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How To Create a Punchy DIY Logo (The Devil Is in The Details)
Most people react favorably to visual stimuli, and a memorable logo will deliver a powerful message to consumers, whether it’s as familiar as the red and white Coca-Cola script, the apple with a single bite missing, or the distinctive “swoosh” that defines Nike.
Of course, there are many other examples. Not all logos are equally memorable, or equally effective, so if you’re just beginning to think about logo design, you might wonder how to ensure that your brand logo will resonate with potential customers and produce the kind of lasting appeal that you hope to generate.
Here are some positive steps that will help you navigate the design process and create a punchy logo that tells your brand’s story.
Define Your Brand Identity With Your Logo
Whether you’re selling insurance or automobiles, ideas or food, your first job will be to create a brand identity that extends across the entire line of products or services that you offer your customers. This is the first step.
Concentrate on your message, and discuss the ways in which you can communicate that message directly to your customers.
Spend Time and Energy on Research
The time and energy you devote to market research at the outset, whether you are starting a new company, adding a new product line or expanding your roster of services, will pay dividends in the long run. Don’t skimp on the initial research phase, and be sure to solicit the kind of information that is quantifiable and pertinent. This is one area where guessing is a mistake. Collect data and analyze it before you act.
Understand Your Ideal Customer
Once you have developed a specific brand “personality,” you are better able to determine what will attract the type of customers you want to your products or services. Delve into the specifics of why someone might choose your brand over a competitor’s: Some of the reasons could include price, quality, value, innovative design, improved technology, ease of use, etc. Never ignore the benefits of company history or trust.
You never know what will inspire you. Be open to possibilities as you embark on your logo design effort. Search for inspiration everywhere.
Identify Visual “Triggers”
Get creative during your team’s logo design sessions. As you identify your ideal customer base, also try to understand what it is that might specifically attract someone to your products or services, and play into that motivation. Keep notes of pertinent words, ideas and images that you can combine in different ways to express a thought. Combine random words and symbols.
Some “power words” to think about include:
You get the idea. Have fun with the thought process, and try not to get bogged down with details during the early states of logo design. It takes time to produce a masterpiece!
Explore Your Competition
Don’t hesitate to visit competitors’ websites, read their Facebook posts and examine their products. Appraise what they are doing right, and analyze how their brand identity meshes with your perception of their products and their customers. Then go back to considering the message that you want to convey. Make it personal.
Define the Basic Guidelines for Your DIY Logo
A brand logo typically includes only three standard components:
- The font, or type style
- A color block, or color palette
- The visual element; a unique symbol
It’s simple, right?
Most of the world’s most iconic graphic logos began with a combination of the company name and a distinctive symbol. Some, like Starbucks and McDonalds, later dropped the name when the symbol became universally recognizable. Others — think Ebay, You Tube and Lego — use only a graphic font and distinctive color(s) as their brand identifiers.
Remember that the logo you select will become, in effect, the public face of your company. So, spend the necessary time up front to develop a logo that will continue to tell your story, even as your brand grows and develops new products or services. Some major corporations have been disappointed with subsequent attempts to “modernize” the logo.
That is not to say that a logo cannot evolve over time. Read about this evolution of iconic logos for a fascinating history lesson.
Play With Ideas
Whether you’re trying to develop an idea for a solo entrepreneurial venture, or working with a team to develop coordinated branding efforts for a new company or a non-profit organization, the basic steps should be the same. Don’t set a deadline for the creative effort. If you have decided on a great name for your new company or product line, you can use that as a stand-alone feature until you develop a logo that checks all the right boxes for appeal and suitability, one that generates interest and enthusiasm, and one that will stand the test of time.
Tap into creativity in a variety of ways:
- Make sketches
- Keep an idea notebook
- Schedule brainstorming sessions
- Notice the signs that are all around you
- Be “intentional” — it’s more important to tell your story than to create an award-winning logo
- Start with your company’s story
Visit an Online Logo Design Platform
Get a feel for the way in which varied logo design elements can be combined by visiting an online logo design platform. There are several that are user-friendly and economical, even free to use for initial design sessions. Most maintain extensive libraries of graphic designs to help you fuel your creative efforts. Some use artificial intelligence to help you select graphic symbols and fonts that will appeal to a specific customer persona.
Most feature a logo support team, and assistance with coordinating logo use across the landscape of uses you want to incorporate, including social media, direct mail, print advertising, business cards, correspondence and packaging.
You don’t have to possess graphic design expertise or even artistic creativity to manipulate fonts, colors and visual symbols, combining them in a variety of ways to sample what different logos might look like. Color triggers different emotions, so experiment with different hues, shades and intensities as you work on your logo design.
Test different designs and alternatives, if possible, before you make a final decision on a logo. Solicit comment from your board, your marketing team, product engineers, field personnel, customer service reps, and potential customers, if possible, to get feedback on a short list of possible logos.
The Basic Elements of a Good DIY Logo
Remember, that it is not the logo itself that will spell success for your product or service — or for your company — but the logo you select will always be intertwined with your company image, for better or worse.
The best logos have five common characteristics:
- Simple: The goal is to create a logo that is instantly recognizable.
- Relevant: Your logo should be distinctive to your brand, because it represents a basic form of communication with your customers.
- Timeless: You don’t build a company overnight; and you’ll want a logo that will “age well” as your company grows and evolves.
- Versatile: As a brand emblem, assure that your logo is adaptable, and that it can be scaled for various uses — from a business card to a highway billboard.
- Memorable: The primary goal of a good logo is to spark instant recognition in the mind of a current or potential customer.
While some great logos, like the Starbucks Coffee emblem, are graphically complex, most are simple. And while some brands have effectively changed their logos to meet changing customer preferences over time, most at least retain some elements that signify continuity and timelessness.
Color is a universally unifying element, even though a number of well-known logos employ “positive-negative” effects on occasion. If you choose a particular color to use as part of your logo, try to carry it across the landscape of brand identification, in the way that distinctive blue packaging has become identified with the Tiffany brand.
Finally, any logo design should be pertinent to your brand. Your logo must have a tie-in to the kinds of products or services you offer. You may love pine trees, for example, but it would most likely be a mistake for an Arizona home builder to feature a pine tree in its logo. In the same way, the happy panda is a memorable choice for the World Wildlife Fund, but an animal’s face would have little impact as a logo for an appliance company.
Is a Logo Really That Important?
At this point, you may be asking yourself if you really need a logo. Why wouldn’t a classy, distinctive business card, a descriptive e-mail address and a knockout website suffice?
We believe the answer is obvious: Think about the number of world-class companies that don’t have a logo. Can you name even one?
Remember that your logo is the visual representation of your brand. It can be the “elevator speech,” if you will, that creates a great first impression. Your logo is your brand “cheerleader,” the “nametag” that distinguishes your product from a sea of similar products, and it offers reliable assurance to a buyer or supporter that the company behind the logo can be trusted to perform or deliver.
So, take the time to develop a logo that sends a message of stability, of excitement, of performance, of lasting value, of ethical business practices, of concern for the environment, of lives well-lived, of innovative products and necessary, desirable services.
Whatever your message may be, tell the story you believe needs telling!