How to make a logo in 6 steps
If you’re aiming to make a great first impression on potential clients, it’s worth learning how to make a logo for your business.
Your business logo is one of the most important aspects of your branding. Not only does it help grab people’s attention, it’s also a visual statement that tells them what your business stands for.
How to make a logo yourself
Your budget might not yet stretch to paying for a professional logo but it’s not too difficult to design your own, even if you don’t know anything about graphic design.
- Understand the basics.
- Brainstorm ideas.
- Choose a font.
- Pick a style.
- Choose colours.
Once you’ve got your head around the basics, you can experiment with different ideas until you find a strong, confident logo that speaks for your business.
1. Understand the basics
The most important thing to remember is this: keep it simple. Your logo needs to be recognisable at-a-glance and easy to reproduce in different sizes and formats.
As a rule of thumb, limit yourself to one or two fonts and a maximum of three colours.
Your logo needs to be striking enough to grab people’s attention on a billboard, yet still look great when it is shrunk down and printed on a business card.
Don’t rely on colour to do all the work — most great logos still work in black and white. It might help to start sketching out ideas in black and white so you can focus on the core concept.
Colour is usually more expensive when it comes to printing, so it helps to have a logo that still looks good in one colour.
If you have an Adobe subscription, you have access to tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. You could also used web-based tools like Canva or Adobe Spark to create a logo. You can get started for free with these last two, although some features require their paid service.
Related: 6 steps to creating a business-boosting brand strategy
2. Brainstorm ideas
Start by brainstorming ideas with pen and paper, perhaps in a notebook so you can look back over your ideas.
Draw up a list of adjectives like:
Consider which demographic you are targeting and who is your typical customer.
Try to put aside time for brainstorming when you’re feeling fresh, rather than squeezing it in at the end of the day when you’re running on empty.
3. Choose a font
When your idea begins to take shape, choose a font or typeface. Your choice of font says a lot about your business, so it’s important to find the right one even if you decide that your logo works best without text.
There are roughly 300,000 typefaces to choose from. And that’s just English.
The options can seem overwhelming, but you want to choose a type style with a similar personality to your brand. It can help to think about which fonts don’t work:
- If you want a funky feel, don’t go for a stuffy font like Times New Roman.
- If you’re after elegance, stay away from striking fonts like Impact.
- If you’re going for trustworthiness, avoid something whimsical like Comic Sans.
Take care when choosing a flourishy font that might be hard to read when printed quite small.
While you can start with the standard fonts, you might also consider purchasing a custom font to help your logo stand out from the crowd. Make sure you check the licensing requirements.
Once you start honing your ideas, try experimenting with a thicker (bold) or thinner version (regular) of the font. Other options include:
- Changing to upper or lower case
- Adding a drop shadow
- Adjusting the spacing
- Overlapping the letters
You could also break the words across multiple lines. If you do this, consider changing the font size or spacing for the different lines so they’re all the same length.
4. Pick a style
Now that we have a font that reflects your business’ personality, it’s time to think about your logo. There are three main styles to consider:
- Lettermark, such as Facebook’s lowercase ‘f’ logo
- Wordmark like Google’s all-text logo
- Brandmark — a non-type logo like Twitter’s bird
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, but remember that you’re looking for a simple idea that’s recognisable at a glance.
Look for a simple core concept that can evolve over time while remaining instantly recognisable, like the McDonald’s golden arches or Target’s bull’s-eye. If you’re going to incorporate words, make sure the logo stands up on its own in situations where there isn’t room for the full logo, such as Nike’s swish.
5. Choose colours
If you don’t already have a brand colour, now is the time to give it some thought. Like fonts, colours tell people about your business, even if it’s subliminal. Your choice of colour is the very first impression people get of your business, before they’ve even looking closely at the design of the logo.
It only takes around 90 seconds for people to make a subconscious judgement about a brand or product, and between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone, according to digital design agency Tubik Studio. Different colours convey different messages:
Red: Confidence, youth and power
Orange: Friendly, warm and energetic
Yellow: Happiness, optimism and warmth
Green: Peace, growth and health
Blue: Trust, security and stability
Purple: Luxurious, creative and wise
Black: Reliable, sophisticated and experienced
White: Simple, calm and clean
Remember, keep it simple. Use three colours at most but try to stick to one or two. An effective logo usually works well whatever the colour, such as Apple’s apple with a bite taken out. If your logo doesn’t work at all in one colour, rethink your design.
Once you find an idea you’re happy with, don’t be afraid to mess around with it. How would it look as a square-shaped logo? This is more versatile than something very tall or wide. How about a border, or different coloured backgrounds?
Think about how it will look when shrunk down as an app icon or web page favicon.
Consider variations on your logo, such just using the first letter of your business name, before settling on a design.
Don’t just look at it on the screen, try printing out your logo concepts to see how they look in your hand, or from across the room. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and try a few options, rather than locking yourself into your original choices.
Take your time
Learning how to make a logo isn’t impossible — it just takes a little thought and care. Once you understand the basics, it’s easier to choose fonts, styles and colours, then hone your ideas and experiment with different options.
When you’re done, you’ll have a great visual identity that catches people’s eye and tells them what you stand for.