How to Design a Logo for Business

No matter what product or service you are touting, it is important to have a quick, easy way for people to understand what your business is all about. Sometimes, you only have a matter of seconds to draw the attention of passersby or web surfers.

That’s where your brand –– and more specifically, your logo –– comes into play. Done well, a logo can efficiently deliver the most important information about your business to a potential customer. Over time, it becomes a shorthand way for people to associate your products and services with your brand personality, building trust and loyalty.

You don’t need to be a tech or sports business behemoth to create an excellent logo. In this article, we will take you through some key guidelines, tips, and tricks for creating a logo that represents the best your business has to offer.

Steps to Designing a Business Logo

Step 1: Research and Inspiration

Don’t break out PhotoShop just yet. Before you set about the actual design of your logo, there are some important steps to take first to ensure that you are properly representing your business’ essence.

Know your (brand) story, personality

This is a big one. What is your business’ story? Why does it exist? What does it aim to do? How does it differ from other big players in the industry or competitors?

If you are struggling to answer any of these questions, that might be a sign that you need some more clarity on your business’ mission and brand before you move forward. It can be a good idea to collaborate with colleagues to do word associations, word webs, or other creativity-inducing exercises to get you thinking about your business in new ways.

Once you do have these answers, then you are better equipped to know how those characteristics should tie into the logo itself.

Get Inspiration

If you aren’t a natural designer (or even if you are), creating something from scratch can prove difficult. Get inspired by some others’ work first.

Start with a cursory Google search of logos for other companies in your industry. Create a folder, and start saving images with colors, patterns, designs, or other elements that you find appealing.

From there, check out sites like Pinterest or browse through relevant Instagram hashtags to get some more inspiration.

Check out the competition

Do you have direct competitors? It doesn’t hurt to take a look at what they are up to. Similarly, if there are other companies that your business is modeled after, or bigwigs you aspire to emulate, chances are they are doing something right with their logos.

Pay special attention to any companies that have recently redesigned or rebranded. What kinds of design styles do you notice? Is there a tendency toward minimalism? Hand lettering? Bright or muted colors?

Take note of elements of other business’ logos that could inspire yours.

Create Vision/Mood Boards

Now that you’ve compiled some ideas to get you started, play with them! Create either virtual or physical vision or mood boards, where you can gather together snippets of colors, fonts, images, or other renderings that you like and that evoke the feeling that best matches your brand.

Look for patterns, themes, or other connections that emerge. These pieces will inform the creation of the logo itself.

Draw or Sketch

Don’t be afraid to put pen to paper, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist. Draw or sketch out some different ideas, without focusing too much on how “good” they are.

The idea here is to start translating your inspirations into concrete examples that can possibly be incorporated into the final design. Just focus on getting ideas flowing at this stage, and don’t be too critical of yourself or others.

Step 2: Develop a Creative Process

Once you have done the groundwork necessary for creating a great logo, it is time to set the structure of the logo creation process. Your exact method may differ depending on your circumstances, but generally speaking, it should go something like this:

Create a budget

The price of creating a logo can vary dramatically depending on how it is done. Whether you make the logo in-house, or contract a graphic designer or freelancer, make sure you know in advance what you are willing to spend.

If you aren’t sure what kind of costs you’ll be looking at for a logo design, check the rates of freelancers online, or get some quotes from graphic designers you might like to work with.

Create a brief

Even if you are the person designing your company’s logo, having a logo design brief to work from is key to ensuring that the finished product is in line with what you are looking for.

Prior to the actual design of the logo, write up a brief that includes (at least) the following information:

  • Product(s), target audience, industry
  • Brand personality
  • Name and Tagline
  • Design styles (with examples)
  • Timeline
  • Budget

By having all of this in black and white before you get started, you can set the stage for your logo to be in line with your vision.

Step 3: Create the Logo

As mentioned above, depending on how you choose to go about creating the logo, be it an in-house project or contracted assignment, you’ll want to determine what the actual process will look like.

Be clear on the timeline and structure of this process. How long do you have? How many rounds of tweaks or revisions will likely be necessary? What if you need more options? What if your boss doesn’t like the final product?

If you are working with others on your logo design, these considerations should be taken into account so as to avoid frustration or late work.

Step 4: Review Your Work

Logo design should involve at least more than one set of eyes –– preferably several. Once you or the graphic designer has come up with logo option(s), take some time to mull it over. What are your initial reactions?

(Below we have some specific questions you can use as a checklist to see if the logo design meets your desired requirements.)

Show the tentative design to colleagues, family, and friends. Ask them what the logo makes them think of, or what feelings it evokes. Pointed questions can help you get a better sense of how it’s looking rather than “what do you think?”

If you have several options, ask them which one they prefer and why. Or, post a few logos on social media and have your online community vote. These little methods can quickly help you rule out or make the necessary changes to the work.

Step 5: Get Feedback

From there, be sure to share your feedback with the designer, or incorporate it into your revision process. Be kind –– it is unlikely that the logo will come out perfect on the first try.

