When creating a business, one of the most important things to establish is your brand. This is the entirety of what customers and clients view the company as. The style, the atmosphere, and the first impression are all in the branding. And the most eye-catching aspect of a brand is the logo.

Designing a logo can be a difficult task, especially for the owner of the company, as there are so many possibilities to choose from. Mostly it’s just one shape, form, or letter, but some logos are complex designs involving fonts, colors, and multiple shapes.

Two things need to be established before starting to create your logo. The first is a basic idea of what your brand is, and the second is the name.

If you don’t have an idea of what you are as a brand yet, here are a few questions that can help guide you to a conclusion.

  • If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be?
  • If your desired customers were one person, what kind of person would that be?
  • What three companies would you view as your competition?
  • What are you highlighting with the logo?

If you answered these questions, you basically have an elevator pitch. Putting this basic idea together with the name should give you an idea of what the logo should look like. Everything in designing a logo should be intentional and part of the story you are telling. It’s a form of speaking with text, colors, and shapes.

Another important question people ask is whether they should hire a designer or not. A marketing specialist has a good understanding of the concept, importance, and “anatomy” of a logo, and while there are a lot of opportunities and apps that help create our own logo in the snap of a finger, hiring a professional is always the best route to take and depending on your budget, you can find the right graphic designer for your needs. A graphic designer can charge between $150 – $10K for a logo, so before you go and look for one, make sure you have a budget in mind.

Basic Principles for Logo Design

Logo design is by no means easy. There is much more to it than selecting an image and adding it to your company as a “logo.” It takes a lot of preparation, creativity, and finesse to create an effective logo. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or you’ve made a career change, there are some basic principles that every designer should be familiar with when it comes to coming up with a logo.

1. Planning

Preparation is a designer’s best friend. You want to dive deep into the brand history to gain a better understanding of what the brand values are and what it wishes to represent. From there, you want to play with different designs, fonts, images, and scales to make sure you have different options, as well as test what works best for your brand. Don’t gloss over the essential stage of brainstorming ideas, sketching rough drafts, and experimenting with different styles; it will pay off in the end.

2. Monochrome First

When creating a logo, always create a black-and-white version of the logo first. For a logo to succeed, it should stand up to the test of black-and-white. It’s very important that the appeal of a logo isn’t totally lost when viewed in monochrome. Starting in monochrome will also help you focus solely on the design and not get lost in worrying about color.

3. Keep it Simple

Sometimes simplicity works in your favor more than you think. A powerful logo has few elements but is appropriate to the brand and communicates the brand’s message effectively. Keeping things simple should apply to all elements of a logo: colors, typography, structure, and overall composition. Consumers just don’t have the capacity to remember complex logos when there are already so many around them. The simpler, the better.

When it comes to logo design, there are plenty of options to choose from. Depending on your brand and the story you want to portray, you can most commonly choose from 4 different types of logos: text, graphic, image and text, and monogram logos.

1. Text Logos

A text-based logo does not contain anything other than text in its design. It is the perfect choice for business owners and creatives going for a minimal design that makes a statement. A text logo states the company’s name or initials and uses a creative design to represent the brand.

There are a lot of advantages to using a text logo:

  • Simplicity
  • Straightforwardness
  • Easy to remember

While some people may think that a simple text logo is not nearly as effective as a logo with an image, keep in mind that some of the most popular companies in the world use a text logo, Disney and NASA are two, and here is a sample from the Coca-cola website.

Image source Coca Cola Company Logo

2. Graphic Logos

The graphic logo is what comes to mind first when someone thinks of logos. The biggest thing to consider when deciding to design a graphic logo is what image to choose. This is something that will stick with your company its entire existence, so you want to make sure it’s not too complicated and makes an instant connection between the image and the company.

The biggest advantages to using this type of logo are:

  • Creativity
  • Immediate recognition
  • Lasting impression

This type of logo is the most powerful if done correctly. Consider the logos for Apple, Twitter, and The Rolling Stones. They are universally recognizable and permanently culturally relevant.

