The importance of a striking, meaningful and memorable logo cannot be overstated: for many clients and customers, logo design will be part of that all-important first impression.
How Not to Design: Some Common Logo Pitfalls and Tripwires
So how do you design a logo that will impress clients so much that they will fall head over heels for your brand? You can start by avoiding these common design pitfalls that will automatically brand you a rank amateur.
1) Gather a cornucopia of random visuals
To truly sink your logo, keep adding more and more elements until the entire design crashes under the weight. Selling a farm-fresh product? Why not go for photorealistic mountains, chicken coop, farmhouse, lettering, clouds, birds, and a meadow sprinkled with flowers the viewer can identify by species?
2) Copy someone else's good idea
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; it also happens to be the definition of plagiarism. Moral question aside, utilize elements from others' logos and they will look suspiciously familiar. When enough designers 'borrow' the same element or elements, they become a design cliché.
An especially persistent design cliché was the 'swoosh' in the late 1990s through early 2000s: arcs that swept over, under, or off to the side of the logo's lettering. "Look how modern I am," these logos seemed to proudly say. "Look how my swoosh denotes progress and innovation."
These days, it all ends up looking as innovative and futuristic as a movie about 1999 filmed in 1992.
3) Use every color found on this planet
Use a stunning palette of colors that won't be available at every printer. Never examine your logo in black and white to see if it becomes a giant, unrecognizable Rorschach test.
Above all, don't shrink and expand your logo to ensure it will be clear at different sizes as well as different colors, or examine it from all angles to ensure your logo cannot be... misinterpreted.
4) Use lots of stock art
Paying for good art is for chumps. Why would you ever hire a good designer, or pay for an image when you can find free, pixilated clipart online?
5) Comic Sans
Feel free to use any old font. Taking the time to carefully judge a font is of very little importance.
Now Really, How Can I Make A Memorable Logo?
1) Start with concept: What do you want your readers to think of your brand?
- Energetic? Go for sweeps of movement in your design, bright colors, fun accents, and larger, rounder fonts.
- Want to be taken seriously? Go for straight lines over arcs and circles, and use cooler colors or neutrals and smaller, more angular fonts.
2) Choose a logo that is unique and recognizable
- Although many people may have chosen a cat for their logo, a unique flip to the ear or curve to the tail can make your logo stand out from that of others.
- Therefore, it can be helpful to hire an illustrator or purchase an image to which you have the sole rights.
3) Want to be sure your logo looks good no matter what?
- Design in grayscale, and add color later on.
- Expand and contract your logo. When it is small enough to be on a business card, does it still look good? When it is large enough to be on a billboard?
- Tilt your logo this way and that to ensure it cannot be misinterpreted at some other angle.
4) Be judicious with your font and spacing.
- Custom fonts can make your brand stand out from the crowd.
- Do not choose lots of fonts, or more than two font styles (bold, italic) in your logo; be sure your font is easy to read and the lines are not too narrow when you reduce the font size.
- Use a program with good 'kerning' -- the spacing between individual letters. MS Word is not so great; Adobe Illustrator is better.
5) Have a designer's eye
- Negative space is just as important as the logo itself. A small logo on lots of empty space creates the impression of elegance and sophistication, while a larger logo with less empty space creates the impression of simplicity and straightforwardness.
- The use of symmetry and the golden mean can make a design very pleasing to the eye even if the viewer isn't sure what's so intriguing or special about the image.
Earn your merit badge in design by designing the a logo that stands out from the crowd and truly represents your brand. Now go forth and create something memorable!