Your logo is an important part of your business branding and building recognition with your target audience. In fact, research has found that a logo is the most “recognizable brand identifier,” according to three-quarters of respondents. Additionally, half of the consumers reported being more likely to buy products and services from businesses with recognizable logos.
Designing a great logo can enhance your ability to make a strong first impression. It’s one of the first pieces of branding potential customers encounter, so make sure it communicates your brand identity well.
If you’re designing a new logo in 2022, consider how you want to reflect your brand. Here are 21 tips for designing a logo to help you engage your target audience.
1. Understand your audience
When designing a logo, clearly communicate what you offer customers and what value they can expect from you. Failing to take your audience into account can result in customers not connecting with your logo or not absorbing the message you want them to have.
Focus on getting to know your audience through market research, looking at your competitors, and interviewing customers. These insights can explain their thought processes and why they will or won’t buy from you.
Some benefits of understanding your audience include:
- Knowing what matters most to them
- Knowing what parts of your brand story will connect the most effectively
- Knowing the emotions, you want to elicit in customers
A clear example of knowing your audience is Netflix. Netflix knows customers are looking for a high-quality cinematic experience from the comfort of their homes. Their simple, red-on-black logo helps elicit feelings of being in a theater and calls to mind the upholstery on theater chairs.
2. Know your brand and values
Today’s customers care about the authenticity and values of the brands they buy from. As many as 86% of customers report that authenticity is an important factor when determining which businesses to support. Your logo provides you with a great opportunity to show customers what you view as the most important aspects of your company.
Some benefits of incorporating your values into your logo include:
- Letting customers know what matters most to you
- Helping customers know what they support when they buy from you
- Capturing the attention of customers who support similar values
Failing to let customers know about your values can hurt your brand. Among younger shoppers, over 80% prefer companies that align with their personal values. If you don’t let people know what matters to you, you can lose them as customers.
To effectively present your brand values, focus on articulating them clearly within your organization. You can then use market research to understand the issues that matter the most to your target demographic. Seeing how these ideas can be incorporated into your brand story can help you start to form a logo that presents your best image.
Take the Goodwill logo, for example. The logo was designed to represent smiling people and the positive outcomes achieved by the charitable organization. This effectively communicates Goodwill’s dedication to helping others.
3. Know your industry and competition
Knowing your industry and competition can help you better create a logo that sets your brand apart. Knowing your target customers and what your competition is doing to attract them can help you make design decisions that reflect your unique story. Not knowing important details about your industry and competition can result in a logo that doesn’t differentiate you or accurately reflect the interests of your target audience.
Before beginning your logo design, conduct research on your industry and competition to enhance your ability to:
- Accurately differentiate yourself from the competition
- Reflect what you uniquely offer to customers
- Create a positive initial impression
Take the Lowe’s logo, for example. While Home Depot uses an orange-and-black color scheme in its logo and store appearance and seems to cater to home improvement professionals, Lowe’s focuses more on DIY shoppers who want to fix up their own homes. The inclusion of a house in their logo helps convey this feeling.
4. Make it a story
Your logo should lead customers to consider important elements of your brand story and what makes you unique and worthy of their consideration. Your story—what made you want to form this brand and serve customers—comprises a large part of what makes you unique.
By incorporating a story into your logo, you can:
- Communicate your message more easily, as the first impression you give your customers presents a clear idea of what your brand offers
- Communicate what makes you different from others in your industry
- Elicit the emotions you want to communicate
Not using a story to help guide your logo can leave you at risk of creating something too generic and indistinguishable from other logos in your industry.
You can see this type of storytelling in the logo for the luxury brand Gucci. The logo famously has two Gs that face each other. This logo was designed to represent the initials of its founder and bring to mind the history of the brand.
5. Be different
Your logo should help differentiate your brand from the competition. Numerous other businesses are looking for a place in your industry, so it’s important to know how to stand out. This can mean taking some liberties with the design, including looking at different colors, styles, fonts, and formats.
Failing to set yourself apart creates the risk of your logo being overlooked by customers. The benefits of being different when it comes to your logo include:
- Allowing you to tell your own story
- Creating a more memorable representation of your business, as people won’t be as likely to confuse you with others in the industry
- Creating a value proposition for customers, giving them a reason to select you over the competition
For example, Twitter stands apart from other social media platforms with its reliance on imagery over words. The bird logo represents the simplicity that the brand wants to communicate as well as the short, meaningful messages that people can send out into the world—like a bird’s tweet.
6. Don’t be literal
The goal of your logo is to communicate your brand story and values and differentiate yourself from the competition. If you simply create a literal representation of the products you offer, you’ll do very little to accomplish any of these goals. Instead, consider your brand’s background and how to create a descriptive representation of what you stand for.
