you love Metallica and Twilight, but that doesn’t mean you should be using screeching metal font with a picture of a chess piece for your logo…unless the business happens to involve vampire rockers. Basically, the lesson is that you have to remove your personal likes and dislikes as much as possible from the equation, and think about what really sells the company.

Two fonts is the maximum

It takes time for the brain to process and accept different fonts, so incorporating a bunch of them into your design is asking for trouble. It ends up making your logo look like it was Frankensteined together. Two fonts of different weights is pretty standard, but more than that is a no-no and can often confuse the issue.

Colors can actually impede your design

It’s all well and good to tell people to create a versatile design, but what does that mean? One practical effect is that you should be thinking about color only in a secondary fashion – and even then, you need to make sure that the design you want works without color then add in the hues you want to enhance it. Otherwise you could end up having a beautiful design in color that just looks like a blob in black and white.


What are some key ideas you have learned through experience? What do you think of these tips?

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