Creating the Ultimate Business Logo
hink about the last time you visited a grocery store and were trying to choose between two products from different brands. What made you choose one product over the other? Your decision was probably influenced by the reputation, branding, and most importantly the logo. The logo is the key unlocking your connection to the brand. We all subconsciously want to invest in something that we can connect with.
How many big brands have you seen without a logo? Honestly they don’t exist. A logo is probably the most recognizable aspect of a brand, but we don’t often consider the ideas or work put into creating one. I wish creating a logo was as easy as making a template and slapping it on a product or website.
Why does a brand invest so much into its logo? Why does having the best logo matter so much? Don’t worry, this guide was written to tell you the secrete behind creating the ultimate business logo. From defining your brand identity to understanding the components that go into your logo, I want to help take the right steps to creating the right logo for your business or brand.
Understand What You Want & Need
Creating a business logo is a lot like dating. You’re putting yourself out into the world hoping that someone will fall in love with you. In this case that special someone is your audience!
Think of your logo as your profile picture that introduces you to everyone. You choose that particular photo to raise other peoples’ interest so they will slide into your dm’s. Why not choose the best photo? There are a couple of avenues you can go down when coming up with business logo ideas:
- Purchase stock logos from Shutter Stock, Vector Shock, or Design Evo.
- Create logo contest on 99 Design, Design hill, or 48 Hour Logo.
- Create your own logo through canva or adobe illustrator/photoshop
- Commission local designers like Marcus Styles (aka the boujivisionary)
- Work with designer from Fiverr or Upwork
Remember, your logo is an essential component to your brand and you want to make sure it’s done correctly. As soon as people lay their eyes on your creation they subconsciously begin to judge you and your brand. Let’s give them something to talk about.
Brainstorm + Define Your Business
I have worked with a variety of individuals in my industry who don’t take the time to brainstorm. In one of my previous posts, Essentials of Launching a Business, I discussed the beauty behind brainstorming is that there are no wrong answers and no bad ideas. It’s your opportunity to think each idea through to its logical conclusion.
Your goal is to visually communicate your brand’s identity to your audience. In order to do that, you first need to think about the big picture:
- Figure out the services and product you will offer
- Determine your core values (mission, vision, & goal)
- Discover what makes your business special
- Describe your brand in three words
- Figure out which three words you want your audience to describe you as.
Once you have thought through these things, you should create a doc that lightly illustrates your conclusion. I thoughtfully saved you a few steps by creating this template for you to use. This will be an internal document intended for your eyes and anyone you decide to create your logo with.
Find Your Competition
Lets face it, you're the new kid on the block and after reading this you're going to be very successful when you launch. The secret behind creating the most impactful logo is finding your competitors. You don’t have to steal their ideas, you just need to figure out the mistakes they’re making. Addressing what you like and dislike about their branding will strengthen your business by clarifying your identity.
Inspiration Before Creation
Inspiration is the creative impulse that will guide your project, and the hardest part of the entire logo design process. Once you’ve got an idea about your business you will have this logo idea ingrained in your head.
I highly recommend you create a mood board filled with the direction you would like to take. A mood board is essentially a collection of images, text, or materials that evoke a particular style or concept. If you want to create a mood board online I suggest using Pinterest. It is a simple and easy tool that is accessible by any and everybody.
Don’t fret, mood boards are not exclusively for creatives or designers. While creating your mood board be gentle with yourself. This is to help you showcase your vision.
Selecting Your Logo Style
Since your vision is fresh and clear, it's time to start selecting the style of your logo. Before you start creating shapes, the first thing you want to do is pick the right design aesthetic for your brand. There is no one logo style that is right for everyone, only what’s best for your brand.
If you find yourself looking for a logo that stands the test of time and represents your brand throughout any decade, classic is the logo style for your business. This style is simple, while utilizing very minimal colors, graphics, and fonts. Business in the hospitality or service-based industry usually employ this style because it expands their audience reach with its versatile look. How do you create a logo that lasts a lifetime? Look to industry leaders like Coca Cola, Mcdonalds, or Google. Their logos have adapted and stood the test of time.
Retro or Vintage
Have you ever seen a logo that evokes nostalgia? Those are retro or vintage logos and they’re awesome. This style is best for businesses that value or pay homage to a special time in history. This worn and decorative aesthetic works best with businesses that are drifting towards a beige and black color palette. You may be familiar with Kodiak Cakes from your last Target run. If you analyze their logo you will notice a few things it has this very warm and weathered aesthetic while incorporating elements from a rural town. These nostalgic elements bring you back to a simpler time while having a modern touch.
