5 tips on creating a good logo

Coca-ColaImage via Wikipedia

It's hard to over-estimate the importance of a good logo.  When they're done well — they can become shorthand for your entire brand or company.  Sadly, most logos never achieve that status because they're not well executed.

If you're in the market for a new logo or want to evaluate the one you're currently using, here are 5 golden rules to follow.

Your logo should be very simple — remember it has to work in very small and very large sizes.

Many logos are designed by committee.  And everyone wants to add one more element, thinking that the logo has to tell the company's whole story.  In truth, your logo should clean and simple.  It doesn't have to tell your story — it has to become a symbol for your story.

Your logo needs to work in just black and white.

Think of all the places a logo appears in black/white or just one color.  It must be designed to work in those situations.  In fact, you should view all of your logo design options in black and white and not add color until the final logo is chosen.  If color is introduced too soon, it can influence your decision for the wrong reasons.  If it doesn't work in black and white, color won't help it.

Your logo should not include elements that would be considered trite.

Have a business in Colorado?  Do not have mountains in your logo.  Run a business in Texas?  Do not use the outline of your state in your logo.  Other trite images?  Globes, a for sale sign and scales of justice.  If several other people in your industry already use a certain image — then you should not.  Does Claire's Hair Salon really need to show me a pair of scissors?  I don't think so.  Trite = forgettable.

Do not use ordinary colors.  Unless your company is ordinary.

There are literally thousands of colors to choose from.  Go to an art store and ask to see a Pantone Book.  You want the color/colors that convey the essence/emotions of your brand.  Color can be incredibly subtle and connotative.  Use that to your advantage.

Don't get too trendy.  A logo should be relatively evergreen.

When you design a logo — it's for the long haul.  So avoid trendy fonts and colors.  Think long-term.  You want to avoid the standard fonts but you also want something that is going to stand the test of time.

All of this logo talk making you wish you had a new one?  Or had one?  Well, stay tuned.  On Saturday, I'm going to announce how one lucky reader will win a new logo design for their company. 

 

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88 comments on “5 tips on creating a good logo

  1. Wayne Liew says:

    This blog post is definitely useful for business owners who want to brand their business better. Often times, a good business model or branding strategy is crushed due to a bad logo.

    Although it is not a must for success, it will definitely help.

    1. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment

  2. Chris O says:

    Drew,

    Very useful blog. I’d be interested to know what you think of our logo.

    best,

    Chris O.
    Referral Key
    “Your Trusted Referral Network”
    http://www.referralkey.com/small-business-blog/

  3. Justin Brady says:

    These are great points that need to be addressed when creating logos. Two other logos tips would be staying away from shading so your logo can be represented in small areas, and of course, future looking if you ever will have a need to die cut your logo (Punch Out) out of paper.

    I like your point about not including elements that could be considered trite, however, it is important to point out that there are many exceptions to this rule.

    One more thing concerning not being to trendy: You mention that logos should stand the Test of Time. Thanks for the plug, wink wink.

  4. Justin Brady says:

    sorry about my spelling errors above. Oops.

  5. Drew, great post… natch. Reading this reminded me of something I wrote a few years back re: logos. Enjoy…

    What does your best employee look like? What attributes would you say make up your top employee? Before you answer… What if I told you the #1 employee of the biggest and best companies proudly display their colors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? What if I told you this employee never needs nor wants time off? Vacation? No thanks. Sick days? Don’t think so. What if I told you the best employee at the most successful companies in the world never asks for a raise? What if I told you the best employee was in fact the least paid employee and NEVER, EVER asks for more money yet generates more revenue than ALL employees combined? Intrigued yet? Want to know who this employee is? Well, I’ve got good news for you. You can hire this employee any time you want.

    Ok, enough suspense.

    The best employee at the most successful companies in the world is…

    Their logo.

    Your logo is your visual voice. Your logo is your image. You logo… is you.

  6. *Looks around the office* Okay I give. Where did you stash the camera?

    In all seriousness this comes at a great time. A friend of mine is starting her own non-profit and was in the market for a new logo. Thank you for helping me to look smart!

  7. Nick says:

    Oh the time I have spent trying to come up with a logo or header for my site. Now that I have read this post I think I need to go back a do some redesign with it. Especially in light off it needing to work in black and white.

  8. Wayne,

    A good logo is one of a company’s most powerful tools. You’re right about that.

    Drew

  9. Hey Chris,

    Well keep in mind, I am making a snap judgment and don’t know very much about your company….but I would have experimenting with leaving the little person out of the logo. (And maybe you did)

    I can imagine the logo gets a little cumbersome and you lose some detail when you have to shrink it down.

    That’s my 2 cents anyway.

    Drew

  10. Justin,

    Thanks for adding the additional tips. In terms of being able to pull off trite elements — in most cases, the exceptions are large companies that have the money to custom create the art so it has its own look and feel.

    But, for people who would be considering using HP’s MarketSplash or Logo Inn need to guard against going with the easy solution.

