A logo is a graphic symbol that serves to represent a brand and help identify it. A logo creates visual recognition, so any small business needs it for marketing and promotion.
There are many design options, cheap or expensive. Even if you order a logo from a top-notch agency, there’s no guarantee that the product you get will work as expected.
So, how can you know what kind of a logo you need for your business?
To answer that question, I suggest that we think of a logo as a strategic tool. A good one will serve the major needs of your business:
Now let’s look at the basic types of logos.
1. Lettermarks are the logos that consist of letters or abbreviations only.
2. Wordmarks are very similar to lettermarks, but they include the entire company name.
3. Pictorial logos may feature a recognizable drawing or sketch that identifies the brand. So, in this type of logos, typography is replaced with icons or symbols.
4. Abstract logos feature abstract forms instead of more understandable drawings.
5. Mascots are specific characters (peoples, animals, or fictional creatures) that can be used in a logo.
6. Emblems are the logos where you see text inside a symbol.
7. A combined logo is a compromise between the different types. In fact, most popular logos are combinations of different styles.
Now that you know the basic types of logo designs, think about the best fit for your business. It’s easier to understand what brand mark a company needs if you focus on the main functions of a logo.
What are they?
Every time someone sees your brand mark, the name of your company should pop up in their heads. This is the main purpose of a logo pack – to make the brand memorable.
People think in stories. We also need visual representations to form those stories in our minds.
This is exactly why a logo and visual brand identity tools are so effective for creating brand recognition.
What kind of a logo will work best?
First of all, you need a logo that your target audience will remember in a positive way. Shocking and humorous logos may get remembered easily but they can create a negative image for your brand.
Your logo has to be original and enough to be stored separately in people’s brains and gain emotional meaning. Unique logos will be retrieved back into consciousness later through a process called iconic memory.
It’s better to opt for something smart, simple, and with a memorable twist to it. A twist is a small detail that captures people’s attention. Think of Apple’s bitten apple and the Evernote’s folded edge of an elephant. Without these details, the logos wouldn’t have been remembered so well by everyone.
Image source: Yondr Studio
The design you choose should be scalable and look good on any merch – everywhere you fancy to put your logo.
Some designs may look differently on digital pages and on t-shirts, for example.
A mascot may not be suitable for all your brand materials, just imagine it on a business card.
So, you may have to think about adding text or brand name to it to create a combined logo.
As I already mentioned, the logo should be distinct and simple. It will catch attention and be easily remembered. A highly detailed logo may be hard to see and distinguish in a smaller size. Remember that you may need to fit your logo on zippers, pens, or stickers. It should be easily adaptable without increasing costs or sacrificing beauty.
Also, you need a logo that can be perceived quickly while scrolling a web page. That’s why simple and straightforward logos usually work best.
If your business has a short name, wordmark logo will be the best option. You will have your brand name spread out and remembered. You can use a letter mark logo to simplify a long brand name that would otherwise be hard to store and recall.
A logo doesn’t have to explain the type of business a company does or what kind of products it makes – that would be too simplistic.
What a logo will and should do is create an emotional response. It will also form a very general impression of the brand values.
For instance, a car repair network does not have to have tires or instruments in the logo.
They should go for any other design that conveys reliability and expertise.
Also, think about your brand voice. The style of logo you choose, be it a vintage logo or a modern one, will affect the message your customer receives. Experts say that smart logos work better than simply beautiful because the impression they create is more deep and engaging.
An emblem logo is something that has a very distinct brand voice and creates a powerful impression. Just think about it: emblems and vintage logo designs are equally popular with public institutions and food brands. Why is it so? Because emblems make you think of traditional origins, be it sources of power for an institution, or recipes of beer or coffee beverages.
The problem with emblems is that they shouldn’t contain many small details because you would need to reproduce that logo in different sizes.
Simplicity wins again.
If you are just starting out with your brand, a pictorial mark alone may not be the best option for a logo.
Use them in combination with text to communicate graphically some idea, emotion, or message about your products.
A pictorial mark would be a perfect fit for an international company or the business that plans multinational expansion. It allows transcending the language barriers. If your business name cannot be translated nicely into some languages, choose a pictorial mark instead of an emblem.
