Sometimes called branding or corporate identity, this branch of design can be a very important attribute of your business. This will be the look or identity of your organisation, possibly the first thing your customer will see from your marketing media - so first impressions can count.

A well designed logo can attract customers and portray trust, credibility and reinforce the quality of a product or service and can even command premium pricing.

A poorly designed logo can detract from your brand image, can lower confidence in your customers buying decision and even instil an air of unreliability if the company 'can't even get their logo right'.

It certainly doesn't have to look 'posh' to become a recognised brand though. There are many examples of 'cheap and cheerful' brands with recognisable logos. Take Lidl and Easyjet - both are bright and bold, have no illusion of grandeur but are easily recognised and associated with good value.

At the other end of the scale there's Apple. You could put that little fruit on virtually anything and it would sell by the bucketload.

A well designed logo should be recognisable, easy to read and easy to reproduce in print and should be carried through your marketing material with consistency whether it's your business cards or billboard design.

It's probably more complicated than you think when it comes to logo design, so this guide can help you in your quest for the type and style of logo that will suit your organisation.

logo design guide

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the 3 main types of logo

There are 3 basic types of logo of which wordmark and combination are by far the most common as there is little point in having a solitary symbol as your logo unless you have an established brand.

As it sounds, the logo is made up of the organisations name in type or 'wordmark' and can be plain, easy to read lettering or creatively styled for individuality. This is possibly the most common logo type as it has high legibility and logical association by just reading the logo.

CocaCola BBC
Google LEGO

The best of both worlds. A recognisable mark with text to reinforce the branding.

Text can sit alongside, above or below the symbol or even be completely integrated within the logo forming an emblem/badge style.

Every organisation in the world would like an instantly recognisable brand icon like the examples below. Having a memorable and interesting iconic logo is the goal, but it takes time to become a brand - none of these organisations below were world renowned when they started out.

Have a look here to see how Apple have changed over the years - you'll be surprised!

all above logos are displayed for information purposes and are copyright of their respective owners

some styles of logos to get you thinking

Once you have decided which one of the three main categories above will suit your organisation, you can then think about the styling of your logo. The following section is a guide to some of the more common logo styles that are commonly used.

 

Clean / Simple

More often than not the best style of logo. Easily read and easily reproduced in print. Usually consisting of 1 or 2 colours and can be cleverly designed with what's called 'negative space' where the white space in the logo forms a distinct shape - you've seen the vase/2 faces optical illusion right?

Corporate

Clean, unfussy and serene usually with spaced lettering giving an authoritative and business-like look.

Web2.0

These are fancy logos with drop shadows, 3D styling and gradients. They can be visually stunning and impressive on your website but sometimes suffer when printed at smaller sizes.

Illustrative

With an illustrated drawing, character or mascot included in the logo. These can be more expensive due to the skill level required and the time involved in drawing and development.

Abstract

A logo with an undefined, unique shape designed specifically for your organisation. It may resemble a product or service but in an unusual or stylised manner.

Traditional

Looking not unlike what a signwriter would produce with stroked text and borders.

Retro

Styles from times gone by - some of which are quite popular such as Art Deco and 50's Americana.

Modern / Hi Tech

Logos with an air of technology and usually modern sans serif squarish fonts.

Sophisticated

Very ornate, with scroll work or patterns. Can suffer when printed at small sizes.

some sample logos from nine design, spanning the many stlyes available

                  important factors in logo design

 

 

• Your logo should be as unique as possible

A logo that looks like everyone else’s will get lost - stand out, be memorable!

• Your logo should look professional

But don't go over the top! A logo cluttered with patterns or several images or visual meanings will be hard to read and won't print well. Keep it simple.

A poorly designed logo can tarnish your organisations image. Clear typography is a good start, then bring in your colour scheme and any imagery that is required.

• Your logo should be suitable for print and web.

Intense neon style colours can be striking but rarely work in print. If you produce any printed documentation or advertising media with your logo then these colours should be avoided.

Overly complex logos don't reproduce well at smaller scales or when printed in newspapers.

         logo design tips

 

• Your logo style could give a feel for your product or service

It's not absolutely necessary for a dentists to have a tooth in the logo, but for start-ups or companies who do not have a brand presence, visual association helps trigger brand recall. Your logo could convey a feeling of what you provide whether it's financial, engineering, ecological or even a playgroup.

This could be represented by:

font choice - such as italics indicating the dynamism of a delivery company

colour - could be a serene dark blue for finance, green for ecological or bright for value.

themed imagery - rooftops for construction or wheat sheaves for bakers.

• Your logo could try to convey the level of luxury (or value) from your product or service.

Bright bold colours and rounded fonts suggest fun or value whereas darker colours and thinner fonts can lend an air of sincerity, trust and quality.

• Do you use social media frequently?

Then if you are planning a logo with a symbol, it's an idea to keep the graphical content to fit a square shape so you can have professional looking social media icons without them appearing squashed or having acres of white space round them. This can be especially useful if your organisation has a long name which won't be legible as a tiny twitter icon - make your square logo image your icon.

• Use lettermark or initials

Business name a mouthful? Stylise the initial caps and condense that name into a lettermark style like BBC, IBM or NASA.

graphic design • website design • advertising design

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