    Drew

    1. Found your weblog by accident for the second time these days so I considered I would have a nearer appear. I’ve just started producing my own blog site and modeling it right after what you have done.

  11. Steve,

    Brilliantly written…and I could not agree more!

    Drew

  12. Pam,

    Glad to help you look wise. And be sure to tell your friend about this contest: http://doiop.com/34198h

    Drew

  13. Nick,

    Come back and let us know how your tweaking went!

    Drew

  14. Hi Drew
    Attractive logo is a main part in any marketing deal, because that’s a unique one for any business. If the logo is designed well, customers have an impression for a long time. Anyway i like this post, I could get some tips to gain my knowledge about business logos.

  15. gift hampers says:

    We all know Coca cola has a nice design to promote any where their products. So we can get a lesson from coca cola logo. But i like your points when we think to make a new business logo.

  16. Coca cola is leading brand than pepsi, so taste is not only the secret to success for coca cola promotion. Brand and design have a good impact.

  17. When we are doing business, business logo is the most valuable part to promote our products to public. As your example “Coca Cola” show it well in the market.
    Thanks for sharing with these effective tips to design a good business logo. As a marketer I know the value.

  18. A company’s logo is a rich opportunity for communicating both the substance and the essence of a company.

    That’s why doing it right matters so much.

    Drew

  19. brela says:

    @ Drew
    What are the main factors when we design a proper company logo? I know there are five important tips here, But what else?

  20. @ brela
    No you won’t need more tips, Drew has clearly explained main factors here. Even i’m a business men in DVD shop, I also need a unique business logo. That’s very important to keep our customers for a long time.

  21. dot us says:

    Basically every company must target to design an eye catching business logo, otherwise customers may be focused by competitors. Anyway this guide is very useful to redesign my business logo.

  22. Brela,

    I suppose the main factor is that your logo accurately captures both the core intention and spirit of your company. In other words…it gives us hints in terms of what you do and why you do it.

    Combine that with the functional advice above and you should be in decent shape.

    Drew

  23. It seems an interesting topic to discuss for every businessmen, I was reading every words in this post and could get an idea to design a well optimized logo. So time to get practice with these tips. So i’ll post a feedback here.
    Thanks Drew.

  24. medium says:

    And yes coca cola is great very great! they know sell their product across the world and years they can give us a good lesson in marketing as well as their logo.

  25. medium says:

    And yes coca cola is great very great! they know sell their product across the world and years they can give us a good lesson in marketing as well as their logo.

  26. To drew
    I gain the knowledge about designing a good business logo, but i need some tips to decide a attractive and suitable logo creation for a web site. I handle a poker related web site, so how can i optimize my business logo in the web site. Any idea for me?
    Thanks in advanced.

  27. You have taken a nice example(Coca Cola) to explain it, But you could add some designing tips for newbies. I’m a free lancing designer, so your contribution is useful for us. Anyway I like this post much.

  28. Kyle,

    Your logo design/selection shouldn’t depend on where you are going to use the logo. So whether you use it on traditional business cards or a website — the rules stay the same.

    Make sure your logo fits/works for your business, not where you’re going to put it and you’ll be in good shape.

    Drew

  29. I wonder how professional programmers get a little eye rest and recharge their mental batteries working in an office.I don’t. I come in every morning and get a decent amount done, then I’m burnt out and surf reddit. The idea that anyone could just sit and program all day just doesn’t fly with me. My mind gets tired, after lunch I’m effectively useless.

  30. Chirs Jones says:

    I’ve been trying to create a logo for my free ps3 site since I launched it almost a year ago. I think my problem is something you have alluded to in your article – I’m trying too hard. I will put your tips into action and hope to get something that’s ‘right’. If I don’t produce any satisfactory results then I may consider getting some professional help as I suppose one you’re got a great logo you’ve got it for a long time so it may be worth the investment.

  31. gymaddicts says:

    Nice tip on the black and white.
    I’ve been caught before when I’ve had a stellar color logo – but on faxes and black and white docs it looked subpar.

  32. Adwido says:

    Never knew there was sso much to consider in having a logo designed. Thanks for providing this information. I haven’t created a logo for myself yet, but this will be nice to know when the time comes.

  33. Hey those are cool tips. Logo does make a difference in any company’s success and your tips are good. I hope any marketing head reads it and gives his input. I feel logos should not tell the history but something about the main goal of the company. Like Coca Cola is the brand name and their product is Cola.

  34. thanks for this logo tips..it’ very helpful…

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  35. Adwido says:

    Logos are very important branding tools. Some company’s pay thousands of dollars just for a logo that looks like it was created by a 9 year old.

  36. Coco cola s nice example there logo is perfect to understand logo making skill

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  38. Thanks for the tips, I will bookmark this page and will read them again when I sit to design the logo for my company. Thanks a ton.

  39. Audrey says:

    In making logos it would be good if you’ll make it
    in a simple yet elegant or something that would look
    professionally made.
    I’ve been doing logos a couple of years already and that’s on thing I have to consider.
    Simplicity of the logo would make it dominant to look at.
    But anyways thanks for sharing these 5 tips.
    It would be a great help for everybody who are make logo works.

