A logo is more than a visual representation of your business, product, program, or even service. When done right, it will also become one of your most valuable assets, as it is placed on everything and opinions about you and your business will be formed based on a single glance.
While you will most likely work with a designer to create your logo, it is important that you educate yourself so you can not only communicate clearly with your designer, but make an informed decision when selecting your final mark. There are three areas that you need to understand before hiring a designer to design your logo:
1. Logo Color Palette
Your brand’s color palette and the colors used in your logo should not be based on what you like, but on what your audience resonates with the most. The number of colors in your logo should be kept to a minimum, aiming at two, maybe three, while the overall brand color palette may contain several more. You must also understand the meaning, implied message, and history of the colors you are using. The main brand colors used in your logo should enhance, reinforce, support, and help communicate your core values and your brand story.
Remember to test your logo in black and white. Are the edges between colors still clear and are the different elements of the logo still distinguishable when color is removed? Also test your logo in color and black and white at large and small sizes. Review the small versions of your logo closely to look for areas where the colors blend together or become hard to distinguish from each other.
2. Logo Shape
Your logo should use or abstractly represent a shape. The human brain loves to be able to complete things and identify things, and it can do it very quickly. By leveraging white space in your logo to create easily recognizable shapes, you will speed up and increase recognition of your brand in the minds of your audience. If possible incorporate a shape with an inherent meaning that matches up with your brand story, or a hidden shape that reinforces your message like the FedEx logo.
Try to avoid elements that are too thin and light weight, as these elements tend to disappear or become very hard to see at small sizes. Remember to test in color and black and white ensure both the design elements in the logo and the white space between them are still easily identified and recognized at both large and small sizes.
3. Logo Font
Selecting the right font for your brand and logo is critical, as fonts, like shapes and color, also have their own implied meaning. For example:
- A serif font like Liberation Serif (download) is seen as timeless, classic, traditional, stable, elegant, historic, corporate
- A sans-serif font like Sansus Webissimo (download) is seen as contemporary, innovative, modern, masculine, forward thinking, progressive, simple
- A script font like Exmouth (download) is seen as elegant, personal, refined, sophisticated, feminine, polished
- A handwritten font like Redstar Regular (download) is seen as casual, comfortable, relaxed, easy going, personal
- A decorative font like Androgyne (download) is seen as fun, unique, attractive, eye-catching, out-of-the-box
Be sure to select a font that matches your style of business. For example, a Kickboxing studio wouldn’t use a script font, and an etiquette company wouldn’t use a handwritten font.
When selecting the fonts for your logo, limit yourself to no more than two and make sure they are distinctly different but complimentary. There needs to be contrast between the selected fonts. If the fonts are too close in style, it will look like you used the wrong front by mistake.
Remember: Your logo is much more that something that looks pretty and uses your favorite colors. It is comprised of colors, shapes, and fonts that, when selected carefully, have the power to enhance, reinforce, and support your brand story and create a more meaningful connection with your audience.