Business is a savage, remorseless domain. Each and every day, the war for survival and, in a best-case scenario, supremacy wages on. We can’t hear the sounds of that war, but be assured that it is ongoing. Nowadays, the market is oversaturated with companies. This is, of course, beneficial but at the same time a great disadvantage for young entrepreneurs who are striving to build up their own businesses.
You need to have a truly unique idea to make it in this complicated entanglement of firms. A unique idea automatically requires other inimitable elements to support it. One of those elements is the logo. Call it company logo design or brand design; you’ll need to hire somebody to do it. Or do you?
Why Is the Logo so Important?
If you think of a logo as being a plain doodle with the name of the company, then it certainly appears as a trivial option. It’s just that it’s not trivial, nor an option. It’s an indispensable tool in your armory.
The logo is you and your company; the sublimated form of everything that pertains to the services you’re offering and the field your business is in. The logo is irrefutably connected to the identity of the company; without it, it’s as if you never existed. It plays a huge role in branding, i.e. in placing you on the market as a business entity. If it weren’t for their logos, many business giants would have been less known today.
So, business logos are absolutely crucial. They’re the very heartbeats of the companies they’re made for.
When Should I Think of the Logo?
Ideally, as fast as you’ve outlined your business. When you’re new to the market, you need massive advertising, and you cannot do that – at least not efficiently – without a logo.
You’ve got two options: hire a graphic design studio that specializes in company logo design or do it yourself by learning the basics of the craft. If you keep your self-sufficiency in high regards, you’ve come to the perfect place.
This is where you’ll learn everything you need to know about logo design, from A to Z, from obscurity to full-blown fame. And don’t sweat it, it’s nothing you cannot do. We’ll show you each step in a succinct, crystal-clear manner, without unnecessary technical terms and mystifying procedures. Let’s begin.
What You’ll Need
First off, Adobe Illustrator or any other similar software you are familiar, even though PS excels at what it does and it doesn’t quite have a match as of yet. The Illustrator license may be quite pricey, but it’s worth every penny.
Depending on what kind of logo you want, you may need some graphic resources. You can browse for free ones on a variety of websites, just Google them. Okay. Now that Illustrator is ready for use, there’s one more ingredient to the base of what will become your logo, and that’s logo ideas. Without them, all this would be a fiasco.
As for the actual steps you’ll have to take in making this brand identity design a success, they will be showcased next.
Company Logo Design – Step-By-Step Instructions
(If the logo is for your own company)
Step 1: Review your business
Approach your business with a clear mind. What are you selling it? What are the services you provide to the public? What makes you stand out from the rest of the other hundreds of similar companies? Answering these questions will be a great help once you get to designing the logo.
Company logo design is fairly different from the design for a club or a bar logo, in the sense that it’s a lot more serious and considerably more difficult. It is a formal representation of the company. Another important aspect you have to keep in mind when in the middle of this first step is to establish your target audience.
A creative logo design depends on the public more than you would be inclined to believe. To be brief on this: let’s pretend you’re selling instruments. Your target audience will be musicians, undoubtedly. The logo will have to reflect that you’re retailing instruments. In this case, you cannot create a company logo design that would be more suitable for a circus, for example.
Step 2: Do some research
Scour the Internet for companies that resemble yours. Keep an eye on their logos. It will help you come up with your own logo ideas as well as to get a sense of what is redundant and what is not in identity design/company logo design.
If you find a logo model that you like, don’t rip it off. Apart from being unethical, this could also stir some legal issues. You can take inspiration from other logos, but only to make yours more unique. On top of all these, pay additional attention to the colors that those companies used in their logos. You’ll be able to see the main colors that are used in company logo design.
Step 3: Think of a good logo idea
Logos can be made solely with fonts, abstract shapes or even tiny pieces of graphics, as long as they convey the essence of the company appropriately. To give you an example of a good logo made only with a font, no image, take a look at the one of the company Acer. Instantly recognizable, made with a font that’s not even that ground-breaking. But it’s so efficient! The slight inclination of the letters towards the right gives the logo the perfect amount of simple stylishness.