  40. Kenny says:

    Thanks for this great blog. I have bookmarked it because I design logo’s and I found this information fantastic and hopefully it will improve my work in future.

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  41. Think of all the places a logo appears in black/white or just one color. It must be designed to work in those situations. In fact, you should view all of your logo design options in black and white and not add color until the final logo is chosen.

    Thanks

  42. Attractive logo is a main part in any marketing deal, because that’s a unique one for any business. If the logo is designed well, customers have an impression for a long time. Anyway i like this post, I could get some tips to gain my knowledge about business logos.

  43. Attractive logo is a main part in any marketing deal, because that’s a unique one for any business. If the logo is designed well, customers have an impression for a long time. Anyway i like this post, I could get some tips to gain my knowledge about business logos.

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  47. Lisa Q says:

    Coca cola is leading brand than pepsi, so taste is not only the secret to success for coca cola promotion. Brand and design have a good impact.

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  52. brainstrom says:

    I like your point about not including elements that could be considered trite, however, it is important to point out that there are many exceptions to this rule.
    brainstrom

  53. I agree, but “evergreens” are the most difficult to achieve, don’t you think ?

  54. Now, Lionel Menchaca and others in the blogging/social media effort at Dell try to respond to ever mention of Dell online, be it on a blog, Twitter or elsewhere. All listening has done for Dell is turn their customer service reputation around, 180-degrees.

  55. Its not about the logo’s, its about the brand.
    I’ve seen company’s with crappy logos dominate the market 😉

  56. Great techniques. I need a logo for one of my website. I would definitely apply your tips here. Big thanks from me.

  57. Exactly.. As u said, the simplicity of the logo makes it all the more important. Cos if its seen anywhere, its important that people recognize it. The more elements you add into it, the less recognizable it becomes!

  58. Johnz says:

    This is truly a supertip to give to everyone who’s looking for the right logo, good job!

  59. Good tips. very helpful. Thanks.

    Regards,
    business logo design

  60. Tattoo Paper says:

    Some very good advice. I think the most important thing to remember, which you have noted first, is to keep it simple. Remember that you will no doubt print your logo on a whole range of target media such as web images, signs, stationary, stickers. It is best to keep it simple and rememberable.

  61. Its always good to learn tips like you share for blog posting. As I just started posting comments for blog and facing problem of lots of rejections. I think your suggestion would be helpful for me. I will let you know if its work for me too.

  62. I’m in the process of designing a logo for my business, so this information is proving very useful, esp the tip about ur logo working in black and white, I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks!

  63. This is a really useful article, esp the tip about your logo being able to work in black and white as well.

  64. As a small business owner myself- I have found this post particularly interesting, you brought up some point I hadnt thought of, like the point about my logo working in black and white as well.

  65. Not sure that i agree entirely but i find all commentaries very insightful. I will check on this site again soon!

    1. Gerald,

      I’m good with you not agreeing. After all, if you always agreed with me 100% — what would we have to talk about?

      Drew

  66. yeah i actually agree with you 100% here, a businesses logo need to make a statement and have an impact. you only get 1 first impression and you have to make that count. it’s a mistake many small businesses make to only get a text/font logo and one that can cost them dearly

  67. Yes, I definitely agree with the article. Indeed one of the best ways to capture your clients is to have a good looking logo. Never underestimate the power of the eye to capture the mind and heart.

  68. An attractive logo is one basic factor to generate clients. But we have to take prime consideration an honest to goodness product offered to our clients to have them stay with the company.

  69. When you want advertise something, you do not forget that you are getting people to see your products. One of the best ways to practice is have a good logo.

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  72. Hack says:

    light to the issues that most affect this great nation of ours. God Bless.

  73. Not sure what you mean by “don’t use ordinary colors”

    1. maybe It means Coca Cola or Dominos can get away with a simple color, but when you want to convey a message with the logo, then your color has to speak for it

  74. Really like these tips. I had asked my designer to create 5 version of the same logo, just with different shades, and then had done a poll from my readers

  75. Agreed that a logo should be evergreen. And also rebranding and creating a new logo is a very costly affair.

  76. Really was not expecting that when I started off studying. Your concepts were easy to understand that I wondered why I never looked at it before. Glad to know that there’s an individual.

  77. iey buddy,this is one of the best posts that I’ve ever seen; you may include some more ideas in the same theme. I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post

  78. Many thanks for making the sincere effort to explain this. I feel fairly strong about it and would like to read more. If it’s OK, as you find out more in depth knowledge, would you mind writing more posts similar to this one with more information?

  79. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

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    I was looking for crucial information on this subject. The information was important as I am about to launch my own portal.

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  83. Kameleon says:

    I really like the fresh perpective you did on the issue.

  84. johnny says:

    Thanks for the making tips. It is a very useful information. I really appreciate the fact that you approach these topics from a stand point of knowledge and information. Please keep on posting.

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