Creating a Killer Logo
Creating a killer logo may be the most difficult task in creating your identity. Just like your name it should be memorable. It should also be easy to read.
Start with a font.
Pick something easy to read. Classic fonts are always a safe bet: Helvetica, Garamond, Caslon, Futura, Trade Gothic, Franklin Gothic, Bodoni. If you’re business is something conservative or traditional, it’s probably best to use a serif font. If you’re in the trades, or you want a modern or contemporary feel, go with a sans serif font. Avoid highly decorative fonts, unless perhaps your business is selling Victorian wallpaper.
To bug or not to bug?
The bug is the little symbol that locks up with the type that’s your name. Using one is usually a matter of personal preference, but it should speak to your company name or what your company does. For example, Apple Computers uses an apple icon both with their name and without for their logo. Of course, their ‘bug’ has become so recognizable that you don’t need their name to know who they are. Whatever you do, avoid the overused swoosh.
Design in black and white, then add color.
You want to make sure you logo works on a fax cover sheet, your company checks or anything else that will be printing in a single color. So design it in black and white first to make sure it works across all media. Then, and only then, add color.
It’s possible to design a great logo with a gradient, but you’ll find lots of media in which reproducing a gradient becomes prohibitively expensive. Avoid gradients and you’ll avoid cost challenges down the road.
Design your logo in Adobe Illustrator or other vector-based software.
By designing your logo as vector art it will be scaleable up or down to one inch to 100 feet with no loss of quality. If you design it in Adobe Photoshop or another pixel=based software, it won’t be scaleable. That means you’ll have to recreate it on a large scale when you need it for things like storefront or event signage, otherwise it’s going to, um, suck.
Make sure it works large and small.
It should be as legible at one inch as it is at 1 foot. The big boy companies often have slightly different versions of their logo for small and large uses so that type continues to be legible at small sizes but you don’t necessarily have to go that far.
Test your logo.
Finally, you might want to do a little market research. Before rolling out your shiny new logo, show it to customers or potential customers (or at the very least friends and family who can be impartial and who can give quality, honest feedback) to get their opinion. Does it say what you want it to? Is it appropriate to your market and/or targeted customer? If not, head back to the drawing board.
Melissa Shimmin is an award-winning designer who has been helping companies both big and small create, evolve and strengthen their identities, branding and marketing collateral for more than 15 years. And yet, Melissa is more than just a designer: she takes a big picture perspective, combining marketing strategy and copywriting with design to create stronger, more impactful branding and identity for the companies she partners with. Check out her work at Shimmin Design.