Can you think of a logo made from one single graphic image that this whole planet recognizes on the spot? No? The Apple one, of course. An apple with a bite and that’s it. How about a logo so abstract that it’s almost hilarious, but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most known logos in the history of humanity? The Nike logo. Do you see the pattern here?
A logo doesn’t really need to be overly intricate to be effective and unforgettable. Keep it simple. Business logos are often bland and uninspired, so don’t underestimate the power of a bad example. It’s still an example, after all.
Step 4: Hunt for resources
If you want a graphic logo, you’ll need resources. There are a lot of websites with free or very cheap resources. Pixeden.com and pixelbuddha.net are two of these. They’re stuffed with vectors, textures, icons and various other graphic design sources. However, if you need some special brushes and images, you’ll probably have to buy them.
Step 5: Draw it
If you’re good at drawing, you can make it directly in Illustrator. However, it’s quite hard to do that if you don’t have a special tablet that allows you to draw with precision. The best idea would be to draw it on paper first and scan it afterward to be tampered with in Adobe Illustrator.
It’s strongly recommended you use Illustrator, not Photoshop. The latter is simply awful at creating logos. Illustrator has all the right tools for ensuring the scalability of your logo.
Don’t get mad if the first attempt turns out to be an utter disaster. That’s a risk, but you’ll get better with time. As you draw it, don’t lose sight of what you’re doing: an exercise in identity design. You’re doing company logo design, to be more precise, so don’t go with the flow, as tempted as you might be.
Step 6: The logo must be a vector!
This message warranted to be in bold, underlined and italicized because it’s really important. First of all, what’s a vector? A vector is an image that doesn’t suffer any loss in quality and detail when it’s resized. When you resize a logo that is not a vector, the resolution blurs out. This happens regardless of whether you make it smaller or bigger.
Every logo you’ve ever seen is a vector. Cross our hearts. Once you’ve drawn and scanned your logo, open the image in Adobe Illustrator and proceed to make it a vector. The process of making your logo a vector is quite thorough, but it’s a must. You can find useful tutorials all over the Internet. It will take some time until you’ll be able to do it in a few minutes, but don’t worry. Every professional designer went through that stage at one point or another.
Step 7: Make more versions
You should have a batch of logos, not just one. When you write something, an essay, for example, you make drafts. That same thing applies to creative logo design. Having more versions to choose from will develop your attention to details. In addition to this, having various examples will make it easier for you to learn what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right.
Step 8: Colors
It doesn’t matter if you make the logo colored in Illustrator or you color it after you scan the drawing. Don’t overuse it. Do you know those tests on Facebook? Like “Tell me your name, and I’ll tell you which kind of table you are!” or “Tell me your birthday and I’ll tell you when you’ll stop taking these stupid tests?” Of course, those are a genuine plague. But, if somebody asks you “Tell me what your favorite color is to tell you what kind of personality you have,” that may bring back a legitimate answer. There’s a tremendous load of psychological implications in colors, be them passive or aggressive.
Try to stick to two main colors. It’s more than enough. The colors you’ll be using must be in concordance with the target audience and the services you provide. Keep in mind that in brand design, aggressive colors are seldom used. The passive ones, on the other hand, are favored because they’re more formal and elegant and don’t scratch the eyes out.
Step 9: Make sure the logo looks good in grayscale
You can do this easily by setting the logo image to black and white. Are the contrasts well-defined? Does the logo look good? If not, revert it back to color and work on the contrast, the temperature, and the value until it looks nice once you convert it to black and white.
You’ll probably never need it in B&W, but this tells a lot about the colors you’ve been using. In other words, it lets you know if the colors have the suitable coordinates. A professional graphic design studio will always take this step, even though you didn’t ask for a grayscale logo.
Step 10: Make the finishing touches
Are you happy with the turnout? Good. If that’s the case, finalize it. Take one last look at it and ask yourself if it truly reflects the identity of your company. Is there something you may change about it? If there is, do it now, not later.
The most important question you have yet to answer is “Will it stand the test of time?” The greatest quality of a fantastic logo is endurance. The final version must remain unaltered until the end of time or the end of your company (God forbid). If you have a gut feeling that you’re going to change it sooner than later, that’s a clear sign that you should work on it again. You’ll have to do it until the question above gets an unwavering positive answer. That’s the secret to company logo design. Unbreakable continuity.
