Designing a Logo

Logo Design Best Practices

Written by Melissa Crowe for Gaebler Ventures

Looking for best practices for logo design? You've come to the right place. We've got nine great tips for designing a logo. With this logo design advice in hand, you're on your way to creating a fantastic company logo.

A logo serves as the personality and opening statement made to the public by an organization.

Logo Design Best Practices

Logos can be seen on business cards, billboards, in print, online and everywhere in between.

Many well known organizations have memorable logos -- think the bulls eye for Target, swoosh for Nike and the Apple for Apple computer.

All are memorable as the symbol of the company they represent and with just a symbol, we can associate a company and brand promise without ever seeing a written description or company name.

It is important to realize the power of a unique and effective logo and what it can accomplish for an organization's identity. No matter the size of the organization, a logo is the symbol of an organization and an effective one is a visual icon that reinforces a company's mission and identity.

The following logo design tips will explain how to design a logo that will remain constant on the mind of its viewers.

  • Express Your Organization's Personality - Your logo can not sing and dance but it can express the personality, purpose and promise of your organization. In fact, it is vital for a potential customer to learn something about your organization just by looking at its logo. It can also provide a clear and consistent image of the company. Believe it or not, the colors that make up your logo are an important component in helping to accomplish this goal. Consider implementing blue into your color scheme as blue communicates trust.
  • Pop Goes the Logo! - The most effective logos are ones that come alive and jump off the page or wherever they are displayed. Make sure your logo is bold, memorable and pops. Ensure that your logo design makes sense for your business and don't be afraid to test it with existing and/or potential customers to see what their feedback is. What you think works, might not resonate with your customers.
  • Keep it Simple - Don't over think your logo design and keep it simple and clean. Attempting to do too much with your logo will only confuse your target audience and blur your message. A confusing logo is forgettable and useless. Sometimes less is more.
  • Make Sure Your Logo is Flexible - A logo must work well across all channels as it can be displayed in numerous places online and in print. Legibility is key and your logo should be able to work in both black and white and color as it may be on documents that will be faxed or photocopied. A logo that cannot be viewed clearly is not effective. Keep in mind that your logo may be viewed on a small object like a business card or on a larger item such as a presentation folder.
  • Make a Statement - Many logos also include a tagline, which is a statement of the products or services you provide and separates your organization from others. Some well known tag lines include Subway's "Eat Fresh" or Nike's "Just do It." Like the design of the logo, a tagline should be short and to the point but memorable. As you design your logo, incorporating a tagline can be an effective marketing tool and it is one best developed in conjunction with the logo.
  • Research Your Logo - While your logo might symbolize something positive in the United States, it might stand for something entirely different in other cultures. Research the meaning behind your logo before you finalize it as it may convey a negative message to those from other cultures. Many organizations do business with individuals and organizations from other countries/cultures which make it vital to create an Internationally-friendly logo. And of course, make sure another organization is not using the same or a similar logo design, especially if they are a competitor.
  • Use it! - Now that you have a logo it is time to use it everywhere both online and in print. Put it on all of your marketing materials including business cards, letterhead and even envelopes. Include it in your email signature, on your Web site and use it in all correspondence to reinforce your company and encourage repeat customers and referrals. Once you have a solid logo that makes an impact, it should be synonymous with your company name.
  • Protect Your Logo - Give clear, specific guidelines to anyone who will be working with your logo and insist on approvals for any use of it. Be clear as to how the logo should be used, in what form and on what media. Let them know not to distort the mark and ensure they use enough clear space. If it is used incorrectly, fix it immediately. Your logo is the symbol of your company and it needs to be consistent.
  • Be Consistent - A logo is not something that should change regularly. It takes a lot of work to come up with a logo and it takes an even greater amount of time for customers and prospects to remember it and associate it with your brand. Changing a logo regularly will confuse your target market and cause more harm than good. Spend the time to develop a stellar logo and associated tagline now to reap the benefits in the future.

No matter your budget, design resources or the size of your business, the above tips will enable you to create a logo that will represent your organization proudly and effectively while growing your business.

Melissa Crowe is the vice president of marketing services at VistaPrint, an online supplier of graphic design and printed products to small businesses and consumers.

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