Your small business may grow into something bigger or transform completely with time.
So, its logo should follow along with this process. If you can imagine making major changes into your business model, don’t use a straightforward pictorial logo.
Just imagine a pizza-logo for a pizzeria that changed into a cafe serving coffee and cake.
An abstract logo or a wordmark would be a much safer option.
Small businesses, need to spread the news about their existence. However, they usually don’t have marketing budgets enough to cover everyone, precise targeting should be employed.
That’s why a good logo will be the one that makes the brand name known to the people who will become customers.
For instance, if you want to address children or families with kids, you might choose a mascot logo. You could use this mascot later to inspire your social media strategy.
In the example below, one can see an owl mascot or reel tape, and the brand name below. This is an awesome example of a combined logo that speaks to the young creative audience.
Now that we have explored the main aims and characteristics of a logo, let’s talk about bad logos and how you can identify one.
What are the signs that the logo you’ve picked doesn’t fit your small business?
Most logos do feature text, so you will need to choose the right typeface. Sans serifs are considered the most appropriate for a logo, but you could get a little creative here.
Just make sure that your logo remains readable even when minimized.
Also, a font that is too funny, like Cruz fonts or Comic Sans, shouldn’t be used for a logo. Don’t go for generic types like Arial if you don’t want your logo to look cheap.
Custom types are the best options for a logo, and they can be really affordable if you get them from an online marketplace.
You can play with the weight of your types to achieve certain effects. Heavy fonts may add a bold feeling to your logo, and thinner fonts will look more elegant and subtler. But remember that you need to find a balance between the legibility and the design vision. A font that is patchy or hardly visible will look broken if minimized.
If you’re using more than one font in a logo, don’t forget about font hierarchy. Using two similar fonts together will confuse viewers and make the logo less readable. It’s always better to use contrasting fonts and highlight the most important elements of a logo with a larger font size.
Your logo should say something about your brand but this message doesn’t have to be literal. For instance, a photograph’s logo doesn’t have to include a camera because that would be too obvious and one-sided.
Adding a symbol that represents your industry to a logo would be great, but you should go for more subtle associations. People remember logos that made them think a little, but not too much. While your logo should be easily perceivable on the go or while scrolling, its general idea should not be a cliché.
With very few exceptions, successful brands prefer logos that stand out. Using all pastels may make your logo invisible to people, especially if placed near other logos on a web page.
When choosing colors, pay attention to their basic meaning, make them consistent across all your brand visuals. And don’t forget about the color hierarchy! If you are using several hues in a logo, make sure the most important elements of the logo are highlighted with color.
The aim of the logo is to be remembered by your future customers and motivate action. Therefore, you should focus on the symbols and styles that speak exactly to these people, not to you or the designer.
What’s also important, the style of the logo should be easily associated with the industry you are in. It doesn’t do good if a logo looks too provocative or inappropriate to the sphere of your business.
Or both, as it often happens with bad logos.
If a person needs more than a second to perceive your logo and understand the main idea behind it, you are doing it wrong.
Also, don’t use photos in your logo. It will make the design hard to reproduce and destroy the entire idea of a symbolic mark.
Too much or too little spacing can make the logo unreadable, bad kerning can destroy letterforms and the entire design too.
Human perception is wired to seek symmetry, so an unbalanced logo would be unpleasant to look at.
Many inexperienced designers make the mistake of filling the whole space of a logo with elements. Make sure your logo has to leave enough negative space. Make sure your logo design is not cluttered. Smart use of negative space makes a logo more palatable and easier to perceive.
If you are using the double entendre like in the example below, make sure it is easily perceivable. A double entendre logo that is too complicated or chaotic will do violence to people’s eyes and fail to accomplish anything.
Have you thought about the main values of your brand, its key features? If not, take a quick quiz below.
You need to know some very basic things:
Recently, there has been a lot of talking about logo having either passive or active vibes to them.
Of course, any brand would prefer to be associated with action and dynamism. This is mainly because dynamic designs can inspire customers to go get that product or service right away.
Look at the evolution of the Twitter logo over the years:
Much has been written on the importance of color and shape in logo design.
We’ve already mentioned some aspects like the importance of balance, symmetry, and hierarchy.
Let’s now look at the associations that people often have when they see the most commonly used shapes in logo design.
|Circles||Circles are the most commonly used shapes in logo design and rightly so. These shapes are associated with unity, completeness, security, love, and friendship.|
It’s interesting that open circles will be associated with empty spaces, depth, and magic.
|Rings||Rings will bring into our minds weddings, luxury, patience, stability, and commitment.|
|Lines and edges||More edgy and straightforward geometry is associated with masculinity, stability, clarity, science, technology, and strength.|
Horizontal lines are more about friendship, unity, and tranquility.
Vertical lines can convey aggression, power, achievement.
|Rectangles||Rectangles look stable and familiar to us. They communicate peace, order, and trust.|
|Triangles||Also masculine, triangles make us think about law, religion, intent, achievement, focus.|
|Spirals||Spirals bring into mind creativity, revival, rhythm, spirituality, development, eternity|
The success of a logo design very much depends on the conscious and subconscious responses it gets from people.
For many years already psychologist and marketologists have been studying colors. They explored the associations customers have with certain logos, packaging, or advertising materials.
Knowing color symbolism can help you choose a logo that supports your marketing vision.
|Green||Green is intuitively understood as a color representing growth, renewal, wealth, and nature. At the same time, green will be associated with jealousy, greed, and being new in the field.|
The meaning of this color in your logo will depend on how you use it. For instance, adding a few dark green elements may create the impression of stability and resourcefulness. Lighter hues will represent cleanness and fertility.
|Orange||Orange represents warmth, creativity, and cheer. It is one of the most engaging colors, though less associated with violence and warfare.|
When we see orange elements in a design, we can get energized and even a little more hungry. Orange is also the color of youth and change.
|Yellow||This is the color of hope, sunshine, and well-being. In some cultures, though, yellow can be associated with cowardice. Designs with too much yellow can also make people distracted an irritable.|
But if you add a few yellow accents to your logo, it may make your audience more focused, optimistic and ready to get in touch with your brand.
|Red||The red color is the hottest one of all. It excites us and can even raise blood pressure and boost metabolism if you get exposed to it for a long time.|
Red is associated with passion, vitality, importance, sexuality, romance, etc. This color is preferred by extroverts and is connected to masculinity and dominance.
It is not a coincidence that most call-to-action buttons are red. This color can catch attention and spur action better than any other.
|Blue||This color has very different emotional implications. It can be associated with calmness and professionalism, also mystery, intuition, and imagination.|
Blue is the color of the sky, the endless ocean, but at the same time, it’s one of the most popular corporate colors.
If you get bright with this color, it will be refreshing, a lighter blue will have a calming effect. Too much blue in a logo may create a depressing impression on your audience while small.
|Purple||Purple is a royal, delicate and luxurious color. It is the color of all creatives and elegance. Light purple is more playful and romantic, and deep purple is sophisticated and luxurious.|
If you want to add a sense of creativeness or nobility to your brand image, add purple to your logo.
|Black||Black is both the most formal and the deepest color out there. Depending on the context, it may show prestige, power, and mystery, or mourning, death, and negativity.|
In logo designs, black is often combined with brighter hues to create a balanced impression. Black and dark grey may serve as an awesome neutral base in a logo, leaving enough space to improvise with other colors.
|White||White is associated with cleanness, clarity, new beginnings, etc. It is also the color of spirituality and weddings.|
In some spheres, like medicine or catering, white is the staple color. The simplicity and neutrality of white make it indispensable for most logo designs.
|Pink||Just like red, pink represents love and romance. It is more playful and girly than red and also more tender. Pastel pink hues represent sensitiveness and naiveté. Deeper pinks symbolize health and youth.|
|Brown||This is the color of stability, relaxation, and earth. This color communicates natural wealth, practicality, and responsibility. Adding brown to your logo would mean creating a wholesome and relaxed impression.|
You can hire a design agency if your business can afford it.
You can also pay a freelance designer for making a logo psd for you.
Or you can check out the huge logo collection above and choose the one that will fit your business needs at a very affordable price.
It’s all up to you!