Do you want to make your own logo?
Even though a logo can be very simple — sometimes, just a symbol or a few letters — it takes a lot of thought and intentionality to create a great one.
You have to understand your brand, what you want to portray with your logo, and how it fits into your overall brand identity. Once you’ve figured that out, it helps to know what makes a good logo. With that understanding in mind, you can gather inspiration and create a logo that fits your brand perfectly and that’s different from anything else out there.
Here’s the eight-part process I use to create logos for my clients. You can use these steps to make a logo for yourself, as well.
Part 1: Define your brand
The first part of logo creation is defining your brand.
As I mentioned above, deeply understanding your brand is an essential first step to creating a logo that represents you and what you have to offer your clients.
Related Reading: What is the difference between a logo and a brand? [link]
In order to define your brand, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who is your target market?
- What is your story behind why you started this business/product?
- What do you value?
- What makes your business or product unique?
- What is the mood or personality of your brand?
When I create a logo for a client, I give them a detailed questionnaire [link] that includes these questions, as well as many others that help them think about their brand. Once they have a deep understanding of their story, values, and what makes them unique, I can create a logo that conveys those values and ideas.
In addition to understanding what drives your brand and business, it’s also essential that you develop a clear picture of your target market. You want your logo to represent you, and at the same time, to clearly communicate to your ideal customers. I find it very helpful to create a persona or character that represents your target audience. This helps you create a logo that speaks to them and what they care about. A great logo both showcases your business and also speaks to the people you want to work with.
Part 2: Research your competitors
Once you have a good understanding of your brand, it’s time to research your competitors. You want to research your competitors to make sure your logo stands out from other logos in your niche. It will also help you figure out what makes you unique in your field.
Here’s the process I recommend:
- Create a list of at least 5 of your competitors
- For each one, write down:
- What is their tagline?
- What makes them different? Is it obvious?
- Do they have a business “story”? What is it?
- What is their logo? (Copy and paste these into the document if you can.)
Find out as much as you can about your competitors. The more you know about them, the less likely it is that your logo will be similar to one of theirs. Remember, the point of this exercise is to make sure your logo is different, NOT to copy their ideas.
Part 3: Know what makes a good logo
Now that you have a good sense of how your business is different from others in your field, and you have a handle on the values, stories, and ideas behind your brand, it’s time to dive into the craft of the logo.
That begins with understanding what makes a good logo.
A good logo design is:
- True to your brand
To cement these ideas in your mind, look at some of your favorite logos and analyze whether they have these attributes.
Example: The Apple logo
[insert logo here]
Is it simple?
Yes. The shape of the apple with a bite out of it has just 2 shapes and is only one color.
Is it unique?
Yes. No other computer or tech company logo looks like it.
Is it memorable?
Yes. The second you see the Apple logo, you can connect it to the company.
Is it true to the brand?
Apple’s brand values uniqueness. They strive to be different from other companies in their field. They also value simplicity and usability. Their products are meant to be user friendly, so that even the most tech ignorant people can pick them up and use them. The apple with a bite taken out of it conveys these values well.
Is it versatile?
Yes. Because of the simplicity of the design, it can be recreated in many different colors and on different types of products.
Do this exercise with logos you love or even with your competitors’ logos that you just researched. It will help guide you when you go to create your own logo.
Part 4: Gather inspiration for your logo
Now, it’s time to jump into the creative process!
Before you start creating your logo, explore and gather inspiration for it. You’ll look at shapes, designs, photos, colors, and images that will help you get inspired to create your logo.
Follow this process:
- Look at the ideas you came up with for your brand and search for related words on Pinterest and/or Google.
- Note the images, designs, and symbols that come up that you like and that connect with your concept
- Save them into a folder or on a private Pinterest board.
Remember, you’re not going to use these images in your logo, but rather, as a jumping off point for creating your logo.
Part 5: Choose your logo components
Logos have a combination of the following 3 components:
In this phase, you’ll decide whether you want your logo to be text, a symbol, or a combination of both. You’ll also choose the colors for your logo.
Each of these choices should be made with your brand identity in mind.
For the symbol or shape, look at the inspiration folder or Pinterest board you created in the last step. Sketch out some shapes or symbols inspired by the images in your folder. You can import these into your computer later and modify them until you have a symbol you love. My favorite way to do this is to use Adobe Capture (link). It allows you to capture a drawing, import it into Illustrator, and then change and play with it.
Typography and color are both subjects that deserve their own blog posts, and I’ll be sharing posts on them in the next few weeks. Until then, here are some resources you can use to better understand typography and color:
What Font Should I Use? 5 Principles for Choosing and Using Typefaces from Smashing Magazine
Part 6: Put your logo together
Take your brand components and combine them into different versions of a logo. Don’t be afraid to play and try different things!
Pro Tip: Do this in Adobe Illustrator so that you can export it as the correct file type once you’re done.
Place your symbol in different places around your text. Put it above your text, then to the left, then to the right.
Play around with your text kerning (i.e. the space between your letters). Try different sizes of text. Make your logo in black and white before testing different colors in it.
Use your intuition to guide you until you have a few different versions of logos that you like.
Part 7: Narrow it down
Once you have a few different logo versions, it’s time to narrow it down.
Here are a few ways to do this:
- Record your own thoughts and feelings about each logo. What comes up for you when you look at each one?
- Ask a few friends to tell you how they feel when they look at your logo.
- Go into Facebook groups or forums where your target audience hangs out and ask them for feedback about which one they like.
Based on your own intuition and on the feedback you receive, pick the logo you want to use.
Part 8: Export your logo
Now that you have your logo, it’s time to export it!
Make sure that you export your logo in EPS format. EPS files are vectors, which means that they can be resized to any size, and that they can be opened in many different types of design software. They also don’t have backgrounds, so you won’t have an annoying square of white behind your logo.
You should be able to use your logo in many different places — your website, business cards, etc. Exporting it in EPS will make this possible.
These 8 steps aren’t quick and simple, but they will help you create a logo that is unique, memorable, and true to your brand.
If you want an in-depth course on this process, with detailed instructions, worksheets and videos for each step, click here.