A logo can have a huge impact on a business’s success, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
After all, Twitter’s original blue bird logo was purchased for $15 as a stock photo, while Nike’s swoosh cost $35 in 1972.
Ready to design your own basic logo? Here’s how to get started.
Eight Great Tips for Basic Logo Design
If you’re a new designer or a business owner bootstrapping your own logo, graphic design can seem a little intimidating. It doesn’t have to be.
Anyone can create a great basic logo by following these eight tips.
1. Make Sure It Can Scale
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in logo design is forgetting to plan for scalability.
A good logo is clear, readable, and compelling no matter what size it is. Whether it’s on a billboard or a business card, it needs to carry your message across.
The best way to plan for this is to design your logo in a vector file format, like:
Vector images are infinitely scalable. You can change their size without losing any clarity. Raster files–like .JPEG, .GIF, or .PNG–become blurry when you change their size.
2. Choose Your Font Wisely
When you pick your font, you have a few priorities you need to keep in mind.
Above all else, your font must be readable. Avoid anything with extra flourishes or decorations, since these won’t work on a business card.
Your font should also say something about your brand. Young, creative businesses might benefit from a modern sans-serif font, while traditional companies usually opt for serif.
3. Pick the Right Colors
Your color palette says a lot to consumers. That’s because humans have a psychological reaction to color.
Red, for example, is often seen as energetic. Green can represent growth, while blue often conveys a sense of professionalism.
People’s individual reactions to color can vary, however. It’s more important to match your palette with your brand.
For instance, if you’re designing for a young, agile startup, bright red or orange could be a good fit. If your logo represents an established professional firm, like a medical practice or accounting business, a muted color palette might make more sense.
4. You Need a Focal Point
One of the basic elements of an effective artistic composition is focus. When you’re designing your logo, you need to choose one single focal point that you want your viewers to see first.
For most brands, the focal point is a symbol that represents the business. That could be house icon for a realtor, a video reel for a film studio, or paw print for a veterinary clinic.
Don’t be afraid to get more abstract with your logo design. Consumers respond emotionally even to basic shapes, so you have room to get creative.
5. Don’t Add Too Many Elements
What do some of the most famous logos have in common? Minimalism.
Apple, McDonald’s, Nike, and Twitter all use simplistic shapes and colors to represent their brand. These logos are easy to understand and instantly recognizable, thanks in part to their minimalistic design. They also look great at any size.
Keep that idea in mind during your design process. Too many elements will compete for your viewer’s attention. That makes it less likely your logo will have the impact you want.
Once you’ve chosen your focal point, pare down everything else around it. Remove any text you don’t need, cut down on the number of colors you use, and take away extra flourishes.
You’ll be left with a simple, compelling design.
6. Communicate an Appropriate Message
All logos say something to consumers, whether it’s intentional or not. When you design yours, you need to think about what you want to say.
As we’ve mentioned, your color palette and typography say something to consumers. It’s important that your design choices match your brand’s personality.
For example, eclectic logo elements could be a great fit for a funky clothing brand, but would be a terrible choice for a law firm.
If you’re unsure of the message you need to convey, turn to your brand guidelines.
7. Fits Your Logo in With Your Brand Guidelines
Sometimes, new designers think of a logo as a stand-alone asset. In reality, your logo is just one component of your entire brand. If you don’t have a document outlining your brand guidelines, it’s time to start writing.
In addition to your logo, your brand guidelines should include information on your:
- Color palette
- Brand voice
- Icons and imagery
If your logo doesn’t match what’s in your guidelines, your brand won’t look cohesive.
Developing your brand guidelines first can actually make it easier to come up with ideas for a basic logo.
8. You Need Print and Digital Versions of Your Logo
When you’re designing, you’ll need a few different formats for your logo.
That’s why we recommend you download graphic design software before you get started. These programs will be able to generate the formats you need for print or digital projects.
To create everything from business cards to banners, you’ll need a high-resolution version of your logo to print correctly. That means:
- A resolution of 300 DPI
- A file that is scaled to its actual size
- CMYK colorspace
Print is a notoriously unforgiving format. If you get one of these specs wrong, you’ll be left with blurry, off-color product.
Web graphics are much easier to get right. Since there’s no physical product, getting the resolution right isn’t as difficult. That said, any time your logo appears on the web, it should be:
- 72 PPI
- As small of a file size as possible
- RGB colorspace
If your logo file is too large, it will load too slowly–or fail to load at all. If it’s too compressed, it might appear blurry online.
Learn More About Logo Design
This article just scratched the surface of basic logo design. If you want to move beyond the basics, Pligg can help. We don’t just cover the latest graphic design trends on our blog. We offer the very best digital downloads to help you create a compelling logo for your business.