Many people mistakenly believe designing a logo is one of the easier design jobs out there. Slap a couple of different fonts together, add a shape or two, and there you go!
How wrong they are.
Although a logo is a fairly small part of your website, it represents your entire company or brand, and it should convey your values, identity, ethics, and qualities. A logo is often somebody’s first impression of your company, and a quick glance at it can influence brand perception, attitude towards a product, and even purchasing decisions.
To help you dream up the perfect logo for your brand or assist you with logo design for your clients, we’ve put together seven top tips for designing a successful website logo.
1. Research, research, research
“For a logo to be successful, it has to appeal to the target audience. ” Which means the first step on your path to logo success is lots of research.
Start by obtaining as much information about the brand as possible, including previous logos, brand values, position in the market, how customers view it, how you wish the brand would be viewed by customers, and what the brand personality is.
Research the audience too, as this will determine the tone and style of the logo – there’s little point designing a cute, child-like logo for a brand that wants to appeal to a masculine, adventure-driven group of young men.
The logo is the visual keystone to a brand, so to get it right, you need to delve deeply to find the brand’s essence.
2. Look for inspiration
In an ideal world, the perfect logo would pop into your head once your research is complete. In reality this rarely happens, so you need to follow up with an inspiration hunt.
Browse the websites of main competitors and websites that appeal to a similar target market. Seek out logo posts on blogs and look at inspiration galleries.
However, remember copying isn’t cool and it most definitely isn’t the aim here. We’re not suggesting you tinker with an existing logo to make it fit your needs. What you’re looking for is a spark of inspiration to inspire something truly unique of your own.
3. Be unique
Your logo distinguishes your brand from that of your competitors. It has to stand out if you’re going to be seen in the sea of internet sameness. So as well as avoiding ripping off a current logo, you need to steer clear of clichés. Which means no airplanes for an aviation company, avoid a globe for a global brand, and leave off the light bulbs if you want to portray ideas. Please.
4. Consider what type of logo would work best
There are various types of logos to choose between. You could be very literal, using icons to lend meaning to your company name or industry – think leaves in an eco-company logo, a hamburger icon for a fast food chain, mountains in a logo for outdoor activities.
Typographic logos are hugely popular, and a particular typeface or font often becomes synonymous with a brand. Coca-Cola is a prime example, as is Volvo, Gillette, Sony, and Microsoft. Often a distinctive twist or adaptation is made, such as the arrow pointing from A to Z on the Amazon logo or Google’s multi-colored lettering.
Finally, there are abstract logos that convey a mood or feeling rather than conveying what the business actually does. Examples here are Nike’s swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, Apple’s famous apple, and the blue bird, forever synonymous with Twitter.
Small businesses and local companies often favor literal images, although big brands use them too – Jaguar and Puma both have iconic leaping animals on their logos. Abstract logos tend to work best for those with big marketing budgets that can afford the level of marketing required to push the connection between brand and logo, whereas if your name is unique, typeface alone can be enough to make you stand out.
5. Use color wisely
I’ve written about color before in this post, but it’s worth emphasizing here. Color can be used to reinforce your message and elicit a particular mood or feeling.
- Red: Warmth, energy, aggression, boldness
- Blue: Professional, medical, tranquil, trustworthy, integrity
- Yellow: Sunny, inventive, intellectual, cheerful, optimistic
- Purple: Intuitive, creative, imaginative, spiritual, wise
- Orange: Communicative, social, friendly, youthful
- Green: Growth, organic, natural, ethical
- Pink: Feminine, loving, fun, flirty
- Black: Credible, strong, powerful, formal
- White: Simple, clean, pure
6. Pay attention to the typography
As with color, the typography you choose sends a message about your brand. Avoid gimmicky or trendy fonts; they soon fall out of fashion, leaving your logo looking dated and tired. You also want to avoid typefaces used by iconic brands, such as the script used by Coca-Cola because it simply looks as though you are copying, and default fonts, which make you look unadventurous and cheap.
Ensure the typeface matches the tone of the brand. If you want to portray luxury, professionalism, and authority, choose something classic and traditional like a serif font, and for a straightforward, modern, functional approach, a sans serif is a good choice. If you wish to come across as warm, friendly, or dramatic, opt for a bold font, whereas a handwritten or scripted font is a great fit if your brand is fun or emotional.
Try to stick to a single font, at the most two, otherwise your logo will start to look messy, but do consider adapting fonts so they suit your brand better, and experimenting with spacing and positioning to add interest and make it stand out. The arrow in the negative space of the FedEx logo is a great example of this.
7. Be flexible
In the digital age, logos must adapt to fit multiple devices from large desktops to tiny phone apps. They need to look good on a number of different backgrounds, in a variety of sizes, and, if they’re going to be used in print media, in black and white. They should also be timeless, transcending other brand changes.
A complicated logo can be difficult to identify, impossible to scale down, and often fails to engage audiences. What you’re aiming for is simplicity with a dash of quirkiness. Something that can be adapted to the smallest size without appearing cluttered, something with a timeless quality that will survive trends, and something that can be translated into black and white or have its color adapted to suit a specific situation, without losing its meaning. Once you’ve narrowed down your logo options, simplify it down to its bare necessities.
A final note
Once your completed logo is ready to be released to the world, remember that all iconic logos took a while to become established. Be patient, give your logo time to settle and be recognized, and don’t rush to change it if it doesn’t have the initial impact you were hoping for.
Designing a truly great logo is a complex process (and a necessary one) so you don’t portray a negative brand image or one that doesn’t fit the values, tone, and mood of your business. Follow our great tips to create a logo that represents your brand’s qualities, values, and personality, and has a lasting, timeless appeal.
What are your tips for designing a successful website logo? Do you have anything to add to our list?