Modern & Minimalist
This is where I thrive. If you scroll through my portfolio, you’ll notice I am not shy about creating minimal brands. This is a sleek style that focuses on white space, minimal details, and simple lines. Minimalist and modern logos are often combined with the classic style to create a trendy and timeless aesthetic for your brand. If you’re looking for a bouji or elevated look, modern and minimalist is the way to go.
Fun & Quirky
This lighthearted style will give your business the positive and philanthropic style you desire. This is less common but not a bad style to use within your logo. A fun & quirky logo appeals to a younger and family-based audience. If you look to the Peace Coffee turtle, this is a logo exemplifies the fun & quirky logo without any further explanation needed.
Having a handcrafted logo is usually reserved for people offering their audience something special. This is a unique style for businesses that sell things that are manufactured in house or want a very personal touch.
Selecting Your Logo Type
My favorite thing about creating logos is being able to mix and match each style. There are so many combinations you can try, but which one is best for your brand? Here are the 7 different types of logos you can choose from:
I was fortunate to brand myself with my name, Marcus Styles. Sometimes we come up with names that are difficult for our audience to pronounce and there isn't anything wrong with that. That's why Lettermarks are important. These monograms emphasize your name and focus on typography.
Some businesses interested in a modern style, decide to mix it with a wordmark logo. This straightforward approach is focused on presenting a creative idea using only a couple of letters. Turn the words into an image like Lyft. Did you notice the letters form a winding road?
These are the iconic logos that differentiate your brand from everyone else. You can have a unique wordmark or lettermark but, not like symbols. These logos are minimalistic and distinctive by nature. I am 100% sure you have seen the Nike logo *Drops Mic*.
Abstract logos are the twin sibling to symbol logos. These geometric-based logos are less recognizable than symbols but tell a story. They’re artistic, they’re fun, they’re abstract. Take a moment to look at the Playstation logo above. When you find the P and when you find the S within the logo you can continue reading.
Cartoons, people, and animals are a few things a mascot can be for your brand. These characters can give your brand life or personality while representing something your brand values. Mascots are really great for building a connection with your audience.
Emblems & Badges
These types of logos are typically created for magnets, stickers, and other transferable media. Any logo can be transferred but not like an emblem or badge. You typically see these for skate or local retail businesses. An emblem or badge works best in any environment. It’s more about how you create it.
The Power of Color Theory
As a business person you have to move with intention. When you make a decision without thinking, your business can suffer. Did you know that red can impact your audience more than yellow? The first color wheel was invented by Issac Newton. A century after that, Johann Wolfgang Goethe began studying the psychological effect of colors. His studies have evolved into color psychology, which has many applications used in business and life. Here is the meaning behind colors you may consider using:
In color psychology red evokes energy, passion, action, strength and excitement. This is a fierce color that commands attention. Red represents masculine energy, whereas its softer version, pink, is associated with feminine energy. If you’re looking for something powerful or dramatic, red is definitely your color.
Orange is a warm, vibrant and flamboyant color that evokes adventure, optimism, self-confidence and sociability. It is stimulating to the appetite and social conversation and therefore works well in restaurants and other food outlets.
Warm, happy, cheerful, playful. These are all words that are associated with yellow. Psychologically, yellow stimulates the mind and mental activity. It promotes wisdom and academic proficiency. and inspires original thinking and creative ideas.
A refreshing, natural, or green (pun intended) company uses green to promote sustainability. Green is associated with nature, health, healing, and the environment, creating a sense of compassion and nurturing for all. It encourages generosity, kindness and sympathy.
Psychologically, blue is calming, reducing tension and fear. It slows the pulse rate and reduces appetite. Blue adds strength and unity, and is therapeutic to the mind and body. It brings harmony to the spoken word. Be aware that this color is used heavily in the medical industry.
Purple is a royal and mysterious color that not many brands use. It represents spiritual pursuits and enlightenment. Psychologically, it heightens peoples’ sense of beauty and their reactions to more creative ideas.
Black is intimidating and controlling, although its power can instill confidence in some. This color commands authority, power and control. In many situations it can be intimidating, unfriendly and unapproachable. Alternatively, it can be seen as sophisticated, dignified and serious.
