Design Inspiration | 5 tips to good logo design

This post is designed to give you design inspiration and tips on good logo design. Going through the main steps and processes, as well as standard rules and what not to do – all to help you design professional logos.

1. Universal Rules

These are the main elements of a good professional logo:

  1. Memorable and easy to describe
    If the logo isn’t memorable it’s not effective. If you can’t describe the logo to others it also isn’t effective. Some of the best logos are simple and easy to remember (see the end of this post for a download of good logos).
  2. Effective in black and white
    Colour is secondary to the design. If the design doesn’t work in black and white then there is no way adding colour will save it and make it any better.
  3. Scalable
    Logos need to be able to work in any size so make sure you can scale the logo down to fit on a business card, for example, and still retain visibility.

Secondary Rules – on top of this it is nice if the logo is also unique, grabs your attention and has longevity – but aren’t essential for a good logo.

Remember for most companies the logo gives people a first impression of the company and when creating a new brand is the starting point from what you build from.

2. Research good and bad logo designs

Good Logos – now you know the rules you can distinguish good and bad logos. By looking at a well designed logo you can not only get inspiration but insight into if your design is going to be a hit. Lets look back at one of the most popular logos ever – The Nike Swoosh: Believe it or not this logo was designed back in the 70s by a student Carolyn Davidson and was paid just $35. It does a great job of communicating the brand value and philosophy internationally and of course fits the three main rules above.

Bad Logos – on the other side of the coin it is also important to understand what bad logos are like. Take this logo below for instance. Its from one of those sites that will create you a “so called” professional logo online for you. Lets go through the 3 steps to see if it breaks any rules:
Is it memorable and easy to describe?
Would it be as effective in black and white?
Is it as effective it if was half the size or less?

3. Get to know the software

This is key. You need to be able to master a suitable vector design application. My preferred choice is Adobe Illustrator and I don’t believe there is any other software out there that is as easy or as capable as Illustrator.

Here are some good tutorial sites:

4. Follow a set process when designing

Most designers follow a typical process for creating logo designs – something typical would be like this:

  1. The Brief
    This involves finding out from the client exactly what their philosophy is and what they are trying to achieve from the logo – using a questionnaire is a good way to get all the information needed.
  2. The Brainstorming
    Research and brainstorming builds on finding out more about your client and their business – looking in to the industry, history, what sets them apart, their future, current brand and of course competitors that they might have. With competitors its good to get together with the clients and critique their logos. From this you should be able to nail the style they want.
  3. The Concepts
    This is where your creativity should start to flow. Based on the above you should be able to start drafting up a number of designs. How you do this is entirely up to you, some designers will use a sketchbook others will do it directly on a computer – work out which works best for you and doesn’t hinder your creativity. You should be looking at a minimum of 2 design variations.
  4. The Time-out
    Taking time out to reflect on what you have done is important. It is easy to get bored or tired from what you are working on and lose the enthusiasm. It is also a good point to discuss what you have with others who aren’t linked directly to the project.
  5. The Presenting
    When you are happy with a concept or a number of concepts it times to discuss with the client to make sure you are on the right lines. Albeit this depends on the route you have taken. For some designs the clients might have an exact idea of what they want and will guide – whereas other times the clients want you to guide them. Either way there will be fine tuning that will be done after this stage, particularly if the clients are guiding you.
  6. The End
    Based on all the feedback you should now have a completed professional logo and delivered to the client in a scalable file like illustrator .ai or .eps.

5. Get inspired

Sometimes you need a boost to get your creativity flowing or to just get some inspiration. I always find it useful to look through sites that display other designers work or to simply look through a magazine. Here are a few websites that will help:

Extras

Below show one of the latest logo design I have designed:

Here is a PDF download showing a number of good logo designs: