Designing a logo can be a daunting task even with the best tools in the world. How do you capture the essence of who your company is in one small brand image? On the surface, designing a logo can seem like an almost insurmountable task, but let us assure you that it doesn’t have to be. One of the things that will make the logo design process so much easier is if you can do a little prep work ahead of time.
To help you get your head around the process of designing a logo, we’ve put together a straightforward and simple checklist. Before you start the process of designing a logo, do yourself a favor and think through the following questions. It will help focus your efforts and will probably give you some good ideas too!
What is the name of your company or product?
The vast majority of logos highlight the company name or product and for most small businesses, we would certainly recommend using your company name. There are cases (like the Boston Red Sox), that a company may choose not to incorporate the name, but for most small businesses, this is a no-brainer.
If the logo is for a company, what is your primary product?
What you sell can and should influence the design of your logo. If it makes sense to tie in your industry or primary product in your logo, by all means, do so! Remember that your logo not only needs to look good to your current customers, but it needs to do the job of attracting new ones as well.
Do you have a tagline?
You wouldn’t necessarily need to include the tagline with the logo, but if you have an established tagline, it can certainly help establish the tone that you want to convey with your logo.
What is your company’s personality?
Are you laid back and fun or do you want to be known as extremely professional? You need to establish the tone that you want to convey with your logo before you design it. You also need to take into consideration your industry as well. You may very well run a fun, laid back business, but if you work in a very serious industry, your logo probably needs to be more on the straight-laced side. Think about where your company would fall on the spectrum of these descriptors:
- Friendly or Professional
- High energy or Extremely thorough
- Modern or Traditional
- Cutting edge or Established
- Fun or Serious
- Accessible or High end
What makes your company unique?
Do you know what makes your company different from everyone else in the marketplace? Your logo can be an excellent place to showcase what makes you unique. Do you have new technology that your competitors just can’t compete with? Think about a sleek, modern, techy logo. Are you one of the few family-owned and operated business left in your vertical? Give your logo a warm, down to earth feel.
Who are your target customers?
Knowing who your target customers are is of critical importance not just when designing a logo, but it’s also critical for the success of your business. Your logo design would vary widely depending on who you are targeting. For example, if your target demographic is mothers over the age of 30, you’d have a very different logo than if your target demographic was male golfers over 50. Your color scheme, your fonts and the overall look should all be designed with your ideal customer in mind.
Who are your primary competitors?
Before you design your own logo, take a hard look at what your competitors are already doing. Make some notes on what you like and dislike about each one and then use that information to help you design a better logo. Some of the best inspiration comes when you find things that you don’t like, so don’t be afraid to be critical. This step will also help ensure that you have a truly unique logo and not just another carbon copy of your closest competitor.
Are there any specific colors that you want to use?
Do you have any brand colors that are already being used? Are there colors that would help link you more closely with your industry? Which colors do you definitely want to stay away from? Forming some ideas about your logo colors before you start will help narrow down your options and cut back on the design time.
Are there any specific images that you want to use?
You definitely want to stay away from using any photo-realistic images in your logo, but it’s perfectly acceptable to incorporate shapes or images that make sense for your industry. Think trees or flowers for a landscaping company or decorated cakes for a bakery. For some companies, using an image in the logo makes a lot of sense, while for others, it may not. Just think it through before you start the design process.
Where will your logo be used?
The common-sense answer to this would be “everywhere”, but if there are some really important places (like a storefront) that your logo will be used, you may want to think about optimizing your logo for that specific space.
If you do it right and put a little time in at the start to really think about your business and your logo, it should make the process of designing a logo for you business a whole lot less daunting!