How to Design a Brand New Logo in 7 Simple Steps

So, you’ve found a way to turn your passion into a profitable business-- way to go!

As you begin to invest time in developing your business plan, securing the needed capital, and finding the perfect name for your new company, it dawns on you – starting a business is so much more than just filing papers with the business bureau.

When you open a new business, you’re taking the very first steps in developing a new brand.

Everything you do, say, and, display as part of your new business will tell your prospects more about your company’s identity. It’s vital to ensure from the beginning that you present a cohesive and clear statement regarding your company’s message.

As humans we have our faces, styles, and manners of living to show the world who we are. One of the strongest ways you’ll project the message of your company is through its logo. Logos are unique identifiers for companies and their branding. More than just something to put on a business card or letterhead, your new logo is an expression of everything your company stands for.

So, where do you even begin to design a logo? Here! We’ve broken down the 7 key steps (with a few tips thrown in) you’ll need to take to create a logo that not only you love, but that your prospects will too!

1) Start With the Story

The most fundamental reason the majority of companies are created is to make money. In order to make a profitable business, you need to be able to sell yourself just as well, if not better than the product or service you offer. Marketers today will tell you that buyers connect much more strongly to stories than they do to facts. What does this mean to you? It means that there needs to be some soul in your logo.

Before you even think about what this logo will look like, take some serious time asking yourself what the story behind your company is. When we look at Coca-Cola, we don’t see high fructose corn syrup with caramel coloring, we see polar bears and Santa Claus. Step outside of WHAT your company does and answer WHY you do it. That “why” is your story, own it!

2) Brainstorm & Sketch Concepts

Now that you have your story, it’s time to take it from words to a visual representation. Grab a dictionary, if you still own one and find five to ten words that describe not only what you do, but why. Each of these words can fit like pieces in a puzzle and help guide you to refining a concept.

Armed with your why and a few keywords for direction grab a pencil and paper and start sketching every idea that comes into your head. Allow each new concept to evolve on it’s own. Don’t get frustrated if the first few aren’t right. Keep at it!

As you’re sketching the concepts for your logo, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Keep the shape simple. If you can sketch the symbolic components in 7 seconds or less you are in good shape. You should absolutely avoid any popular clip-art artwork or generic, literal symbols like a globe, star or anything identifiable. The more creative here the better because your shape is what your consumers will initially remember the most. So be original.
  2. Colors can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. You need to include color with your logo, but you have to be selective on which colors you use. Be mindful of current color trends already being used today and in your target market. Don’t choose more than 3 colors. Remember that black and white do not count as colors. Choose a color, or colors that will make you stand out from your competition. But, please for the love of marketing, don’t use the rainbow!

3) Test Your Top Sketches

Once you’ve got a handful of different ideas put onto paper, take a step back and pick the top three concepts. Now take them out and share them with your friends, family members, and a trusted advisor. Be prepared for honest feedback and don’t take any negative comments personally. Believe us, you’d want your best friend telling you a design isn’t great over a stranger any day. Use their feedback and select one final concept to develop into a design.

Congratulations, you’re well on your way to having an awesome logo! Once you’ve finalized the concept, it’s time to get technical and turn your paper drawing into a usable digital format.

4) Develop Logo Layout

Bringing your concept to life in a digital design requires a bit of technical direction. One of the most important things to get right is the layout. Make sure that all of your text and symbolic shapes are perfectly spaced out and lined up.

Your logo doesn’t have to be symmetrical, but the spacing does need to make sense. Chances are you will come across different situations when you will need a vertical along with a horizontal variation for your logo. Keep in mind how you can re-purpose your logo as you’re creating it.

5) Pick Versatile Color Options

Eventually your logo will be used on a black or colored background. Always be sure to have logo color options for a dark background as well as for a light one. That might mean only have to changing the color of your font or in some cases you may have to change the color of your entire logo.

Create one of each option to make sure you’re prepared when ordering promotional products in the future. T-shirts, stickers, notepads, and coffee mugs are just a few of the many items that you’ll have to have different color variations of your logo for.

6) Choose a Font

Believe it or not, the font choice can say a lot about your business. You could choose a font to either be serif (with feet) or sans serif (no feet), also known as classic or modern.

Stay away from fonts that are generic and on every computer out there. Some examples of generic fonts are Times New Roman, Lucida Handwriting, and Comic Sans. Those fonts will only work against you and your company by making you less memorable.

7) Ensure Scalability

Logos are meant to represent your company on multiple platforms in print, online and throughout social media. You want a logo that can be blown up extremely large for a billboard and then scaled down very small for a pen. It’s important that regardless of the size, that every part of your logo is legible.

Whew, still with us? We know this might seem a little overwhelming, but take it slow and don’t rush yourself. It’s better to follow the process through to completion and end with a remarkable beginning of a brand then to have to start over a few months later. Once you’ve completed your logo, how can you tell if you scored a winner? Easy: use our Logo Grader to assess the sustainability and effectiveness of your new logo!

Co-authored by: Rachel Begg, Julie Hruska, and Britt Schwartz

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