For most business owners, the process of creating a corporate logo is vague and mysterious.
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You contact a competent logo designer, he asks you a few questions, does his thing and suddenly a professional looking logo magically appears in your inbox.
But in the world of logos ignorance is far from blissful. Without a basic understanding of the logo design process you can't adequately communicate your thoughts to the logo designer and your logo will fall short of its potential.
Right out of the gate you should know that there are basically three kinds of logos: (1) Font-based logos (think Ford), (2) literal illustrations (think Major League Baseball) and (3) abstract graphics (think Nike). The first step in the process is to decide what kind of logo is right for your business. Of the three, abstract graphics are the least effective for small businesses because it takes a combination of time and money – lots of it – to connect an abstract logo to your business identity.
Here's what the rest of the logo design process looks like . . .
- Survey the landscape. Take a look at other logos to get the creative juices flowing. In addition to checking out the competition, take a few minutes to explore company logos in unrelated industries as a way of generating ideas for your own logo design.
- Nail down your messaging. What is the one thing you want your logo to say to the world? The best logos tell a story, and until you know what your story is you aren't ready to move forward with the design process.
- Think form and function. Aesthetics and function are both important parts of the design process. If your logo gets the point across but lacks appeal, it will blend into the background. On the other hand, if your logo looks great but doesn't say anything about your business it won't be much use to you. Sharp and focused beats plain and confusing every time.
- Consider colors. Black and white logos won't capture the attention of today's image savvy consumers. However, too many colors can create problems when it comes to printing and coordinating your logo with other materials. As a rule of thumb, don't use more than three colors (including black) in your logo.
- Protect your final product. A customized company logo is a thing of beauty and value. As such, it needs to have trademark protection. If you are unfamiliar with the trademark process contact your attorney or speak with your logo design company.