A featured photo of a designer sketching a logo is used with the permission of copyright holder, Customneon.co.uk, under a Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution License.
Logo design. Love it or loathe it, this is something that almost all businesses will have to go through at some point. For some businesses, it’s a really big deal and they spend months on it. For others, it’s a quick job using a tool like Canva or something in a bid to just “get something ready.”
Whichever approach you want to take (big-budget and loads of time or just get something together quickly) here are 4 important rules for business logo design.
1. Logos are best when they reflect your brand’s identity and personality
If you’re creating a logo for a new business, there’s an argument for sitting down and working out what personality your brand has and the most important things that identify your brand before you come to look at a logo. Ideally, any logo designer will have a lot of information to hand in, to begin with like brand personality and color schemes.
For example, if your business is a fun, upbeat ice cream brand, brighter and lighter colors, and funky fonts are likely to be a better fit. But that sort of approach would be entirely inappropriate if you were a funeral provider, right? It’s an extreme example but it illustrates our point.
2. Be aware of color psychology
Lots of brands break the “rules” when it comes to color psychology. So we’re not saying that the way certain colors make people feel HAS to be a factor in whether you use them or not. But if you’re going to do that, then at least be aware you’re doing it. The nightmare scenario is getting all your branding done, all the colors and logos finalized, and maybe even some merch or signage printed, and then finding out that a color you used is making people a way you don’t want them to feel.
There’s a really great guide to color psychology here on the Platt College website. But a summary of the most important findings from there:
- Red, orange and yellow, plus their variants, are generally considered warm colors. They’re associated with positive feelings like energy, enthusiasm, and passion. BUT it’s not all positive. Red has associations with feelings of being in danger, while yellow can be associated with anger or frustration. Interestingly, orange has only positive associations and is also through to stimulate appetite
- The cool colors of blue, green, purple, and their variants are considered much more relaxed colors. Purple has no known negative psychological associations, but blue can be associated with sadness and green with envy
- The neutral colors of black, white grey-brown and beige are very often more “background” colors in logo design than the main colors. However, they each have positive and negative psychological associations. White, for example, can be associated both with purity and cold/dull
We don’t believe there are set in stone rules for color use in logo design, but would always suggest you familiarize yourself with common associations before committing to any color scheme and share them with your designer.
3. Make sure the typography is right
If your logo’s going to include letters or numbers, then the font needs to be legible from close up and from a distance as well. Not only should your choice of typography represent the personality and brand identity that we talked about earlier, but it should also be clear. Get your designer to draft logos with several different typography examples so you can check them all out.
Also checkout How can you choose a font for your logo?
4. Share your shortlist
When your designer has sent some options, don’t just share them within your company. Sometimes you can be too familiar with the project to objectively look at things. Consider sharing preliminary designs with friends, family, and acquaintances you can trust to give honest feedback.
You know what the logo is supposed to say, but someone less familiar with your organization and the design process won’t know. So you can look for their instant reaction and then also prepare some questions to ask them about how they feel about the logo, how they interpret it, and even what type of company they think yours is based on the logo.