In color psychology white is the color of new beginnings, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn't stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive. Psychologically, white is calming as it creates simplicity, organization and efficiency out of chaos. It clears the way forward. White's basic feature is equality, implying fairness and impartiality, neutrality and independence. It is a reassuring color, which helps to create order and balance.
Mixing, Matching, & Combining Colors
By now you have an idea on what colors best represent the message you’re trying to share with your audience. Choosing a brand color is difficult, finding the colors to pair with it is the easy part. Monochrome logos are common but not required in any business. What does your gut say? Have fun with color or play it safe? Your color pallet should have around four colors, Here are a few different directions you can go with your color combinations:
Most businesses fill their four colors with complementary colors. You may recognize these colors as being opposites of each other on the color wheel or the neighbours from across the street (Orange - Blue, Yellow - Purple, Green - Red). This is the dynamic duo that creates a dramatic combination.
Analogous Colors can be considered siblings; they're typically colors that fall side-by-side on the color wheel. This choice will leave your brand feeling harmonious.
The best way to describe triadic colors are to have you imagine a color wheel with a triangle on it. These colors move past being dynamic and give your brand a bold statement.
Selecting the Right Typography
Pay attention to the font you use. There is nothing worse than an unreadable logo. There are only four to choose from to complete your logo:
In typography, serif font families have decorative strokes on each letter. You may be familiar with Times New Roman, which is a common example of a serif font. These fonts evoke a traditional and timeless feel for any project. Serif type fonts are great for businesses that deal with printing because of their editorial demeanor.
Sans Serif Fonts
If you’ve taken the time to read this post or my website in full, you’ve been reading the headers are Oswald and the paragraphs are Karla. These two are a very unique combinations of fonts that fall under the umbrella of San Serif. Modern, minimalistic, trendy, These fonts feature strictly straight or curved lines, without any extra strokes or embellishments, and are designed to be easily readable in any electronic format.
You may have mistaken this font for cursive, when in fact a script font is a handwritten font. You cannot say you have never seen the beauty penmanship or calligraphic art that has been created with script fonts. This font has become more popular with chalk artist. This font will give your brand a holistic, fun, and boho look.
Display Fonts are typically attached to vintage brands. These fonts are the most unique in the font roaster. These highly styled fonts are meant to be very intricate and catch your eye.
Bring Your Elements Together
Now that you have taken all the necessary steps to create the ultimate logo for your business success. It is time for you to make some decisions. You have all this information and you can either create your own logo, purchase a stock logo online, create a logo contest, work with a branding agency, or hire a Freelance Designer like me.
Something special about working with a freelance designer like me is since we are independent I will listen to you and take your ideas and transform them. Creating your own logo can be meaningful but, collaborating with someone who can push your ideas and has experience creating ideas can be powerful.
Feedback & Criticism
Wait! Before you can move onto the next step you should show 3 types of people. 1 Person who you’re very close to and sees your vision, another person who isn’t very close to you or can argue your opinion, then show a family member who can give it to you straight.
What Makes a Good Logo?
Let's say you decided to go with an agency or work with me. How do you know you're making the right decisions? There are a distinct characteristics a logo has:
- Does it work in multiple sizes and different environments?
- Is it unique and distinct?
- Does it reflect your brand message?
- Is it timeless?
Alternative questions you can ask:
- Can you tell what it is in 2 seconds? Will people immediately know what your business does?
- Is it simple and memorable? Will your customers be able to remember it?
- Is it versatile? Can it be applied to all your brand’s needs?
- Is it timeless, or would you have to do a redesign in a couple of years?
- Is it unique? Does it set you apart from your competitors?
- Does it appeal to your target audience?
Don'ts of Logo Design
There are so many things you can do with your logo but what can’t you do? There are a couple:
- Be conscious of the recycled industry logo concepts. We all cannot have a tech company with an apple as our symbol.
- Complicated logos are very forgetful. Consider a very memorable symbol or minimalistic aesthetic.
- Trends are the best way to be relevant and the best way to not get noticed. Remember you need to stick out if you want to be on top.
- If you’re collaborating check out their portfolio. Make sure they have the experience to execute the style you’re looking for.
Lights. Cameras. Action.
Do you smell that? That is the smell of a successful logo.
You have made it thus far and should be proud of yourself. Tomorrow you will be one step closer to your dreams. Until next time keep shining!