Everything you ever heard about the importance of a logo is true. Yet, time and time again entrepreneurs repeatedly ask for ‘friends’ to design their logo. Sometimes the only pre-requisite the business owner requires is that they work on Mac computers!

To put the importance of the company logo into perspective, think about this: your logo is literally the image that will ‘live’ everywhere. It is the first image anyone will see, even before they read what your company does or the services offered. Creating a logo that both accurately represents your company brand and works across the vast majority of mediums takes a professional eye, attention to detail, a working knowledge of the various platforms and dedication to the process.

Overview of how to design a logo for your company’s brand

  1. Be sure to accurately reflect your company brand

    When working with clients, we always begin by asking, “What do you want your customers to feel when they see your logo?” Corporate and sleek or loose and fun? Relaxed or rigid? Youthful or formal? Modern or stoic? Answering these questions will help to narrow your options and further define your brand. Before starting the logo design process you should have already defined your company brand. Read our post on designing your company brand to learn more about this process.

  2. Review what others have done

    A great starting point is to look at other brands and pick out logos you like and, even more importantly, ones you don’t like. By reviewing these logos you will begin the path of determining your personal aesthetic. Start with the logos you are most drawn to and follow that with the ones you despise. Create a file folder on your desktop and save your favorites/least favorites for later review.To find logo samples, don’t just look at the more famous or well-known logos like Nike or McDonalds. Do a full Google image search. Start by searching within your field and get an idea of what your competitors are doing. Then expand your search – choose another industry at random. The product or type of service is irrelevant for the research you are doing. At this point, you’re just defining your aesthetic. When you’re done, you should have at least 20 logos saved to your examples folder.Take a moment to review the logos. Start making notes about each one. Write down what you do and don’t like. Look at the color, font, and images. Use the file you created as a guide. If you are hiring a design agency, bring your file and share your notes with the agency. It will serve as a great guide for the logo development (and your graphic designer will love you for providing her with the resources to create your perfect logo!)

  3. Incorporate font and imagery

    When thinking about how to design a logo for your brand, remember that there are an infinite number of font and color options out there. Some options will be immediately ruled out based on your company branding directive. The file you created in Step 2 can help you answer this question:

    In reviewing the logos you like, did those logos have images, or were they font-only?

    You will have to decide if you want to have a font only logo or incorporate an image. If you decide to add an image, you will need to seek out various image options. Look at things like Google’s image search and investigate several stock photography image sites (iStock is our personal favorite). Right now, you’re going to work to amass a huge selection of images you can clearly imagine representing your company. Don’t be too picky – think of it more like brainstorming for pictures.

    When choosing an image, take a moment to search and make sure it isn’t being overused. You don’t want to settle on an image and, once complete, start seeing it everywhere you look. It’s hard to be unique if there are countless entities using the same picture.

    Example of overused stock images

    These faceless “cartoon people” are very commonly used to help illustrate an idea. While they serve that purpose well, we recommend NOT including one in your logo because they’ve been used a thousand other times. Your brand will lose much of it’s uniqueness.

    You’ll need to complete a similar process for font choices. I recommend booting up your favorite image or text editor, typing out your company name a bunch of times, and applying different fonts to each one. You should end up with a document full of font choices. Pick the one you feel matches your brand and start pairing it with the images you’ve chosen.

    How to design a logo - choosing a font

    Your font choices document should look like this. Go through your entire list of fonts. Delete the ones you hate and keep the versions you like.

    Once you settle on a font and image, be sure to buy both the font and image. In the case of the image, buy the largest file size available. Sure, your immediate needs may only be your Facebook page where you can get away with purchasing the smallest file size, but if you are in this business for the long haul, you will need to have a larger file size for printed materials. Save yourself the hassle of re-buying the same image and get the larger size now.

    I also recommend buying the extended license for your image. This will allow you to use the image as much as you want and for anything you need. If you are working with a marketing and design agency, they will show you several options of your image incorporated into the logo concepts presented. If you have hired a design agency, be sure that they provide you with a disk that includes these original artwork files (both fonts and images). Check out our post on company logo formats to understand what you need to ask for from your designer or agency.

  4. Choose your colors wisely

    Color is hugely important. Make sure you actually like the colors you choose. Don’t choose them only because you think it will appeal to the target audience. You are going to be looking at your logo for a long, long time so be sure you love it. If you hate pink now, you’ll despise it in two years.You should select at least two colors: a primary color and an accent color. Even if the accent color is not used in the main logo, you’ll be able to apply it consistently throughout all your other marketing materials. That accent color can help tie your branding together. Plus, if you think about it, have you ever seen a one-color website? Accent colors are everywhere.

  5. Multi-platform accessibility

    Your logo needs to work across all platforms, from print to video, from website to social media – and especially on t-shirts! For example, most social media avatars don’t allow enough room for a full horizontal logo. That doesn’t mean all logos should now be squares to conform to Facebook and LinkedIn. It means that you need to think about creating different variations of your logo to look great across each and every platform.We usually create two versions of the logo: one vertical and one horizontal. If we’re managing a client’s social media, we’ll also create a “squared” logo version for their profile image. If done correctly, most folks won’t even notice that the logos are different.

    how to design a logo - make sure you request your logo in several size formats for different platforms

    Left: A squared logo format for social media. Right: Our official logo format

    Pro design tip: It is important to make sure your logo works not only in full-color but in a 2-color and 1-color version as well. Think about this especially if you intend to have branded t-shirts printed.

Designing a corporate logo that can withstand the test of time is always a challenge (we at iima productions see it as a fun challenge). Hopefully, your business will be successful and around for a long time. You want your logo to last just as long as your business. Once you decide on a logo and have defined your brand, you shouldn’t change it. You need to commit to the logo and the brand. You may even grow tired of the logo. Too bad. Don’t change it. You have invested a lot of time and money into growing that brand and, if you change it, most of that will be lost.

In my professional experience, when you start to get bored of your logo, it’s at that exact same time that everyone ELSE is starting to “get it.” Take the time to do it right and you’ll be happy with your branding for years to come.