Say you’ve never done design before. Let’s say just today somebody asked you to do a logo for them, or you want to make one for yourself. So you’re wondering, What do I do to not screw it up? What should I avoid doing? These are precisely the things I wish I knew when I started.
I’m in no way a professional myself, but I’ve been in your shoes and I can recognize some basic flaws you might not realize you’re doing. My way of working is constantly evolving over time to maximize my efficiency and the speed to get from the blank page to a final logo. In this article, I’ll go over some of the biggest mistakes and mention some resources and people that helped lead to this conclusion at the end, so you can check them for yourself.
1. Do not underestimate the research
I think this is a really wide problem across those who just began doing logo design. People just design something, they don’t really think about it and sometimes they get lucky and design a good looking logo, but a logo still has to also be appropriate for a given brand. First, before you start sketching or even creating ideas, familiarize yourself with the brand, and be sure you know what it’s about by doing research. This can be done by talking to the client which is really important for good results. Doing research also helps you get the right ideas, that are on point. So please do your research or I will come to get you and send you this article.
Some questions to ask the client:
1. What do you think about your current logo? (If they have established identity already)
2. Do you think your audience recognizes your current logo? (If they have established identity already)
3. Who are your competitors?
4. How would you describe your company in one idea or one feeling?
5. Who is your target audience? (This is something you really wanna focus on, if the client is not aware of his audience, you’re gonna have to research it yourself. Creating a good logo identity is like being a matchmaker, you try to make a certain group of people fall in love with a given brand.)
6. Do you have any thoughts on color?
Checking the history of the company and its large landmarks is also helpful. You can ask other questions as well and guide your process, but usually, you wanna get the same answers.
2. Keep it simple and abstract
Stripping away unnecessary details can help a lot. You want to keep the logo simple so It’s recognizable at a glance and everyone can sketch it on paper from memory (You can try this out yourself, It’s a good way to test your logo). Most famous logos are simple, for example, Nike’s swoosh.
3. Avoid making the logo generic
One of the biggest mistakes I used to do was thinking too literally about the logo. If you look at the Nike logo, It’s a simple swoosh. I don’t think you would be able to tell what Nike does, just from this swoosh, and notice how they don’t have a logo that looks like a sports shoe or running person. The key to this is that the logo is supposed to convey the feeling of the brand, not what they literally do.
4. Don’t include small elements in the logo
This one comes back to the simple and abstract mistake people usually ignore. If you make small elements in your logo they will disappear in the small sizes and then render them useless. That’s the reason why we simplify things and it will also make your logo easier to remember. A logo is not an illustration and there’s no reason for adding realistic details or detailed brush strokes on it, for example. This also applies to small gaps.
5. Don’t forget about making the logo legible first
As much as replacing letters or editing them seems like a good idea, they have to be legible first in order to not confuse other people and be usable. The example below can be read as “ANKO”, but in fact, It’s supposed to be “Danko” with a “clever spin”. If you‘re going to make something like this, don’t sacrifice legibility for style.
6. Don’t make your logo cluttered
Give the logo some space to breathe and the ability to shine. Negative space in the logo is important and if you make it too overwhelming, the viewer will end up confused and will really have to think about it which nobody has time for. The example below shows a cluttered and too illustrative logo.
To avoid logos being too close to other design elements and keep them tidy on the outside. I think the key to this is to use constant things, like the metrics of the logo itself that don’t change compared to specific values to create and define a negative space, so the logo always has space to breathe.
7. Be careful about effects on logos
With effects such as drop shadows, glows, etc. be cautious and make sure you don’t overuse them. Effects should be invented with the logo itself if they’re going to be used and not be slapped on top of the logo just to make it look good. As I’ve mentioned before, details are not ideal for logo design. If you decide to add effects, I would advise you to be careful with gradients as well because people mess up the color on them all the time.
A good logo is Simple, Distinctive, and Appropriate for the brand. Avoid complicating logos too much. Understand the rules before you break them to create new innovative designs. Do not forget to do research and talk to the client. You’re doing the logo for him, not for yourself (But also be sure that your work has a certain quality because your work will be in your portfolio as well.)
Thanks for reading the article and I hope you’ve learned something!
If you’re confused or have some questions, hit me up on discord ThatOneSimon#9758
Additional resources for Logo Design:
Aaron Draplin courses on skillshare (2 months free) -https://www.skillshare.com/profile/Aaron-Draplin/6666857
Logo Lab - https://logolab.app/home
The Futur Academy -https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqHuGF2axS8Yf89r1tUVS_A
Our mission is to teach 1 billion people how to make a living doing what they love. To stay up to date, hit the "bell"…
Logo design course from a real professional in the industry -https://www.domestika.org/en/courses/1049-logo-design-from-concept-to-presentation