What makes a great logo? From the iconic ‘swoosh’ adorning sneakers and shirts to the red and white script signature on pop bottles, a great logo becomes a fast, visual shorthand for the brand it represents. Good logos are worth millions in free advertising to their parent companies, shortening the time it takes to introduce products and helping gain recognition in the eyes of consumers.
How you take a logo from concept to creation is part alchemy, part science, part logic and part intuition. Custom logo design online should include time to get to know your brand attributes. When this knowledge combines with strong design skills and the five factors for a good logo, you’ve got a potential winner on your hands.
What Is a Logo?
A logo is an identifying mark for a company, product or brand. It can be font-based, literal illustration or abstract symbols. The combination of image, typeface, words, designs and symbols must be unique to distinguish one mark from another. With time and effort, logos become associated with the companies and products they represent. Then they become a visual shorthand, eliciting emotions, thoughts and feelings about the product or companies they represent with just a glance from a viewer.
That’s the power of a logo. It’s a small visual imprint that makes a big impression. A good logo encapsulates emotions, thoughts and feelings in a tiny space.
It’s difficult to do, which is why finding professional logo design online is so important. Trying to ‘wing it’ or design it yourself can lead to difficulties. You can accidentally copy someone else’s logo or create a bland, boring logo by accident. You can also end up creating a logo that doesn’t work well in certain printing areas or on particular types of presses. These considerations are taken into account by the graphic designers who provide professional logo design online to avoid the potential pitfalls that amateurs fall into when trying to design their logos.
Five Factors for a Great Logo Design
Logos are very important. A good logo adds to the overall brand image and appeal of the company, products or services.
The following five factors should be taken into consideration for any logo design:
At first, this might not seem like a good thing. After all, in our culture, simple has become synonymous with boring. However, when it comes to logo design, simplicity is vital for a logo’s success.
The design principle of “KISS” — keep it simple stupid — applies to many forms of graphic design, but especially to logo design. Simple logos reproduce best and work in a variety of applications. They print clearly and accurately and provide instant recognition.
Logos must be highly recognizable. A simple design makes it easier for people to remember the logo. Think of the golden arches for McDonald’s fast food or giant bell on Taco Bell. These are simple images that render in all sizes and shapes from drink cups to giant highway billboards and are instantly recognizable.
It’s easy to get lost in the design process and add swirls, curls and fancy objects to a logo to set it apart. But the most iconic, memorable brands have a simple logo. These logos tend to be enduring and classic because the artwork chosen for the logo isn’t dated or trendy.
Simple never goes out of style. Keep your logo choices simple for a logo you’ll be proud to use for many years.
If a logo isn’t memorable, there’s no point in having one. The whole purpose of a logo is to imprint upon the customers’ memory so you can more easily promote your products and services.
A logo that looks too much like other logos will soon be forgotten or mixed up with the other companies using a similar mark. Logos that aren’t memorable fade into the background. Customers will end up scratching their heads and wondering just what company is behind the advertising.
The funny thing about memorable logo design is that it doesn’t matter what the picture or subject of the logo is as long as it is memorable. The company Evernote, a software that enables fast note taking online, uses an elephant head and text treatment. The elephant “never forgets,” so it is a great symbol for the company. However, it’s the juxtaposition of the curled elephant trunk, the gray and green colors, and the tipped back elephant ear, like a page folded down to mark it and remember it, that makes the logo highly memorable.
Any icon can become memorable if it’s taken from the literal to the figurative. A literal elephant is a nice touch for a note-taking software — curl the elephant’s ear into a folded down page corner, and you’ve moved it into several, layered meanings that make it memorable.
Color, iconography or the combination of several design factors can make a logo memorable. A logo doesn’t need to be complex to be memorable. A simple logo consisting of two or three elements may be all it takes to make something stick in mind.
Your logo must appear as either in a starring role or as a supporting cast member, depending on how you’re using it. It may be the only image on a marketing document, like the logo on a business card or stationery, or it may be part of a complex design involving text, graphics, fonts and colors, as on a website. A good logo fits in with any design, no matter how simple or complex. It is versatile.
Versatility doesn’t just extend to the overall appearance of a logo. The aspect ratio, or the ratio of width to height on a logo, must also be flexible enough to allow it be used in different sizes and formats. A good online logo design company will create logos that take all the different potential uses of your logo into account before presenting you with designs.
Test your logo concepts out in color and black and white, blown up huge like a banner or shrunken down to a tiny blip on a smartphone screen. A good logo retains its character and recognition factor even when used in all of these different formats.
Just as a logo should be memorable, to be truly successful, it should also be innovative. Innovation means that it is different in some way from all that went before it.
