10 Logo Design Tips from Pros

  1. Understand your target audience first
  2. Discovery is fundamental in logo design process
  3. It’s more than just a logo – it’s a metaphor
  4. A great logo must stand out among competitors
  5. Don’t shy away from pencil and paper
  6. A logo is the visual manifestation of a brand
  7. Before getting on the computer, do a lot of sketching
  8. Stay true to your concept
  9. A great logo ain’t over ‘til it’s over
  10. A logo is just a part of the brand identity

What are the best logo design tips?

Before you start your logo design project check 10 logo design tips from pros, for your inspiration.

Whether you decided to use professional software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator) or free logo makers, it’s all about the idea when it comes to your logo.

I interviewed Creative Directors to give you an insight on what to focus on during your logo design process.

David Airey (the founder of Logo Design Love) said:

Anyone can design a logo, but not everyone can design the right logo.

Designing a logo is considered as the quintessence of a graphic designer’s art.

It’s the distillation of something big and complex into something small and unique.

Logo design is not about what you like or dislike. It's about what works. Click To Tweet

In order to design an effective logo, you must first know what makes a good logo.

Why do you need logo design tips

A logo is often a simple, little icon or word mark, but it’s definitely not easy to design one.

We live in an oversaturated world and designing something unique is a big challenge.

That’s why you need some design tips to judge your logo concepts against.

You company logo must comply with certain rules in order to work for you effectively. Click To Tweet

Otherwise, is just a pretty (or ugly) image that won’t get you far.

Curious about the logo design process? – check my other article.

1. Understand your target audience first

Take the time to understand the people who will interact with the brand intimately by learning who they are, where they are, and what they do.

Logo and identity design should demonstrate empathy for the client’s audience.

Only after appreciating the target audience will you be able to create an authentic solution that encourages genuine affection for the brandmark.

Dave Fletcher, Creative Director at The MechanismThe Mechanism, design firm NYC

Dave Fletcher

2. Discovery is fundamental in logo design process

Research provides a deep understanding of the product, company or service I am designing for. This can include company history and creation story, competitive landscape and products, category overview, consumer profiles and personas, key attributes and point of differentiation, positioning, mission, vision, and values.

Only once I know the business well, I can begin developing logo design concepts.

I write down every aspect of the company and what may represent it metaphorically, literally, and emotionally. These are usually 1 to 3-word descriptors. Then I sketch, review and refine logo design concepts. But remember – discovery is fundamental!

David Weinstock, Creative Director at RF|BINDERRF|BINDER - design agency NYC

David Weinstock

3. It’s more than just a logo – it’s a metaphor.

It’s near impossible for a logo alone to demonstrate the complete mission, values, and attitude of a company, which is oftentimes what a client may be looking for.

This is why I think:

A metaphor is needed to bridge the visual logo and the intangible qualities of the brand.

Take Nike, for example, the Greek goddess of Victory named Nike serves as the bridging metaphor between the swoosh graphic and the qualities of speed, victory, activity, and movement.

Sinan Imre

Sinan Imre

4. A great logo must stand out among competitors

Great logo design is not the same as great UI design. Today we are seeing lots of clean, simple, UI inspired logos that have absolutely no personality or uniqueness.

Your logo must stand out, not just blatantly blend in competitive space.

Great UI is part of an experience. Great logo design has to rise above any single experience and express an idea that creatively stands out, not functionally blends in.

Paul Parkin, Creative Director at SaltSalt, design studio NYC

Paul Parkin

5. Don’t shy away from pencil and paper

It’s all about the idea after all. Don’t be afraid to get busy with a pencil and sketchbook before hitting the computer when generating ideas for logos and identities.

Using traditional methods gives you an immediacy of artistic expression.

I find jumping immediately on the computer stunts our initial thinking to a degree, as we become eager to immediately perfect whatever we try to create in applications. This is probably my best logo design tips of all. You can generate ideas much quicker with a pen or pencil than you can with software.

Justin Hattingh, Creative Director at Unified TheoryUnified Theory, Design Firm NYC

Justin Hattingh

6. A logo is the visual manifestation of a brand

And that manifestation is a result of an appropriately articulated brand platform, created in tandem with the client, that leads with defining the business goals, understanding audience(s) and road-mapping a strategy for success.

A logo has to communicate the brand’s essence and hit the heart as well as the eye.

From this foundation, the visual form of the logo or brand identity emerges…along with all the standards and guidelines that make its expression in all medias consistent.

Brent Marmo, Creative Director at SQUIDDesign Agency Squid, NYC

Brent Marmo

7. Before getting on the computer, do a lot of sketching.

A good exercise can be to try to combine two completely different visual elements that can add up to a single visual mark. This mark should describe what the brand is all about.

Starting the process on paper helps solidify an idea, which is the most important aspect of any logo.

You want to have an idea behind it, not just a trendy style. Once the idea is established, it can be styled into any number of looks in an effort to find the best match with the vibe of the brand.

Will Dean, Creative Director at McKinneyMcKinney, Advertising Agency NYC

Will Dean

8. Stay true to your concept.

A strong concept is the foundation of good design. Start with an idea you believe in, maintain it throughout the design process, and the result will be a logo that you can be proud of.

Starting with an idea you believe in and staying true to the process will result in a logo that you can be proud of.

But it doesn’t mean that a logo has to be obvious. Don’t be afraid to make people work a little to decode your message. Like a puzzle, sometimes design can be very rewarding to figure out. It’s that ‘aha’ moment that can make your logo memorable.

George Rabôt

9. A great logo ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

The title of this song by Lenny Kravitz (also the owner of a creative agency in NYC) summarizes a simple but important tip. Even when you think that you’ve found the graphic answer to the design challenge, think again.

Step back, let the design rest — perhaps even overnight — and take another look.

If your temperament is toward impatience then you may feel like you’ve lost a day, but fight the urge to tick the task off your to-do list. You may miss out on another creative spin. Shake off your preconceptions, your design preferences — even your pride — and take a fresh look, explore a new approach.

Roberto Sablayrolles, Creative Director at StreetSenseStreetsense, Design Company NYC

Roberto Sablayrolles

10. A logo is just a part of the brand identity.

A logo in itself is just a signature on what a brand does and offers. Not more. A bad brand with a great logo will remain a bad brand! A logo is one part of a visual identity toolkit.

Where the logo is placed, on what, with how much space, typography and colors effects it.

A logo is just a (little) part of the identity system including all the elements defining the brand attitude: voice, words, images, colors, graphics compositions. One of the best logo design tips would be to focus on making a consistent, coherent and dynamic system, not an objective initself to define a brand.

Thierry Brunfaut, creative Director at Base DesignBase Design Co. NYC

Thierry Brunfaut

Do you have any logo design tips?

Share them in comments below.

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