Making a logo is a difficult process to explain because it can be done in so many different ways. A logo is a professional piece of art that quickly expresses the feeling, style, and message of your brand. Our method is based on several simple steps. First comes concept creation. then black and white rendering, color pallet picking, then final revision and selection.
We like to begin by looking at some inspirational logos to take note of what makes them so amazing. This way we do not actually copy them but, we can take inspiration from their ideas and make them my own. This also gives me a better way to gauge my competition.
Concept and Creation
This is the first step to creating a strong and professional logo. Start by collecting all of the ideas that you have to pull from. If you would like to include letters in the logo then try to find a way to display them in a creative way. Or if your business is more based on an action or an object then try to find a way to display that in an artful and unique manner.
For example, if you are trying to make a logo for a wedding photography business then you could start by listing all of the important ideas that come with the craft. Things like:
- Wedding Ring
- The Kiss
- A Camera
- A Wedding Cake
- The Ring Bearer
- Camera Lense
- Holding Hands
- and much more
Having this list easily available will allow you to tap into your creativity more easily so that you can easily mix and combine ideas to create new and better ones. Before you get started drawing some simple logo ideas ask yourself some questions about the feel of your business. Logos are a great way to communicate this feeling to the world. If you want your business to be aggressive and loud then a sharper and more dangerous looking logo would be better. Likewise if for this wedding photographer example you would like your business to feel sincere and professional then your list might look something like this:
Putting the Pencil to Paper
Now that you have two lists it is time to start drawing some ideas. Try to keep the feeling of the logo in mind because it will need to convey more than just a simple idea. The overall goal of a logo is to show potential customers all that you are as a business. A logo that is too simple can scare away business, but so can a logo that is too complex. A good rule of mind is to keep your ideal customer in mind. A wedding photographer can probably make their logo more complex than a plumber should. When people are checking out your business the logo will be one of the first things that they will judge your work by. So sketch as many ideas as you can. Get crazy with it, combine things you never thought about before just keep drawing and keep thinking. When you cannot think of anymore we will move onto the next step.
Black and White Rendering
In this next step, we are going to take those drawings and bring them to the next level by recreating them inside of a computer. This will work to refine any imperfections in your logo so far leaving behind only a crisp design. In this step keep all of your work in black and white that way there are fewer variables to consider. In the next step, we will decide on colors and color matching.
To being, you will need to import your drawing into some kind of computer software such as Adobe Illustrator. If you do not have Illustrator then check out Vectr.com as it is a free online alternative. It cannot do quite everything, but it is powerful enough to handle most things with logo creation.
Creating Your First Digital Design
Start by tracing your logo with the pen tool. Don’t be too committed to following your rough design as there will probably be many imperfections. Instead, work to perfect it. Follow this same pattern with each shape. Once they are all drawn output them side by side and you can begin to get an idea of which ones are your favorite and which ones are not as good. That is okay, they are all a part of the process. If any new ideas come to you as well don’t be afraid to create them as well
If you chose to do a logo more based on fonts then at this time look around and try to find some free fonts that you like on 1001 Free Fonts. Once you find some free fonts, you will be able to download and use them easily. Keep in mind to match the feeling and the idea with text as well as with shapes.
Once you feel that you have the shapes/text refined as much as you can we will move onto the next step of color pallet picking.
Color Pallet Picking
Now at this stage, we have come a long way. We have created some concepts, and we have chosen our fonts. Our designs are coming underway but they are still not complete yet. We still need to choose appropriate colors that match our black and white logo as well as our branding.
To begin with, think about how many different colors you would like to have on your logo. As a general rule try to keep it under 4 any more than that and it can look like too much is going on. The best balance of colors is normally 2 and sometimes 3. This just helps the eye to focus on the important parts and ignore the more unimportant parts so that customers will not be confused in any way.
Choosing Your Primary Color
We start by picking your primary color of the brand. This will be the main color that will most likely fill the bulk of your logo. You can start picking this one by just looking back to your list of feelings. Then ask yourself what colors would work to make your customers feel that way. To create a logo for the wedding photographer they might work with: white, pink, light blue, or a light yellow. All of these colors are very warm, inviting, and sincere. In contrast, a lawyer would probably want to be looking at black, grey, and brown to show their strong professionalism.
Try applying these colors that you have brainstormed onto your various black and white logos. When you do you will start to get a feel for what colors are bringing out your ideal brand the most and what colors do not quite fit what you are going for. If you are making a single color logo then your work is nearly complete and you can move onto picking a background color.
If your logo is going to be multiple colors then we will repeat the previous step in order to find a complementing color. This second color we will call out accent, as it will draw the eye to the most important part of your logo. In order to find a color that matches use this excellent tool Coolors.co online. It helps you find your colors complement as it can difficult to find exactly what color goes with your original base color. Once you have found the best match apply it to the logo and we will move on to the next step. If your logo has three colors than repeat this step one more time.
Picking the Background Color
Now that you have the foreground colors chosen the next step is to choose what background color emphasizes them the best. Remember that a harsher contrast will come across more rough and strong. For our wedding photographer, we will want to use a softer color that does not create a huge amount of contrast. Some simple options would be to make the logo white and placed on a blue or pink background. Or likewise, we could place a pink logo on a white background instead. Work with these ideas until you have an idea for what is working best for your logo. Once you have it complete then we will move onto our final revision.
Now that you have been through all of the final steps take some time to look over all of your previous designs, from your sketches until now. Take note of all of the ideas that collected to create your final product and ask yourself if it is missing anything else. In most situations, there is a small amount of detail that can be added in order to make your logo pop just a little more. If there is nothing that can be added then look to see if there is anything that should be removed or altered. Check the colors and try to see if you can find any issue with the current design.
Show your logo to some close family and friends, and ask their opinions. What do they think of it? Ask them how it makes them feel and try to see if they say any of the words that you planned in the beginning. If they say similar words then you have done a great job making a logo that conveys the correct ideas. If they say completely different words then it might be back to the drawing board.
Completing Your Masterpiece
Logos are a difficult thing because they are so small and yet they have to convey so much to a potential customer. Even look at Nike, it may seem like just a small checkmark but it actually implies so much more than that. To begin with, it shows speed like the strike of a foot hitting the ground and flicking backward. Next the name “Nike” actually is the name of the Greek god of victory. Their brand is the perfect example of something that seems simple but is actually a symbol of speed, victory, and athleticism with just one little checkmark.
So take your time making your logo. Sleep on it for a while, take a break and come back. It is not something that needs to be rushed. If it is then it might end up looking amateur or under thought out. If you ever need any help or further assistance creating your logo let us know here. We would be happy to help you with your design process. Good luck designing out there!