The best logo designs have an idea behind them. That idea connects with your customer and gives meaning to your brand. Successful companies know this and spend a lot of money to get it right. I want you to be successful and get it right without spending a lot of money. Here's some DIY tips and inspiration to help get you started.
1. What's your brand personality?
If your business or "brand" was a person, what words could you use to you describe them? The options are endless but your list should not be. Pick the top five traits on your list and rank them in order, from top to bottom. Stylish? Bold? Modern? Not sure? Judge one against another directly, which is better? Pick that word. Repeat using all the words on your list to get the final five. Rank that list in priority order. Clear descriptions lead to stronger creative solutions.
2. Who's your customer?
Does your dream customer connect with the kind of brand personality you've just defined? You need a clear picture of the customer so you can focus on logo ideas that will appeal to them. Think about this extreme example that makes my point. Your brand personality is brash and high tech, but your best customers are grandmothers who do charity work for the poor. There is a disconnect that needs clearing up before you go any further. If those charitable grandma's are your core customers your brand personality needs to consider their values. Replacing "brash" with "caring" or "charitable" as a brand personality trait will lead your logo ideas in a different direction.
Please note that “Everyone” is not your customer. It rarely works to talk to everyone unless you have the the Coca Cola mega global marketing budget. Instead please be as specific as you can. The more you focus your target customer profile the better you can design for them. Beyond age and gender, do they share a passion that transcends both of those things? As the picture becomes clearer for you, revisit your brand personality description and update that as needed.
3. Who's your competition?
Your new logo design must be distinctive and stand out in the crowd. By doing the homework of collecting the competition's logos for review, you save time by knowing what to avoid. A new logo that looks just like another business competitor is trouble. And it's easy to avoid using this step.
4. What's the idea?
Understanding your brand personality, customer and competition gives you focus. Now you are in a MUCH better position to start thinking about Logo ideas with all that in mind. Can you define what your idea for a logo is in a sentence now?
This was the idea for the Heal the Bay Logo, a non-proft in Los Angeles, California: “Keep garbage out of the Santa Monica Bay to save it”. I designed this logo over 20 years ago and it's still going strong today. It connects with customers who also want clean water to swim in. It's brand personality is clean, hopeful and optimistic. It really didn't have much competition at the time which helped it stand out early on. Without that simple idea for inspiration this logo may never have seen the light of day.
5. Get creative.
Let the fun begin. The inspiration and focus you now have by defining all of the above points your creative thinking it a focused and productive direction. Here's some tips and inspiration:
- Grab a black marker, clean white paper and start drawing what comes to mind when you think about your freshly defined idea. Don't be careful or precious now, you are generating lots of ideas. Quickly. Once you have a winner there is plenty of time to refine and clean it up later.
- What comes up when you search google images for your brand personality traits? It may turn up some unexpected images that could inspire a new idea.
- Look at your business name in different type faces to see what reflects your brand personality? The illustration at the top of this page shows how different typefaces also have different personalities.
- Study famous logo designs from the masters: Paul Rand, Massimo Vignelli, Milton Glaser and Saul Bass are a good place to start. They all created logos with conceptual impact and a timeless quality. As you look at their work it could spark some inspiration for your own logo designs.
Great ideas come from great insights and inspiration. Now you're better prepared to tackle your new logo design from scratch with a little upfront work. I hope this advice helps you create the logo of your dreams. If it does help, please post your comments or progress below for others. This is a helpful forum where everyone can share and learn from each other.
Thanks for stopping by.
This is where I spill my trade secrets for hungry DIY enthusiasts. Nice to meet you. Creative Director at your service. Also an experienced art director, designer, illustrator, strategic thinker and author of the Do-It-Yourself Brand Design Book.