There are many rules involving logo design and great deal of work can be put into it – if the budget is right. Under some circumstances, when bootstrapping or just test-driving an idea, one might find himself in a kind of premature need of a logo.
A well experienced designer and deep insight into the brand under question are necessary but not always handy. So what is there to be done?
1. Understand The Basics
Your logo is your absolute intellectual mind agent. It will be stored in the brains of those who came across it and unconsciously bind emotions and information to it.
The symbolic nature of a logo gets processed up to 60.000 times faster in the human brain. A well designed logo should be able to trigger a given set of targeted emotions, that represent, or resemble qualities of your brand, and do so in less than 10 seconds.
2. Identify Your Message: A Game Of Words
If you have little idea of what those qualities are, you don’t need to worry, just trust your own emotion. You can try a little word game to navigate yourself through. Note ten words that come to your mind when thinking about your brand and let them rest for a while.
Pick them up again, one by one, adding one additional word that pops up, for every word of your initial list. Don’t overthink it or rationalize. Just articulate your impressions.
You should now have 20 words that you need to google separately, adding the keyword “logo” or “vector” to each one of it. Turn to image search and store or pin (Pinterest is a great tool for such kind of work) every logo you find interesting.
Once you have gathered a collection run a league and get yourself a handful of finalists: your top 5 or 10 of favorite logos. Add some competitor or relevant niche logos and spend some time studying them.
3. Be Aware Of The Perceived Message
Don’t forget that logos are carriers of a message. What others will make of it is not always what the creator means to convey. You need to keep an open eye and cross check what others might understand or feel when seeing your logo.
Best practice is to share your designs and thoughts with others and get their feedback. Inviting some friends into your Game of Words is also a good idea.
4. Think About Your Logo
I. Pick A Logo Color
There is only one really hard decision you need to make, and that has to do with color. Read a bit about the psychology of colors and pick your palette. Two colors should be enough, three would be a maximum. If major competitors exist, make sure not to choose their color.
II. Pick A Logo Font
If your brand name is long consider abbreviating it. If it’s short enough and kind of unique, you can consider turning the word into a symbol with no additional icon.
Think of Coca Cola or FedEx. These types of logos are called WordMarks (or Lettermarks if name is abbreviated eg: IBM) and are actually just fonts, enriched with a twitch that serves as a symbol.
III. Pick A Logo Tone
The second decision you need to take, has to do with your logo shape. In the examples given above note that Coca Cola is decorated with smooth curves while FexEx is written strict, straight and forward, cultivating emotions of enjoyment and trust respectively.
The shape of your logo sets your tone and resembles your basic principles. This is something you will also need to decide upfront.
IV. Pick A Brandmark (Or Not)
The most popular logo category would be Combination Marks, consisting of both LetterMarks and self standing BrandMarks (eg Apple or Twitter). A brandmark can be pretty much everything you like: definite, abstract, still or in motion, and will greatly enrich your message.
There is one more logo construct you need to be aware of, that of the Emblem or Seal. This is a variation that may consist only of lettermarks (Harley Davidson) or incorporate additional brandmars (Starbucks).
5. Stay Focused
Once you have decided your type, color and tone, put aside your favorite logo list and get into designing your logo. Don’t get over your head with it. Your purpose is to design a tool, that will serve a given set of goals. You are not creating the best logo of all time.
You can put art or get creative if you feel like it, but you don’t need to push it, especially if you are not ready. You can always modify or even completely change your logo, even if you are a big company. Check Mark’s article on that matter here.
6. Get Some Starting Experience
Get involved into the making of a couple of logos, just for the fun of it. Will help you take some heat off. Use Render Forest Logo Maker to create a logo for a party or a facebook group, or even an imaginary service or product. Putting some logos into content will greatly help you gain some insight into the subject.
7. Stick with RenderForest
If you are not willing to master some serious designing software like adobe AI, or employ a designer, Renderforest is a sound solution. It’s not as creative as a blank paper would be, but it will provide you with a professional error-free logo within minutes.
Renderforest also provides one of the best animation makers in the market today that will get your branding strategy one step ahead, in no time.