Some people view branding as little more than an afterthought—some nice words or a pretty picture with which to “decorate” your website or products. But in reality, it’s one of the most important tools for driving sales, and a huge part of that is designing a unique, memorable logo. Humans are visual creatures, and if you want customers to emotionally connect with your business, you’ll need an easily digestible visual identity that stands out from your competition.
Designing a great logo isn’t as complicated as it might appear at first glance. Here are the basic steps you should follow if you want a logo that will truly help drive sales.
1. Map out your brand
Before you can create the “face” of your brand, you have to firmly establish what your brand is. If your business were a person, what sort of personality would they have? Who are your customers, and why do they buy your products? These are all things you’ll need to keep in mind.
Consider writing out a creative brief for yourself. Normally these are what you would give a graphic designer who’s creating your logo for you, but they can also help you organise and solidify the aspects of your brand that will be most relevant to your logo. And if you do end up consulting a professional designer, having a creative brief on hand already will make the work much easier.
2. Seek out inspiration
If you’re feeling completely lost when it comes to what your logo should look like, start by exploring what other artists have done. Design galleries like Behance and boards on Pinterest are excellent places to start.
You should particularly consider taking a close look at the logos of some of your competitors. Of course, you don’t want to plagiarise someone else’s idea, but it’s a good idea to get a sense of what other businesses are doing—not only to see what techniques are working for others, but to ensure that your logo stands out in a crowd.
3. Decide on a color scheme
Depending on where you are in the branding process, you may already have your business’s colour scheme firmly established. If not, you’ll want to choose one because there’s a good chance your logo will use the same colours.
First, familiarise yourself with the colour wheel and the relationship between different hues. There are several different methods of achieving colour harmony. Your colour scheme could be any of the following:
Complementary – colours opposite one another on the colour wheel
Analogous – colours next to one another on the colour wheel
Split-Complementary – one base colour and two colours adjacent to its complementary colour
Triadic – three colours equidistant from one another on the colour wheel
Tetradic – two pairs of complementary colours
You should also remember to select colours that are reflective of your brand’s personality and the products you provide. The principles of colour psychology work well as basic guidelines, but don’t treat them as strict rules. Just because your logo is green doesn’t mean that people will automatically assume you sell gardening equipment.
4. Create some rough sketches
Don’t feel like you need to get your logo right on the first try. Brainstorm by creating several different rough sketches of potential logos. For many people, this is the hardest step—to actually put pen to paper (or mouse cursor to Illustrator canvas) and make your ideas a reality. Remember that there are no “wrong” answers here; you can revise and refine in the next stages of the process.
5. Narrow down the best features
Now that you have several different possible logos, pick out the features that you like the most. Keep in mind that you may need to “kill your darlings.” You can’t necessarily use every feature you like if they don’t work well with one another.
Imagine cutting out your favourite facial features from pictures of beautiful celebrities and putting them all together to create a new face; it’s probably not going to be nearly as attractive as you’d hope. Instead, pick out one or two elements that you really like and build a new logo that supports those elements, keeping the basic principles of logo design in mind.
6. Get feedback from others
Once you have a final draft that you’re fairly happy with, it’s time to get a second (or third) opinion). But asking for feedback does have certain pitfalls that you should stay aware of. Focus on your most important clients and colleagues, the people who are most passionate about your business. If you try to make something that appeals to the most possible people at once, you may end up with a bland lowest-common-denominator logo that doesn’t really appeal to anyone.
Also, be sure to consider the ways in which you plan to market your business. A logo that looks great on your website won’t necessarily work out so well on paper, so if you intend to make use of mailers or other printed collateral, it’s a good idea to consult with a logo designer with experience in printing.
7. Test and reevaluate
Sooner or later, you’re going to have to put your new logo out into the world. Test it the same way you would any new website feature; A/B split testing is a great way to go. If the new logo isn’t giving you the results you want, you may need to make some changes.
Your goal should be to make a logo that’s as evergreen as possible, but even so, you may find that a redesign will be necessary as the marketplace evolves. Don’t constantly update your logo every week; that will just make your brand seem chaotic and unreliable. But if your business undergoes a radical change or suddenly acquires a new audience or new competition, it may be time to make a change.
Having the perfect logo won’t magically make your business a success, but the having the wrong logo can hinder you severely. It is, after all, the first impression of your business that many clients will receive. Creating a visual identity can be a lot of fun—just be sure to take it seriously, too.