Whether you’re designing it yourself or having someone make it for you, you need a logo. And you need to understand what’s important, so even if you’re not creating it yourself, you’re able to coach your designer to a great result. Prior to launching my own companies, I worked in graphic design and advertising for years. And I’ve created the logo and name for every brand and product I’ve launched over the past twenty years…two of which I’ve sold for six figure sums based solely on the branding.
In a nutshell, here’s what you need to consider:
- is it memorable?
- is it simple?
- is it easily recognizable?
- will it work as black and white?
- can you limit it to 2-3 colors?
- can it be trademarked?
- will it work as embroidery?
- does it convey the emotion you want associated with your brand or product/service you offer?
- if it’s just an icon, does it stand alone without your company’s name?
- can it easily be put into a square for social media icons?
MAKE IT MEMORABLE
It needs to be memorable, simple and easily recognizable so people can pick it out from quickly on the shelf. Not putting something on the shelf? Still matters so customers don’t confuse you with a competitor. And making it unique also makes it easier to trademark.
Color selection is up to you, but limiting it to two or three will keep usage costs down and makes it easier to convert to black and white or grayscale. There are times when your logo won’t be in color, so it needs to be just as recognizable in black, white and gray. And limiting the colors also makes overall branding easier. What’s easier to match on a website, vehicle, etc…two colors, or a rainbow? Things like embroidery (company shirts, hats, bags) and screen printing (tees, etc.) will all cost far less to produce, too. As for which colors to use, consider something different than your competition, or use research to match the desired emotions to the colors.
SHAPE & SIZE
Lastly, consider the shape and layout and how it will work on social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have square or circle profile images. Not that these should be the final decision maker on your logo, but worth considering.
WHERE & HOW
If you’re not able to do it yourself, there are numerous options: designcrowd, 99designs, Canva, Fiverr, Freelancer, etc. Make sure you put in the job description that you will own all rights to the logo and that they must provide original work that is free and clear of any other copyrights or trademarks.
Wherever you get it, request the following from your designer:
- Vector art (AI, EPS) – This format scales indefinitely so resolution remains sharp no matter if it’s used on a billboard or a twitter icon. Ideally they will send it to you as an Adobe Illustrator (AI) file, but it might also come as an EPS file type. As long as it is a vector image, it should be fine, but ask them to export it as AI if they can.
- Social Media sizes – Then ask for a logo and header image to match ideal dimensions for all social media accounts you plan on using. These measurements are a Google search away.
- Web sizes — ask them to send your logo in JPG and GIF versions in 600 / 500 / 400 / 300 / 200 / 100 pixel wide/tall sizes. This gives you options for when others want to use your logo on their websites, email signatures, etc.
- Grayscale version — this is a black & white or black/white/gray version of your logo.
- Outlined version — you may need to use your logo on a different colored background, so ideally you get all sizes and versions with a white (or black, as the case may be) outline at least thick enough to set it off from any background.
- Color Key – This file shows your logo and calls out the specific web hex color codes for each color used, along with CMYK and RGB values for each. It might list Pantone PMS colors if you use those. You’ll want this information so you (or your web developer) can match all of the website colors to your logo colors. Same goes for any other promotional materials you use. This keeps the branding and colors consistent from piece to piece.