When advising your designer on what changes should be made, try to be specific and avoid phrases like “Make this more dynamic looking” or “Jazz it up a bit.” If you want something to look different, try to explain in detail and/or with pertinent examples to help get the design to appear more how you would like it to.

Accept that the design process is just that –– a process. Getting a great logo doesn’t happen overnight.

Logo Design Checklist

When you are reviewing your logo design, once you get past your initial reactions, check over each aspect of the logo, one by one.  

Return to your initial brief to check that the design elements align with your intentions.

Are the fonts appropriate?

The font on your logo should be in line with your brand personality. If you’re going for artsy and fun, a more free form, flowing sans serif font might be the best bet. For a more refined, serious feel, a clean serif font may be the way to go.

This font will become part of your ongoing design palette in the future, so you should be sure you like it if you want to keep it.  

Do the tones and color schemes match your brand?

Similar to the above point, your brands color scheme will carry over into advertisements, website design, and much more.

Check that the colors and tones in the logo match your brand theme. Be sure to have the exact numeric RGB or CMYK color codes so that way you don’t have any colors that don’t quite match.

Can this logo be used for many years to come?  

Your logo should have staying power. While it can be tempting to go for a placeholder logo, especially as you are just getting started, avoid that urge.

As soon as you start doing business with your logo, people will begin associating it with you and your business. You don’t want to have to turn around and do it over again once you start gaining traction.

Is it versatile?  

You may not realize just how much you will be using your logo once it is designed. You want to make sure that you have the logo in a scalable format. In other words, you should have something that can be easily manipulated in different ways –– one with your business name written out, one with it shortened, one with the slogan, one without.

Since your logo is not a static image, but something that will be used in many different ways, don’t pigeonhole yourself into just one version forever.

Is the logo scalable?  

The best logos make their way onto pretty much every aspect of the business, from print materials like brochures, mailings, banner stands and the like, to digital platforms like your website and social media.

Your logo should be easily identifiable, and high resolution enough to be moved around onto various places and materials without sacrificing quality.

How to Avoid Common Design Mistakes

If this is your first time designing a logo, you might hit some roadblocks or challenges along the way. Sidestep the typical pitfalls in logo design by being prepared.

Know Your Audience

Sure, your logo design looks good to you, but what about the people you are trying to reach?

Keep your audience in mind as your plan and implement your logo design process. When possible, include potential clients or customers into the design process. What do they think of the logo? Does it appeal to them or turn them off?

Even see how well your logo is communicating your brand message by asking people: what does this company do? How do you know? You might be surprised by the answers, and customer feedback can be a useful inclusion in the process.

Steer clear of cliches

It can be tempting to copycat or otherwise repeat things you have seen elsewhere. But using the same catchphrases, styles, or other common elements often seen in logos is lazy.

Make sure that your logo is not falling into the trap of being generic or cliched; if so, customers will be more likely to pass you by.

Keep it Simple

The world of design has seemingly limitless options –– with fonts, colors, styles galore. While using many of these might be appealing, most of the time less is more when it comes to design.

Avoid too much clutter, and focus on clarity instead.

Logo Design Tools/Resources  

Now that you have a sense of the logo design process, it’s time to put it to work. Below are some great tools and resources

Inspiration and Design

The internet has a plethora of sites and software from free to premium that can support your design efforts.

Pinterest

The mecca for artists, crafters, and designers, Pinterest’s virtual bulletin board format is a great place to start for inspiration.

Adobe Spark

With this free app from Adobe, you can create not only images, but videos and web pages too.

Adobe PhotoShop

A design standby, Adobe PhotoShop comes with all of the tools necessary to create not only your logo, but other designs that can be used for your business.

Canva

Use the easy-to-navigate drag-and-drop format of this online design platform to create your logo.

LogoMakr

Search graphics and choose from millions of templates using this online logo designer.

DesignMantic

Billed as a one-stop graphic design shop, DesignMantic allows you to start creating a design by choosing your industry, and selecting from pre-designed templates.

Hire

Upwork

Browse through hundreds of qualified designers from around the world that you can work with virtually on the logo design.

Fiverr

With Fiverr, you can choose from either a design partner, who can work with you and offer guidance, or a designer who can simply execute your idea.

99designs

Bring the power of the marketplace of ideas to your design process. Either start a contest where the design community can submit options and you choose your favorite, or get linked up with a pro designer you can work alongside.

Freelancer.com

Similar to Upwork, Freelancer.com has a wide variety of freelance professionals that you can hire to help you design your logo.

Make a Logo that Matters

Make no mistake –– a logo might seem like a small or relatively less important aspect of your business, but the fact of the matter is that your logo can have a substantive impact on your business’ success.

Given that fact, the logo design process should appropriately reflect the necessary time, energy, and financial investment. You don’t have to be a pro designer or business expert to make sure you get a great logo, though. With a little legwork and creativity, you can create a logo that will grace your products, website, advertising and more.  

Ready to put your logo out into the world? Best of Signs has a huge selection of banners, signs, decals, flags, and more that can be used to promote your business.

Shop today to find the perfect place to show off your shiny new logo.

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