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The opinions of entrepreneurs' contributors are their own.
How do you solve a problem like a boring logo? Let me tell you, uninspired logos are just the worst for a company trying to grow. You don't represent. They don't carry their weight. They are easy to forget or memorable for the wrong reasons.
Ultimately, they are the exact opposite of what we expect our logos to be for our brands.
On the flip side, every time I start brainstorming logos for my endeavors, I'm reminded of the crucial elements that are important in creating a logo that will stand the test of time. To make these points as easy to use as possible, we'll call them the 5 Cs of logo design.
When designing a great logo, the first thing that comes to mind is the character as it is important to represent not only the brand but also the personality behind it.
I like logos the same way I go about building my businesses. It's true that every company I've started can be traced back to me, so they embody some of the same qualities. But the purpose, goal, audience, and individual values of each company are different.
It's similar with logos. Whether you're creating logos for multiple companies with an umbrella theme or starting your very first project, go back to the character behind the company. I see it as trying to describe my brand as if it were a person. Likes and dislikes, quirks and unique traits, small details that add up. I found this enormously helpful in deciding between individual elements in logo iterations. Is my brand the type of "person" who would wear a mascot logo? Is it the guy who would use a serif or a sans-serif?
It is important to know the character of the brand in order to properly frame the character of the logo.
Related: Understanding Your Brand's Personality
Nobody wants a logo that makes the viewer scratch their head and say, "Huh?" Unfortunately, that happens – poor font choice or kerning can make the word mark difficult to read. Weird graphic choices could completely conflict with the brand's personality. A logo that looks like it belongs to a children's brand could completely lose its intended adult audience.
Clarity covers all of this, from the very function of the design to being easy to understand.
I always check the font that has been chosen for my logos to make sure the font will display well in different sizes and against different backgrounds. And it's helpful to get feedback from others about the style and design of the graphic just to make sure it doesn't look the way it shouldn't.
In addition to clarity, communication and accuracy of the messages are crucial to make your logo a worthy representation of your brand. And it is the design decisions you make that “speak” to your target audience.
The interesting thing about the communication between logo and consumer is that every single aspect of the logo design contributes to the overall message. It's not just a matter of the color or graphic style chosen – it's also the shape of the logo, the use of negative space in the logo design that it references whether it looks like the competition's logo. Everything.
Color is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate this. Different demographics tend to be attracted to different colors. So when you choose colors that speak directly to your target audience, you show that your brand is right for them. Choosing a color that your target audience doesn't like could tarnish the water.
While working on a new design, I take the time to double-check how each new element could change the overall feel of the logo. It's worth making sure the logo sends the right message and speaks to your target audience.
Related: The Secret To A Strong Brand Message? Focus.
If you're a serial entrepreneur, you may not have a bespoke logo design for every new business. And that's fine because it has never been easier to find simple design tools that you can use to customize an existing design. Of course, sites like Logodesign.net and crowdsourcing sites are my go-to for quick logos that still have their weight. You can have different preferences, but the idea is the same.
Don't forget to adapt them to the company. Customizable logos allow you to include your brand name, and most of them allow you to switch color palettes as well. It's easy to fall into the trap of just using whatever you can find and thinking that it's just a stopgap until the real logo is designed. But I would always emphasize that it is important to ensure that a stopgap measure fits the brand as well.
Related: Should a startup ever forego logo design?
Finally, I would like to talk about the aspect that really makes logo design unique: creativity.
It's so tempting to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to logos and just follow the current trends that are prevalent in the market. But I've seen logos prioritize trend over uniqueness and I would definitely advise anyone to focus on the creative aspect of their logo design.
Working with designers to create logos for my brands, I like to think about what motivated me to start the company, what the brand name is based on, what is evoked by the brand personality, maybe even what the spirit animal of my brand would be – anything deeply personal for the company can be a trigger for a creative logo design.
It's not just that uncreative design doesn't help your brand stand out. It's the fact that creative design is actually a marketing technique in its own right. Visual appeal is a great motivator, and with a unique, fun, clever, or unexpected focus, your logo can help turn the casual viewer into a new customer.
Logos old and new
Whether we're developing a logo for a brand new company or just taking a rebranding opportunity, it's always a good idea to think long-term.
For logo design, that means elements and styles that represent the brand we are now and the brand we hope to become. And it means designing on principles that won't change over time. Color, clarity, customization, communication and creativity – it's hard to go wrong when there is so much that can be true with the 5 Cs of logo design.