How To Design Your First Logo
One of my favorite parts of starting up a business is designing the logo. True, I may be a bit partial considering my profession, but building a brand identity is a lot of fun. There are a few steps you might not be aware of when designing a brand identity and I am here to show you some of those. But don’t get too hung up on the design of your first logo because it won’t be your last logo. Logos and brand identities change over time. I mean, you don’t wear the same clothes and have the same hairstyle you had ten years ago, do you? So, let’s dive in and start talking about your first logo and how to get it.
Exploring Your Brand
When I work with a client I like to tell them to think of their brand like a person. How would your brand act around people? How would it dress? Where would your brand eat? Thinking of your brand like a person helps to start thinking of your brand values.
What does what do brand values mean to design? For an example lets imagine you ran a toy company. You might value playfulness, curiosity, and fun. So you might use bright colors and large rounded fonts. It wouldn’t suit a toy company to have an aggressive logo. Something you might find on the side of a sports drink or on the poster for a boxing match. Take some time to think about your companies values and get specific. Do this and you will have a solid foundation to design the face of an empire.
Exploring Your Competitors
Now that you have a list of values to build your brand upon, it’s time to start looking at your competitors. By looking at your competition’s logos you can gain a lot of information. You can see how they transformed their values into their logo. You also might notice a lot of ways you can stand out. Diverging from what other logos look like can set you apart and make your brand memorable. Remember, stay within your brand’s values with whatever designs you start considering.
Ok, go google “Logos”. Wait! Not yet. Finish reading this, then go Google “Logos”. Now switch over to an image only search, grab your notebook, and start browsing. Look at logos in your brand, look at logos in brands that have nothing to do with your business. Look at old brands from the early 20th century, and some modern ones. And take notes, plenty of notes.
Your goal when doing all this inspiration research is to get an idea of elements you like and the ones you don’t. Think about colors and combinations of colors. Do you like the idea of having just a symbol or a symbol with a wordmark? Maybe a wordmark by itself represents you more. Look at the use of fonts and embellishments. Modern vs. traditional. All this will help you during the design process and the more the better.
Getting Your Logo Done
Now that you have all your values, notes, and inspiration together, it’s time to design. But there are many routes to a finished logo. Here are a few different routes you could take. Going in order of cost let’s start with:
- Self-Designing – The most affordable person to design your logo may be you. I mean, you are already on the payroll. Start by working with sketches and then take those sketches and load them into software, like Adobe Illustrator. If this isn’t available take a look at Inkscape, free vector-based design software. Cost: Free
- Ask-a-friend – It’s likely you might know a friend or a relative that has an artistic background. Asking them to help design your logo might be a good option. I would still sketch some stuff out for reference. But artistic liberties might return something you’re not the biggest fan of. Cost: Probably Free
- Purchase Pre-made – If you take a quick poke online you can find dozens of websites that sell logos. They have loads of premade designs you can purchase at a fee. On the plus side, this gets things done quickly. On the negative, you might share a logo with another brand and not get exactly what you want. Cost: $250+
- Quick Service Logo – There are services out there where you can pay for a competitive design. For a few hundred dollars you get a dozen or so finished logos from designers to choose from. Think of this like logo blood sport. But often you’re in a restricted relationship with the designer. This will keep you from getting good results again. Cost: $300+
- Hire A Designer – While the most expensive option, hiring a designer can be beneficial for many reasons. Not only do you get the best design possible, but you get to build a relationship with a professional. This will be a relationship that you will surely need in the future, no matter your industry. Cost: $400+
While this guide didn’t go over anything design specific, having a design plan will practically get a logo designed on its own. And even if you don’t like every single aspect of the logo you now have in hand keep in mind that it’s only your first logo. Having an ever evolving brand is important. It will keep you fresh and current to your customers. I personally recommend evaluating your brand and style every 2-5 years.
And of course, if you’re looking for a professional designer to design your first logo, give us a call.