Guiding your logo design away from literal representations can help you:
- Create a unique image that customers appreciate
- Reflect the personality of your brand and its message
- Tell customers more about who your brand is rather than just reiterating what you make
For example, the Apple logo does an excellent job of not being literal. Rather than creating imagery that reflects their technology products, Apple instead chose to create a logo reflecting the simplicity and crisp imagery of an apple. It’s both memorable and simple.
7. Keep your logo memorable
Nearly a third of customers report that the first thing they notice about a product is the logo. When customers see your logo, it should cement itself in their minds and create a positive impression. A logo that isn’t memorable won’t be able to accomplish this goal. It also won’t improve your brand reach, as people won’t make associations between your logo and brand when they see it again.
To begin, consider the brand elements you want to emphasize the most. You can then use focus groups to see which ones customers will remember more easily to build the perfect logo.
Ensuring that your logo is memorable can:
- Help you build a reputation, as customers can connect your products, services, and advertising each time they come across your logo
- Make it easier for you to create a great first impression, as customers will remember what you produce
- Help customers instantly remember your business as soon as they see your image
You encounter a very memorable logo whenever you see the Amazon logo. The minimalist approach of the design, the subtle clues found throughout it—including the arrow pointing from A to Z, signaling that customers can buy everything—create a memorable image that people instantly recognize.
8. Make it original
Your logo should reflect your unique brand and not be easily confused for a different company in your industry. You want customers who see your logo to associate it with what you have to offer instantly. To achieve this goal, focus on creating a logo that expresses your unique story, background, and values with your selection of design elements, colors, fonts, and images.
Some benefits of an original logo include:
- Building recognition
- Setting you apart from the competition
- Making it easier for customers to build associations with your brand
A logo lacking originality may lead to customers struggling to distinguish your design from others in the industry. It’s also less likely to attract the attention of potential customers or give your marketing a boost.
The Nike swoosh, for example, offers a unique type of logo because it’s designed to look like the wing of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. The simplicity and fluid motion of the logo are also intended to convey speed, which speaks to athletes putting their effort into their activities.
9. Try different fonts and typographies
The font is also an important consideration to keep in mind. It can reflect personality and professionalism as much as the image itself. Trends have also emerged regarding what customers expect to see. An estimated 75% of logos for Fortune 500 companies use sans serif fonts, including typefaces like Helvetica and Proxima. They’re known for their clarity and legibility.
You can use A/B testing, research groups, and similar strategies to see what fonts and styles your target audience reacts to the best. Not taking into account audience reception can result in a logo development process that fails to interest and excite customers and hurts your brand growth.
Some benefits of using the right font include:
- Making your message clearer
- Furthering reflect your personality, values, and story
- Complementing your image
For example, Spotify has gone with a sans serif style, which helps create a clear, more modern feel. Serif styles tend to lend themselves to more traditional, conservative designs, so Spotify uses a sans serif font to emphasize its modern appeal.
10. Try upper and lower casing
On the Fortune 500 list, nearly half of the logos use all caps and another third use title case. The decision you make regarding capitalization should reflect your branding. Incorporating capital letters into your logo design isn’t required but could help create a more authoritative feel for your brand. Meanwhile, using lowercase can help emphasize your approachability.
Like with your font, run some testing to see which style your target audience reacts to best. Failing to get audience approval can result in a logo that people just don’t respond to or respond to negatively.
Capturing the right combination of upper and lowercase letters in your business logo can help you:
- Capture your brand personality (For example, you might want to communicate strength, professionalism, or convey that you’re a casual and laid-back organization)
- Show customers what to expect from your brand
- Further, enforce the brand story you want to tell with your image
Here are some examples of different capitalization in popular logos:
Adidas’ use of lowercase letters helps emphasize its casual nature and desire to make sports and sporting equipment available for everybody.
A combination of upper and lowercase
FedEx uses a combination of capital and lowercase letters to emphasize its professionalism and reliability.
11. Keep your logo simple
Simplicity is a key design trend when creating a logo. Remember that you want your image to be highly memorable for customers. A logo that’s too complex with a variety of design elements can be harder for customers to remember and connect to your brand when they encounter you again in the future. They might be less likely to develop an emotional connection to your business.
Keeping your logo simple helps customers:
- Understand your logo and the message you want to communicate since a simpler image is easier to absorb
- Develop strong associations with your logo
- Quickly identify your brand when they encounter you again
As Paul Rand, the designer known for logos like IBM and ABC, says, “The principal role of a logo is to identify, and simplicity is its means … Its effectiveness depends on distinctiveness, visibility, adaptability, memorability, universality, and timelessness.”
The key guideline to “keep it simple” is captured well in the logo of McDonald’s, which has been used in various forms since the 1960s. The simplicity of the design and the effortless recall of customers means the logo can tap into nostalgia and the brand’s history. The simple design also makes the logo easily replicated, helping the brand spread across the world.
