Powerful tips for creating the perfect logo
A logo is, without much exaggeration at all, the visual manifestation of a brand’s identity. Logos drive brand awareness and distinguish one brand from the next in the minds of audiences. They will make that fabled first impression; a long-lasting one if successful, and the last one if they fail. As one of the top digital marketing agencies NYC offers, we at Digital Dot have seen both unfold manifold. To help you in your pursuit of visual excellence, in this article we’ve compiled the most substantive tips for creating the perfect logo.
Logos and branding
First, let us briefly highlight the significance of logos in terms of branding your business. Many brands seem to overlook this connection, in turn paying little attention to their logos or opting for lackluster DIY.
Branding is of course a lengthy process that extends far beyond one’s logo. Still, the two relate in a somewhat symbiotic way. The logo spearheads first impressions, whereas overall branding fuels its connotations in the minds of viewers.
To contextualize this relationship, consider some of the places where your logo might reside:
- Digital copy
- Social media avatars
- Social media post preview icons
- Influencer material; thumbnails, post icons, etc
Yes, this list did somewhat focus on social media. That’s not just because we have to, as social media marketing NYC experts, but also because branding does increasingly rely on such pursuits. Their significance as regards branding can simply not be overstated, and your logo will spearhead your identity on those channels.
Copy, color, and storytelling: creating the perfect logo
With the above context in mind, what makes a perfect logo? “Perfection” per se is a strong term, but an effective logo needs to possess the following universal qualities:
- Visual appeal
- A fitting representation of its brand
It’s this final point that makes logos highly subjective by nature. Where one brand needs a stern, serious look, another needs a flashy, quirky, fun one. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula, nor can there be one.
Still, some such qualities are universal. Other tried-and-tested logo design practices also hold massive, timeless appeal, or at least offer very reasonable suggestions. And some, like careful reviews, are simply necessary – as we’ll see right at the end.
#1 Embrace the psychology of colors
The fundamental first step should always come with minding the psychology of colors. We’re highly visual creatures, and colors play a crucial role in our perception. They inform our subconscious feelings, and in turn, help shape our first impressions – good and bad alike.
For this initial step, consider which feelings you wish and need your logo to evoke. Examine industry trends, A/B test your choices with engaged audiences and keep your brand identity at the forefront. Creating the perfect logo is an ongoing process; if your identity changes over time your logo needs to reflect it.
This final note bears stressing because brand identities do change over time. Sometimes they do so due to internal culture and values. Audiences change as well, and trends do inform color connotations and appeal. For a very notable example, consider the journey of Apple’s famous logo over the years:
They very quickly settled for their logo’s silhouette, and have kept it consistent for over 4 decades. Yet color-wise they’ve explored a rainbow canvas, light blue, variations of white and silver, and stern black – twice.
#2 Let your logo breathe
Color aside, your logo needs to ensure readability; it must breathe. This is of course highly subjective as well, so you’d need a case-by-case lens to view this through.
Logos may often feature anthropomorphic elements. They may frame their brand’s image through them, in tandem with their taglines and stylistic flair. In those cases, they need ample space for these key elements to capture the eye. Consider the example of Savant Yoga’s logo:
Simplicity aside, this logo carefully frames its main element with space and very discreet secondary ones. Much like Apple’s logo, it “breathes”; there’s no visual clutter to strain or confuse the eye. Regardless of one’s brand identity, there are rarely, if ever, any viable reasons to compromise this quality.
#3 Rein in your tagline
The example above also highlights the need for relative symmetry when creating the perfect logo. Another subjective factor, yes, but one worth highlighting.
In brief, any logo that features taglines will need to rein them in as well, for much the same reason. A tagline cannot, and should not, overshadow a brand name at any time. Instead, it should always be shorter and less prominent, acting complementarily instead of stealing the proverbial spotlight.
This seemingly minor detail bridges readability, simplicity, and brand representation through a visual hierarchy. In fact, it’s such a crucial element that Wix, the most popular website builder in the world today, emphasizes it:
#4 Be literal
Next, you may explore more abstract concepts like telling a story through your logo. Conversely, you may opt for absolutely abstract, minimal designs and let your branding fuel their connotations. Professional web design services New York like ours will often oscillate between the two to pinpoint which works best for each brand.
What both of those approaches share is the viable path of being very literal with your logo. Depending on its execution it can drive storytelling or serve as a unique signifier for branding to infuse with meaning. Consider such juggernauts’ logo examples as Apple and Shell or lesser-known but still effective ones like Electric Box’s:
#5 Keep it simple…
But perhaps creating the perfect logo for your brand can’t follow that route. If so, you may opt for the second option; complete abstraction. Simple shapes and little flair best embody the quality of simplicity, after all.
For a perfect example of this approach, consider the logo of Deutsche Bank:
This logo arguably says nothing. It offers no clues on offerings, it doesn’t tell a story, and it doesn’t seek to impress. Then what does it do? It exemplifies simplicity and fosters trust through it. In terms of color psychology, it uses the ever-prominent white to project honesty and remain easy on the eyes. Simultaneously, it opts for blue as the main color; the color of trust, quite literally.
#6 …but keep an eye on detail
Of course most brands have neither the position nor the audience of Deutsche Bank. Their logos may need to impress with smarts and fun, if not with stark colors and popping shapes. For them, using complex designs will need to hinge on perfecting the details. In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “details make perfection”.
For a great example of layered details we may examine Amazon’s logo:
The curved arrow crafts a smile, of course, which primes the viewer for a positive experience. But notice how it stretches from A to Z; a subtle reassurance that the experience will make them smile from start to finish.
Crafting the perfect logo may not need such deep details, of course. FedEx found enormous success by simply hiding an arrow shape within their copy, which also suggests swiftness in delivery:
#7 Always peer-review your logos
Finally, details may also directly sabotage a logo. If audiences are keen enough to pick up on such enhancing details, even if often subconsciously, they’re certainly keen enough to pick up wholly unintended ones too.
Needless to say, such outcomes can prove truly catastrophic. For an infamous example of unintended logo connotations, we may present one the Brazilian Institute of Oriental Studies used – briefly:
This logo too followed well-established best practices; white space, simplicity, stark color differences. Yet, this unfortunate choice of shapes and positioning created entirely different connotations, with understandably bad outcomes.
Such examples abound online, which makes stressing this practice imperative; always peer-review your logos. What you don’t notice others might – and those others might best be your peers, not your audiences.