Tips for logo design and re-design

By 08/10/2013Jan 31st, 2014Creative, Design, Graphic Design
Logo Design

Tips for logo design and re-design

Whether you’re starting from scratch or refreshing an existing one, your logo is the first and probably most identifiable visual symbol of your brand and as such is very important. I love to work with clients who see the importance in and the value of their brand. So I’d like to help out by providing you with a few tips on how to get the best results out of your logo design and corporate identity design or re-design.

Preliminary work is a must

Ask your design team if they start their designs with pencil and paper first. Although these initial sketches don’t often get presented, they are an important step in the development of a good logo. If the answer is yes you can be assured that the design process is starting off correctly.

Look for balance

Balance is important since in general our minds see it as appealing. Check that the design is harmonious and not off balance. This is not to say that this rule can be bent or even blatantly broken at times. Just make sure that the end result is justified.

Size counts

Your logo will need to be legible on very large and very small sizes. Smaller is generally more difficult so make sure that you look at examples that could be printed on a letterhead or envelope and can be easily identified.

Clever use of colour

The most important thing is that your logo can work in black and white first. After that try to limit your colour palette, less is more and is also more cost effective when printing. A palette of about 3 colours is usually enough.

The design should suit the company

Research your target audience and communicate this with your design team, it will help them find a suitable style for your logo. While some logo’s are based on current trends the best are usually based on timeless design principles and suit their purpose.

Typography matters… a lot!

There are thousands of fonts to choose from and it is in this category that so many designs fail or fly, here are three quick points to look out for. Avoid the most commonly used fonts, make sure that the font used is legible at small sizes and avoid using more than two fonts.

The goal is recognition

A good combination of all the tips mentioned here will help towards an instantly recognisable logo. Also look at ways of how the logo can be applied in various forms, and have extra variations designed for specific purposes. A good way to check for easy recognition is to invert your logo by looking at it in a mirror, if it is still easily recognisable you’ve got a winner.

Keep it simple

The simpler the logo the more recognisable it will be. This is in my opinion the most important tip. Just because we can create complicated 3D mashups doesn’t mean we should.

Go easy on the effects

Sometimes those extra embelishments are a cover-up for the lack of a sound design to begin with. Strip things down to their bare minimum and then only if it adds to the message add that extra touch.

Use other designs for inspiration only

Bring designs to your design team to use as a reference, but don’t ask them to copy something directly or even very closely. Not only is this illegal, but it seldom inspires the best results.

Dare to be different

Try breaking all the tips put forward here. If done correctly, a maverick design can still accomplish all the necessary goals that good a logo should and be totally unique at the same time.

Sean McMahon

Author Sean McMahon

Sean McMahon is a digital strategist and website designer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has been in the digital design industry since 1998 and currently heads up Electric Pencil.

More posts by Sean McMahon

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