There is no other activity for a small business that is more common than making a logo. Sadly there are so many crappy logos out there because good logos are complex beasties.
What you need is a logo SYSTEM. Not a logo. Think of this as all the pieces and parts that you use to identify your business. All the elements you use are based on the core logo, creating variations in color and shape
Here is my checklist for making a logo.
1. Make sure your logo looks good in all black.
Color will fool you into thinking that a design works when it does not work at all. Not only that, your logo will be used in black and white more often than you think. Your logo needs to look fantastic no matter how you use it. Don't let a designer show you a bunch of color mock-ups on the first draft. If they do present them send ‘em back and ask to see the designs again in black and white.
2. Make sure your logo looks awesome tiny and huge
A logo needs to be clear and readable at any size. Test it all the way down to an inch. All the words in the logo need to be readable, and all the art needs to be identifiable. When logos get small thin elements get so thin, they are not printable, and tiny spaces between elements can disappear making the logo start to mush together.
3. How will your logo be used?
Think beyond your business card or website header. No single version of your logo will work in all spaces. Make sure each version of your logo is roughly equivalent to a traditional shape like a square, circle, triangle, and rectangle.
4. Be careful with color
When you choose the colors for your logo, keep it simple. The logo itself should be not more than two or three colors. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- The more colors you use, the more expensive it will be when you go to print your logo
- The more colors you have, the more difficult it will be to integrate your logo into other spaces. You can't control all the places it will appear, so keeping it simple will help ensure that your logo looks good at all times
If the Blue dress or Gold dress meme taught us anything, it is that no two people see colors the same way. It is also true that no two computers will show the colors the same way. I don't want to get bogged down by color theory and the anatomy of vision here, so just remember two things
- Eight percent of the population has some form of color blindness. Colors like blue and green can be a challenge for these folks. Solve for this by designing a logo with a strong contrast between light and dark.
- Color properties are more than light and dark
- HUE: The pure color. Essentially we are talking about the purest form of any given color.
- TINT: These are colors created when you add white to any hue. They are the "lighter" versions of a hue
- SHADE: These are the colors created when you add black to any hue. They are he "darker" versions of a hue
- TONE: These are the colors created when you add a neutral color to a hue. They are the "softer" versions of a hue
- SATURATION/INTENSITY: Mostly used when working with color on a computer it refers to how much of a hue on a scale from 100% to 0%. The more saturated a color, the more "vivid" it is.
- Be careful when pairing colors. Don't pick colors that have the same hue or intensity. Work with your designer to create a harmonious color scheme that has enough contrast without clashing. If you want to play with color schemes, yourself try using a tool like Paletton or Adobe's Color CC
5. Be Unique and Memorable
Look at your competition's logos. Does your logo look like theirs? While this might be the safe play, it won't help you stick out from the crowd. Make sure that you are being true to you and not just going with the crowd. Your gut might lie to you. What you "like" might be the most familiar looking, and you might initially hate the logo that works the best because it seems so different.
6. Tell Your Story
The easiest way for your logo to be unique and memorable is for it to tell the story of your brand. Think about your tone. Is your brand nurturing and traditional or is it whimsical and cheeky?
Think about what you are selling and what makes it unique. Sure you sell quilts. But your quilts are not just any quilts… they are contemporary twists on traditional patterns, using Japanese color combinations and anime prints. (I made that up, but if you are making these quilts, please email me!!)
Have any logo issues I haven't addressed? Let me know in the comments below!