Step 11: Ask for opinions/feedback
No matter how terrific you think the result of your struggle is, ask for feedback from your friends, your family, and professionals. If the reviews are leaving a great deal to be desired, don’t make a drama out of it. Your ego will suffer more if you don’t listen to what your acquaintances are trying to say. Even the most professional designers that work in brand identity design ask for advice from their peers.
Step-By-Step Instructions For Freelancers/Aspiring Designers
(If the logo is a commission for a company)
The steps for company logo design done for someone else differ a bit from the company logo design you do for yourself. Your responsibility is greater than in the latter case, as well. Moreover, you will probably have a deadline, so you would be working under stress, which doesn’t quite happen when you’re the beneficiary of what it is you’re doing.
Let’s see the steps for this company logo design service you’re offering, or you’d be willing to offer in the future.
Step 1: Talk to the client
And by “talk to the client” we don’t mean “make chit-chat.” You have to delve deep into the personality and the mentality of your customer and his company. Surely, brand identity design is extremely simple when you’re doing it for yourself, because you already know everything about your own business. Make sure that you listen carefully to what the client has to say, lest you’ll work for nothing.
Step 2: Ask for guidance
When you work as a company logo design freelancer, you always need to be in touch with the client that requested your services. One of the very questions you have to ask any client that might be interested in working with you is if he has a model in mind or another logo he found pleasing. This will save you a lot of time, and it will spare the client from a few potentially horrible logos.
Once he commissioned it, you’re at his disposal, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that you know exactly what he wants, as much as it is his duty to tell you what he wants. You’ll stumble upon a lot of clients that have little to no idea whatsoever on how they want their logos to look like. You’ll have to brainstorm for two persons.
Step 3: Ask what colors he wants you to use
Colors are very important, and you want to be 100% sure of the ones your client wants you to use. A quick reminder: 80% of the time, your customers will ask you to do everything that’s against the principles of company logo design. Understandably so, since they don’t have any expertise in the field.
For instance, they will ask you to use a multitude of colors or to use a chaos of fonts. What do you do in that case? Your behavior will be illustrated in the following step.
Step 4: Educate them
Yours is the task of explaining to clients why those things are not feasible. You’re the designer, not them. When the harnesses of company logo design are taken by clients, the results can be horrible. That’s why education is so important. The logo you’ll be making will always have your signature, so your reputation will be at play.
Try to make them understand why it’s not recommended to do things as they want them done. If they are not that eager to accept your advice, you have two options: get yourself out of the job or pout and do whatever it is they want.
Step 5: Get to working
Once you’ve accumulated all the information you needed, you can start the company logo design session. Follow all the steps we’ve showcased in the first section of this guide. What’s different now is that you are bound to communicate with the client. You’ll need a constant evaluation from him, so you know that he likes how his logo is coming to life. With time, you’ll get better at design and, at the same time, at reasoning with your clients.
How to Deal with Designer’s Block
Inspiration is not a bottomless pool; more often than not, you’ll sit in front of your computer for hours on end, with no idea in mind. You’ll doodle and sketch with no actual result.
If it helps, nobody that ever worked in company logo design was able to just come up with hundreds of ideas/models all the time. Come to terms with the fact that you’ll get your fair share of designer’s block (honestly, the expression “designer’s block,” doesn’t exist but it helps us in appearing as if we were so eclectic!).
So, what do you do when inspiration knocks at your door and when you open it no-ones there? First of all, don’t panic. It happens to everybody. Second of all, you must know that inspiration is by no means an exclusively internal thing. You can get it from plenty of other places than your own head. For example, you can surf the Internet and visit some logo inspiration websites. We’ve mentioned some of them below.
Websites for Logo Inspiration
Our company logo design guide has finally come to an end. Hopefully, it’s been of a greater help than the majority of weak or overly complicated guides you can find on the Internet.
Keep in mind that company logo design is difficult only if you make it so. Don’t give up on the first try. We’re not going to lie to you: it will probably take a lot of time until you come up with your first masterpiece. One thing is sure, though: you will most definitely come up with it eventually.