5 Tips for Designing a Killer Logo

It’s funny how important a seemingly simple little thing like a logo is. Your logo is the first thing people see. They form an instant impression when they see that graphic. Unless you’re in the business of laughter, you don’t want people to take one look at your logo and burst out laughing. You also don’t want them to raise their eyebrows and smirk.

Unfortunately, logo fails happen all too often. In fact, even large corporations that pay graphic artists big bucks find themselves in logo limbo sometimes. Remember the furor over the Gap logo change in 2010? If you’re thinking about creating a logo for a new product line or you’re a startup that needs a logo, try these five tips for a killer design. Avoid the tragedy of a “logo fail.”

Tip 1: Keep It Simple

The best logos look exceedingly simple. Great logos, such as this LBF Travel logo, bring minimal numbers of colors and shapes together to create a feeling. They aren’t complicated. A logo combined with the right business name and descriptive slogan gives viewers exactly what they need in seconds – they know what you do and why you’re unique – without the guesswork.

Tip 2: Make It Different

Check your competitors’ logos out. Not only do you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, you also learn about the logos industry professionals use. You need something different. Yours can’t look like theirs. A killer logo is unique as well as attractive.

Here’s an idea that might seem counterintuitive – your logo doesn’t have to picture what your company does. Look at the Apple logo. It’s not a computer, a watch or phone. It doesn’t matter. The second you see the logo, you know the company. You’re probably saying, “Well, of course. Apple is huge.” True, but your logo is part of a larger concept that includes your business name, mission and slogan. Combined, they tell viewers what they need to know.

Tip 3: Colors and Designs

Three color designs are good, two colors are better. Why? The more colors you have, the more costly to use on your advertising material, letterhead and business cards. Also, your logo will appear only in shades of black and white in some media. It still has to look good and recognizable. That’s easier done with two colors.

You also have to think about the colors you choose. There is a whole science behind colors and a little research before choosing your colors is warranted. For example, in the U.S., red typically means energetic and bold, yellow signifies optimism, black stands for power, blue implies professionalism and so on. Different cultures attribute different meanings to colors, which is something else to be aware of if you plan to have a global reach.

Next consider the design. It might look great on your website, but when reduced in size and placed on business cards, it could look awful. Make sure the design works well no matter what the size or medium.

Tip 4: Know Your Audience

Who are your customers? Do your products appeal to kids? Perhaps you market to baby boomers. Design with your target audience in mind.

Tip 5: Get Feedback

Give trusted colleagues, employees and even family members a chance to critique your logo designs. They may see something you don’t. It’s better to catch a logo fail before it goes public than after.

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