The increasing number of companies and brands within a single niche has lead to the need to stand out from the crowd. This differentiation is mostly achieved through brand building. And while there are many important elements of a brand, none is as memorable as visual elements.
One of the visual elements we most often associate with some of the most popular brands are logos. Think about it – when you say McDonalds or Coca-Cola, what do you think of first? You first visualize their logos, and with them the experiences that tie you to the brand.
But what really goes into making such a memorable logo? Take a look at some of our thoughts:
1. Ask the right questions
As a designer on the road to achieving uniqueness with your creations, you first need to understand what it is your client needs. Get to know the company, the products that they create, their ideals and mission. Without this, you’ll be misguided and create something completely unsuitable.
Ask them what do they value the most, why are they here, what makes them different. You should also know their target audience and what their goals are. This way, you’ll be on the right path to creating what they need – a memorable logo that will stay relevant for a long time.
2. Make your logos appropriate
Once you gather all the information that you need, you get to start working. However, here is where you can make most of your mistakes – at the beginning. Try to be sure that you understand the brand completely before you start.
For instance, if the company you are creating a logo for makes toys, it would be wrong to create a classy, simple, black and white logo. According to study, color increases the recognition of brand by 80%. On its own, it might be perfect but you need to put it into context of that company and their most important values.
Also, think about each element of your logo – font, text, colors, symbols etc. Sara Cornel, a designer at Australian help, continues, “For example, a frilly, playful font would not suit an auto mechanic shop but it would work perfectly for a clothing store or a florist company.”
3. Symbols are not essential
Even though it’s common to have symbols (aka: “marks”) in logos, there are examples that show otherwise. If the company’s name is unique, there is no need for an additional symbol – just have a look at Google, Shelter, Kleenex, or Mobil. These symbol-less logos are referred to as “logotypes”.Your design can be as simple as lifting a letter from the name, using a letter that can be a symbol or insinuate what the brand is about etc. You could also add symbols as a secondary element, with the brand name as primary (ex: Amazon).
4. Understand the meaning of colors
As you start adding color to your design, you have to understand what each color means.
According to a study by Cardiff Business School, here are the meanings behind colors:
- Red is energetic, immediate, exciting. Take a look at some of the brands that utilize them and think about what they represent – Coca-Cola, Pinterest, CNN, Target, etc.
- Orange is friendly, confident and fun. Some of the brands that use it in their logos are Blogger, Hooters, Nickelodeon, Nike, etc.
- Yellow is happy, optimistic and youthful. Brands that use it are McDonald’s, Best Buy, UK Writings, etc.
- Blue is symbolic of trust and loyalty. It’s no wonder that companies like PayPal, American Express, Facebook and Academized use it as their color.
- Green portrays fresh, healthy and growth, so it’s no wonder that Animal Planet, StarBucks, Whole Foods etc. use it.
- Purple is creative, luxurious and wise so brands like Curves, Hallmark and Sci-Fi use it.
- Black is rich, authoritative and powerful. Used by brands such as Wikipedia, Nike, Adidas, and WWF (World Wildlife Fund).
More on the psychology of color here.
5. Try being witty
Everyone loves a logo that makes them smile. Look at Amazon for example, and their arrow which mimics a smile while pointing from a to z. While this style of logo may be difficult to create and may not be appropriate for every company, when done well witty or clever logos draw much attention.While wit in a logo is great, humor can be a bit more tricky to implement and can easily make a company or brand come across as unprofessional. It’s probably best to leave the humor for tv commercials / ads (ex: Geico), and let the logo simply act as an identifier. That doesn’t mean a logo needs to always be serious, just use caution.
6. Strive to be unique
Being unique gives your clients an opportunity to stand apart from the crowd. For instance, if you notice that a majority of designers use a similar font, try to go for something more unusual or even more traditional, whatever suits your client more. Sometimes it takes a brave client to stand out and try something new, but if you present it in a good way, you’ll improve your chance at client satisfaction and memorable design.
7. Work in black and white, add color later
It’s best to start working in black and white with logo creation. This will allow you focus on the basics. A bad idea isn’t going to be improved by color – it can only make it worse. Wait near the end to pick a color palate. It’s the lines, the shapes and ideas that matter.
8. Use white space to your advantage
White space elevates the message and makes it more powerful. Think about WWF (World Wildlife Fund) or the brilliant subtle white arrow hidden in the FedEx logo. Figure out ways to use negative space whenever possible to improve your logo.
9. Always have a sketch pad on you
Just like writers should always have a notebook on them, designers should always have a sketchpad. A simple reason for this is that you don’t need a screen between you and your work. This is a more immediate way to create and it’s available whenever you need it.
Over To You
These have been some of our thoughts on creating memorable logos. While there are no set rules for logo creation, there’s a reason why the best designers in the world apply these tips to their work process. As always, listen to your own designer sense of what works and not.