What your logo should be and what it shouldn't.
Updated: Jun 11, 2018
As a graphic designer, I’ve seen a whole lot of logos. Some good, some bad, and some reeeeallly bad. Over the years, I’ve realized the struggle is real for those who have small businesses (or non-profits. Dear lord, if I could only help all the non-profits & their incredibly sad logos.) but aren’t graphic designers or can’t afford one.
So I’ve decided to put together a list of dos and don’ts in order to help the non-designers out there. It’s pretty simple, but if you follow these rules, you’ll know what your logo should be and how to use it.
Ok first of all, the shouldn’ts.
I’m sorry ppl but try your best to stay away from the trends. I can’t tell you how many rebrands I’ve done because the old logo was made in the 90s grunge era or because they used a trendy font. Trends come and go, and you don’t want to create a logo that’s going to have to be updated every couple years. Always go by the rule that less is more. Simplistic is best. Trends are temporary.
Second thing: Don’t EVER stretch, alter, or suffocate your logo. Stretching & altering are pretty self-explanatory, but how do you suffocate a logo, you ask? You don’t give it enough room to breathe. Logos are actually claustrophobic, and you got to surround them with white space in order for them to shine. See below for an example.
Third thing: Don’t be a copycat. You want your logo to be unique and stand out, just like you & your business. Not to mention, you’ll want to stay faaaaar away from Copyright and Trademark infringement. Never use stock images, clip art, or sites like fiverr.com. They may be cheap, but you get exactly what you pay for: an overused, non-original, generic logo that won’t be beneficial or unique to your brand. You would never pay a contractor $5 to build a foundation for a house, so don’t degrade the creative industry by paying as little as possible for your logo. Ok sorry (I’ve recently had some beef with this), end rant.
Last thing, don’t make your logo in Photoshop. This is more of a technical thing, but a logo needs to be a vector first and foremost (a file that can be enlarged to no end without any pixilation.) You can eventually make your logo into a jpeg or png for use, but you’ll need to have the original editable file (Illustrator - .ai file) if you want your logo to last.
Ok, now for the Shoulds!
First, when making your logo (or evaluating your current one) ask yourself if it represents the look, feel, and meaning of your brand. Is your brand elegant? Modern? Professional? Laid-back? Is your target audience mostly male? Female? Children? Choose fonts, colors, and shapes that are centered around how you want to present yourself to the world. The end goal is to make a memorable, unique logo that will connect with your followers and build trust.
Second, You want to create a timeless logo, but you also need to create something that can be used in a variety of ways. There’s a list of rules that I typically follow when making a logo. Does it look good in Black and white? Is it readable when small? Is it still visually interesting when big? Can it be put over a colorful background and still be visible? It’s important to take into account all these varieties while still staying consistent. (which is my next point!)
Consistency is key to connecting & building trust with your audience. This is pretty obvious, but make sure and have your logo on your business card, letterhead, envelopes, and profile photos if necessary. If this sounds intimidating, you might not be proud of your logo. If you’re not proud of it, you’re going to dread showing it to the world. In order to stay consistent, I would create a brand guide with all the logo options, colors, fonts, and design elements. This will keep you and your business consistent & accountable to your brand.
When you’re consistent, you begin to be memorable to your audience.
Welp, I feel like I just ranted about my logo frustrations for a solid hour, but I hope that was helpful! I love giving people free advice when it comes to logos, so if you ever have a question or need a second pair of eyes on your own, just shoot me an email! Hannah@giveten.co
Until next time, my friends!
Xo – Hannah @ Give Ten