Think about the Apple logo. Apple Records, the record label which featured the Beatles in the 1960s, featured a photograph of an apple. The computer company could have done something similar — a plain old apple silhouette jazzed up with some color. But they went a step further. By taking a ‘bite’ out of the apple, they used innovation to push the symbol in a new direction.
One of the many reasons that stock photography doesn’t work well in a logo is that it is rarely innovative. By its very nature, a stock photograph is licensed to multiple users, and it cannot be trademarked into a logo. It is also standardized so that a silhouette of a dog, cat or rose will all be very commonplace. An original logo may use a simple line drawing as a base but always innovates above and beyond the commonplace.
Another trap to watch out for is what’s been dubbed a “trip to the font menu.” Just taking different fonts and trying your company name out in script, bold or another typeface to create a logo lacks the all-important innovation factors. Innovation and simplicity make logo memorable.
Your logo should also be both memorable and innovative, using a new design, color or idea to infuse it with life and meaning. Fresh, new design is what sets great logos apart from mediocre ones.
Meaning can be ascribed by the brand story that runs with the logo, or it can be inherent in the logo itself. Having meaning built right into your logo takes it a step further than the rest, and with it, pushes your marketing to a higher level.
The Nike swoosh logo, for example, is a design element that by itself has no singular meaning. It does, however, impart a feeling of motion, flight and speed — all the things the company wants you to think about when you are looking at their athletic shoes and clothing. They’ve worked hard to build meaning into the swoosh, but the conceptual graphic itself also has meaning within it.
If you’ve chosen to create a new symbol that has no inherent meaning, be prepared to spend money on your branding campaign to ascribe meaning to the symbol. The Nike swoosh didn’t have any inherent meaning to it until it became associated with the brand. The Olympic rings were also just circles until people saw them repeated with the Olympics advertising. Repetition along with core concepts behind the brand can build meaning around otherwise empty symbols. It’s expensive and takes time, but it can be done.
Using commonly accepted symbols with a bit of flair or innovation build into it is one way to take a logo into the innovative territory. The stick-figure symbols often used on signage is a good example of common symbols. People know that it’s a figure of a man, woman, or a person. You can put that stick-figure type symbol into any configuration and viewers will still know that it’s a portrayal of a human being. That’s the kind of symbolism that brings meaning with it.
If it seems like a tall order to fit all five points into one logo design, it is! That’s why it is tough for the average person to create a company logo that has meaning and impact. Graphic designers are highly trained professionals who have the experience necessary to take these requirements and build something new and exciting. With the right graphic designer working on your project, you’ll get a better logo than trying to do it yourself.
Creating a Company Logo Online: Prepare for Logo Design
Now that you understand the importance of a great logo, you’re probably thinking about creating a company logo online. Before reaching out to a company like The NetMen Corp to start your logo design, it’s helpful to prepare for the conversation. Make notes on the following points to share with your design team:
- What does your company do? Do you sell goods or services?
- Who is your audience? In other words, who are your customers? Be as specific as you can with a description of your target audience.
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have a logo you’re currently using? Do you like it? Why or why not? If you don’t like it, why are you requesting a new logo now?
- Do you have corporate colors and fonts selected that the designer needs to use? If so, what are they? Be specific. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) provides designers and printers with an exact numbered color-key so colors reproduce accurately. It is an industry standard method of identifying colors for graphic design projects such as logos.
- Do you have any company logos in mind that you love? Hate? Both can help your designer narrow down some choices.
- Are there any things that absolutely must be on your logo? For example, perhaps it’s important to include the year you were founded, or some other important point that you feel must include. Then, by all means, put it on the list for the graphic designer.
When it’s time to meet with your designer either virtually or in person, this list will come in handy. It gives both you and your designer a great starting point in the conversation that will ultimately end up with a finished logo you can be proud to display.
What If You Are Building on an Existing Logo?
Times change, and logo designs may seem as outdated as a polyester leisure suit if you’re not careful. Many companies like to refresh their logos when they reach milestone dates, such as their 25th anniversary in business, moving to a new location or expanding their business.
Companies updating existing logos often take elements from the current logo and transform them slightly to modernize them. Certain typefaces and colors are often chosen during decades in which they are prominent. Updating both can give a logo a new feel without compromising the recognition built into the logo itself.
Your Logo From The NetMen Corp
Whether you’re seeking a brand-new logo or you’re looking to update your current logo, The NetMen Corp offers professional logo design online as well as graphic design services for print and the web. We can create a memorable, innovative, straightforward and meaningful logo for you. We work with companies big, small and somewhere in between, in all industries and fields, to create logos that help build brand recognition and awareness. Bring us your ideas — we’re here to help.
Visit TheNetMen Corp to order a logo online, see our portfolio of completed work or view our other design services.