There is a big difference between understanding how to maximize your logo and simply having a logo for your business. There are so many tools available today that make instant logos at the click of a button. Many are free or so low cost that the barrier of entry is non-existent. Typically these platforms do their best to guide users toward effective graphic design standards, but that certainly doesn’t stop anyone from making really awful design decisions.
If you are starting your business on a budget and prefer these “click and go” logo generator options, I have a list at the end of the article, and you can just jump ahead. However, if you want your logo to really work for you, I encourage you to read the article first. Read on and get a professional logo designer’s guidance before you jump into the deep end.
What Makes a Great Logo?
The subject of great logos fills books and 4-year degree programs, so it is a bit presumptive to think that I could share everything that makes a logo great in a couple of paragraphs – and it is equally presumptive to think that just because we have free software that does a lot of the work for us that we can suddenly do what professional designers do. All the same, it is possible to create a solid and effective logo when you understand the basic principles. Great logos have the following key attributes:
It captures the personality of the organization
It uses easy-to-read fonts that are not so trendy they become outdated quickly
Its detail does not get lost when the size of the logo is reduced
It works in one color as well as in full-color
It is memorable
It is unique in its market
Now let’s look at each one of these briefly.
Your Logo Captures your Personality
Brands have personalities, just like people do. There are six distinct brand personalities, and within each one there are opportunities to express humor, inspiration, nostalgia, and much more. I strongly suggest that you take my Brand Personality Quiz to determine what your brand personality is and see which brands you are most aligned with. Are you bold and powerful? Minimalist and modern? Warm and natural? Romantic and kind? Your logo is often one of the first impressions customers get from your brand. It matters that it is consistent with the experience you create.
Your Logo Font Is Legible and Built to Last
Logos do not need to be a single font, but you do want to limit it to two. Font pairing is an art form itself, but there are many examples of excellent font duos and font pairings available with a simple Google search. A great resource for affordable fonts offered in pairs is Creative Market. The right font choice can elevate your logo out of the ordinary, and if you use open source software like Canva, you can upload your logo fonts with a paid version.
Make sure whatever fonts you use are not so full of flourish that they are difficult to read. I once saw a logo that used a script font for three letters of an acronym. The effect was underwhelming and challenging to read.
Additionally, trendy fonts can be their own trap, since font trends are like clothing styles. They come and go quite rapidly. This is fine for social media and promotional materials that also have a limited lifespan, but not when it comes to your logo.
Your Logo Holds Up To A Variety of Uses
When it comes to scaling or using your logo in a single color, you should assume you will want your logo on promotional items, embroidered or seen against a busy photo or video. When you design your logo, be sure to look at it in one color, in a square format, horizontal format and as small as 1 inch. Just because it looks good on your computer screen in full color on a white background, don’t assume that’s the only way you will use it.
Be certain you have your logo in a variety of formats. You will want it as an EPS, PDF and PNG at a minimum. This ensures you can edit it, and scale it to any size you need for a wide array of uses.
Your Logo Is Memorable
If your logo has an icon associated with it, don’t assume it needs to be literal in representing Our brains are wired to interpret emotional, non-verbal, symbolic cues from colors, shapes and symbols. For example, a coffee concept could use a cup, a coffee bean, or, as with coffee giant, Starbucks, the Minerva. Often the choice to create an icon that breaks with literal iconography makes your logo more memorable.
You Logo Is Unique In Your Market
Today, with the unprecedented access to logo generator software and stock icons, being unique has never been more challenging. Even if you pay for a logo designer, nearly 775,000 businesses opened in the US in 2019. That number has been steadily increasing every year. It is harder than ever to be entirely original.
If you are able, however, I do recommend trademarking your logo. This would be extremely difficult if you are using automated logo generator software, due to the limited number of combinations they offer. However, there are real dangers to your brand if you don’t trademark.
Once you have a logo, and begin advertising your product with your logo, your logo is technically trademarked in the eyes of the law. However, common law trademark rights are geographically limited, and difficult to enforce. As a result, you are leaving yourself nominally exposed to litigation, should someone attempt to claim the territory your logo occupies for the growth of their own business.
Low/No Cost Resources for Logo Design
If you don’t have the financial resources at present to invest in a professional logo, or your prefer to DIY for other reasons, here are some of the top logo design resources:
Wix – if you are designing your own website, why not get a logo to go with it. This is great for start-ups operating on a dime.
Canva – the social media graphic platform also has a large library of icons and fonts for customizable logo design
VistaPrint – the low-cost leader in business premium items and stationery has a number of icon and font combinations available
FreeLogoDesign – it is what it says. The symbols and fonts are limited, but it provides a workable solution.
LogoDesign – this site asks your industry as well as the company name, which sounds great, but then it completely ignores your information. Nonetheless, it offers a large number of logo options.
Fiverr – hire a designer at low rates, most of whom are international.
CreativeMarket – enter your type of business and choose from very well-designed logos. You will need design software to edit and customize, such as Adobe Illustrator.
UCraft – this site is excellent for creating the logos, however it only provides two file options, SVG or PNG.
DesignHill – This site does a great job of assessing your font preferences and color preferences (along with the emotional meaning associated with the colors) – but its icon sets are very limiting.
Whatever route you take, now you know what to look for, and can get the best logo option for your business in your price range.