Image source Apple Company Logo

3. Image and Text Logos

Very similar to text logos, an image, and text logo typically contain the brand or company’s name but have an added bit of creativity. The image and text can be laid out side-by-side, stacked on top of each other, or integrated together to create an effective logo. This type of logo has the advantages of both a text logo and a graphic logo. Combining the two leads to:

  • Brand reinforcement
  • Easier trademarking process

When you think of what an image and text logo looks like, consider the Burger King, Lacoste, and AppleTV logos. They have the name of the brand with an accompanying image to go with it.

Image source Burger King Company Logo

4. Monogram Logos

A monogram logo is a decorative design made up of a combination of one to three letters to create a single symbol. They are typically used to represent the initials of a person or business. This type of logo design is highly artistic and works best when the brand or company is highly known and established.

Image source Louis Vuitton Company Logo

Monogram logos are effective because they offer the following:

  • Elegance
  • Cultural relevance for abbreviations
  • Short, simple, but universal

The monogram logo is most popularly used in luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci.

The Common Thread

Even though all of these logos have their individual strengths and design processes, they all have one thing in common. When designing a logo, no matter the type, creativity is the most important factor. All of these logos require a carefully thought out plan where every part serves a purpose. The only way to achieve a great logo is to tap into your inner creativity and represent your brand in a unique but memorable way.

Logo Design Tips

While it’s best to keep a logo the same for multiple years, it’s important to remember that your decision now will not be something to carry forever, and a logo can always be redesigned. Having said that, there is still pressure on the decision because everyone knows that a company that changes its logos in drastic ways often comes off the wrong way to the audience. Looking at Starbucks, for instance, went through one drastic change but still kept the basic style and idea the same.

Photo source 1000 Logos

Mistakes to Avoid

There are a number of mistakes to avoid when designing your logo, and here are a few more common ones. Firstly, the number one mistake people make the most often is looking at a logo as a predetermined font.  Of course, in the end, there is a font being used, but as stated before, even numbers and letters are designed and treated as shapes and forms when it comes to a logo. So when “choosing a font”, make sure you choose wisely and try to take apart the font itself to represent shapes instead of a fully designed style. A great example of this is the difference between Sans and serif fonts. Serif fonts have small decorative tails or feet at the bottom, while sans serif (just as the name suggests) don’t have them.

Another big mistake is making the logo too abstract or too busy. It shouldn’t be a mystery to be solved, and it shouldn’t be too busy to take away attention from your brand. Also, a busy logo doesn’t look good when shrunken down to tiny sizes, and a logo has to be able to present in small sizes, also.

Final Thoughts

A logo is critical to brand recognition and can become iconic even in a saturated market. As you begin your company, it is worth spending some extra time to choose the perfect fit for your brand. And may even be best to hire a graphic designer. They will listen to your needs and create something spectacular and unique that suits you and your brand. A graphic designer will also know the copyright laws surrounding design and will not mimic anything already in the marketplace.

We hope you have enjoyed this article and you’re on your way to brainstorming ideas for your new company branding and logo design.

If you are interested in learning more about branding, fonts and any other related topics, please check our articles below.

Shane Barker

About The Author

Gergo Vari is the CEO of Lensa, a job search platform that uses AI to match job seekers with opportunities. He's an accomplished entrepreneur passionate about using technology to revolutionize the job search process. The Lensa logo, featuring vibrant blue color, reflects the company's commitment to helping people find meaningful work. You can find out more about Gergo's work on his LinkedIn profile.

More Related Articles

What Your Font is Saying About Your Brand & How to Choose One That Suits You

The Ultimate Guide to Branding Colors

Typography Considerations in Logo Design and Branding with ROHH Foundry

3 Stages of Branding Design with Gareth David

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Branding and Logo Design With Jacob Cass

Behind The Ultimate Branding Collection

30 Fonts For Logo Design Every Designer Should Own

Best Monogram Letter Makers for Memorable Designs

Cover photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash