Logos are important. They’re a window into your brand; the silent, omnipresent face of your business. They can be part of the reason why someone clicks onto your website instead of your nearest competitor’s. They can make people trust you, or distrust you, or think you’re not worth their time. Logos can say a lot without saying anything at all.

A successful logo can do a lot of good for your business, and the key to a successful logo is good design. So here are 5 steps to designing a top-quality, effective, and attractive logo.

1 – Understand the business

Whether you’re designing for you own business or someone else’s, you must understand the core of the business. What does it stand for? Who is it aimed at? What are its core values? And what market does it serve?

When it comes to designing an effective logo, you can’t move forward without first understanding the basic tenets of the business-in-question. Otherwise, you won’t know where to begin. And when you do finally make a start on your design, you’ll likely be cobbling it together on a wing-and-a-prayer, using fonts and colours and visuals that don’t necessarily represent the business.    

By first understanding the brand, we can begin the design process with confidence and integrity.

That way we can laser-focus our creative efforts instead of throwing stones in the dark.

2 – Utilise the brand’s USP

All brands have a USP, whether it’s in your product, service, or just the way you do business. Communicating that USP is an extremely effective way of gaining new clients and building trust with existing ones. And, more often than not, there are ways of incorporating your USP into your logo design.

Probably the most common and widely recognised method of USP-logo integration is through the use of a tagline. Think of “Just Do It”, “Have It Your Way”, “Kids And Grown-Ups Love It So. . .”. What do all these taglines have in common? Not only are they instantly recognisable, but they effectively communicate a core principle of the brand that is directly related to USP.

What’s even more intelligent about the above examples is that, actually, their USPs aren’t really unique at all. Burger King isn’t the only fast food restaurant where you can order things exactly how you like them. Haribo aren’t the only sweets that both kids and grown-ups love. The point, however, is that they’re presented as USPs and communicated effectively.

3 –  Make it simple and memorable

When it  comes to design, simplicity and memorability go hand-in-hand. And when it comes to logo design specifically, there are few things as conducive to success.

There’s no end to the amount of logos that exist in the world. Whether we’re browsing the internet,  watching TV, or walking down the high street, we’re constantly exposed to brands and logos. So, naturally, we’re going to ignore the majority of them. And the ones we filter out will more than likely be the more complex, poorly designed, less striking ones. Even now, if you were put on the spot to think of an existing logo, you’d probably think of something along the lines of Apple, or Pepsi, or Coca-Cola. And it’s no coincidence that those logos also happen to be very simplistic.

So, in order to be memorable, your logo needs to be simple and recognisable. Your aim should be to make it identifiable with a single glance. Think: golden arches.

And if you can strip your logo all the way back to something entirely symbolic, all the better. If you can conceive of an image as stark and bold as, say, the iconic Nike tick, then it will always stick in people’s minds.

4 – Make it iconic

Speaking of iconic. . .

It might be a bit of a grandiose aspiration, but an iconic logo is a surefire way of securing brand recognition. Think of the most iconic logos in the world and they all have one thing in common: they’re wearable. And by wearable, we don’t just mean on T-shirts and caps, but on anything that’s ever out on display. So that’s calendars, pens, notepads, coasters, etc. These are all things that small businesses dabble in through direct marketing and networking.

Now call to mind the worst logo you’ve ever seen. If someone handed you a pen with that logo printed all over it, chances are you’d put it straight in the drawer and never use it. But the adverse is true as well. If you hand someone a nice pen with a beautiful, bold logo printed on it, they’ll think it’s a quality pen, and chances are they might use it.

From a small business perspective, this is what’s meant by “iconic”. So you might not have a wide enough reach for your logo to be truly iconic, but you can mimic iconic brands in terms of the quality and “wearability” of your logo’s design.

5 – Keep it relevant

When it comes to logo design, relevance can be divided into two sub-categories: aesthetic and values.

The actual look of your logo (aesthetic) must be relevant to the style and nature of your brand. An exaggerated (but useful) example would be to imagine an accountancy firm with a Comic Sans logo. That would definitely not be in-keeping with the nature of their business, and would be actively off-putting. So you need to think about what look fits your business best.

Then there’s value relevance, which involves incorporating your brand’s core beliefs and values into your logo. One of the best and most effective ways of communicating values is through the use of colours and shapes. And a classic (if slightly overused) example of this sort of design-value alignment is the use of green colours for an eco-friendly brand.

It’s all about the brand

For more on branding, why not check out some of our other posts: 5 Steps To A Successful Brand, What’s In A Logo? How To Create The Perfect Image For Your Brand, and 7 Simple And Effective Logo Designs To Inspire Your Inner Minimalist.