Like McDonald’s, focus on the most important elements as you design your image, eliminating as many unnecessary details as possible. You can look at examples of simple logo images, like that of the fast-food restaurant above, as inspiration for minimalist creations.
12. Keep the logo proportional
The golden ratio can provide an excellent guideline for designers who want to create imagery that’s pleasing to the eye. This ratio is found not only in classic art, like the Mona Lisa, but also in nature, such as the curve of certain shells.
Following the golden ratio can help you keep different design elements in proportion so that nothing overpowers anything else, and they all contribute favorably toward the final image. The ratio helps ensure the portions of the image remain in balance. Not keeping proportion in mind can create a logo that doesn’t look well-developed. People naturally view things with proportion as more beautiful and more in harmony, so abide by this same standard in your logo design to help maximize your impression.
- To help you keep all elements balanced
- To create a naturally visually appealing image
- To bolster customers’ first impression of your brand
- To create a logo that will be easy to reproduce in a variety of different formats, such as social media, business cards, and even on T-shirts
Pepsi famously uses the golden ratio to guide the creation of the circle in its logo. The logo is designed from several overlapping circles, each a different size and all following the golden ratio. This creates a logo that catches the eye and can be noted for its beauty and impact on the viewer.
13. Consider negative space
Negative space can be a way to create contrast and add to the design of your logo. For example, take a close look at the logo for FedEx, particularly at the arrow formed between the “E” and the “X.”
The negative space between these letters helps create the impression of “going,” which aligns nicely with FedEx’s delivery services.
Some other benefits of negative space include:
- Helping you create a background so that you don’t cram too much into your design
- Making it easier for customers’ minds to process the design
- Making your logo more understandable
Beginners who try to push too many design elements into their company logo and discount the value of negative space sometimes create logos that become too complex and more challenging to remember.
Once you identify the key elements you want to include in your design, experiment with your layout and the white space around those elements. Testing your logo with A/B testing and focus groups again can help here.
14. Create contrast
Contrast provides you with a design element that can enhance your entire design, making the image more distinguishable and even helping the brain identify the image faster. Consider what elements you want to emphasize in your logo and your different options for drawing them to the forefront, including color and font.
Incorporating contrast can help you:
- Emphasize particular parts of the design
- Spark interest because the design elements are easier to spot
- Make the logo more readable and digestible because the brain can interpret what it sees faster
Without elements of contrast, your business’s logo can appear plain. Contrast also helps draw the eye, letting the customer see what you want them to see.
You can see this particularly well with Toyota. Their logo brings together boldness in its lettering with soft curves in its image to let you know their vehicles offer precision and comfort in a sleek design.
15. Consider a tagline
When used well, taglines can help further cement the value of your brand and communicate more about what you have to offer. Like the one used by Subway, descriptive taglines help provide a deeper description of the value promised. In Subway’s case, the brand describes the product they promise.
If you want to use a tagline, make sure it adds something to your logo. A tagline isn’t required and shouldn’t be included if it doesn’t contribute to the overall message. Keep the tagline short and value-added for the best results. Focus on describing the value you offer or the emotion you want to elicit. When used well, a tagline:
- Can complement your logo by helping further cement your message
- Can let customers know what to expect from you by describing what you offer
- Can create a positive association between your company and what you offer by describing your values
However, using a tagline that runs too long, is too generic, or doesn’t fit with what customers experience can quickly create a negative impression of your brand, as customers realize it may not be completely accurate.
16. Make sure it’s readable
Someone encountering your logo for the first time should be able to easily read your logo—including any tagline and your brand name. If the logo becomes hard to read, you lose an opportunity to engage with potential customers and create a positive impression.
Readable fonts can:
- Make your brand name and message stand out
- Ensure customers can quickly digest what you want to say, maximizing opportunities to engage with customers
- Contribute to how memorable and pleasing customers perceive your logo
Consider the logo for Target. This logo uses clear sans-serif lettering that customers can quickly digest. Over the years, the font and style of the letters have been modified to increase legibility. The company name is then paired with an image that brings a “target” to mind, giving customers the sensation of hitting a bulls-eye. The block letters create an impression of being bold and clear.
17. Don’t overuse color
Logo colors can lead people to feel particular emotions and boost recognition. For example, red typically conveys passion or encourages impulse buys, while purple is associated with creativity or royalty. Similarly, yellow is used to elicit joy, while blue conveys loyalty. In fact, one study found that using a signature color can increase brand recognition by as much as 80%. Additionally, 76% of the top brands’ designs use only one or two colors in their logos.
Examine the types of emotions that certain hues on the color palette help elicit and see how you can incorporate them into your logo without using too many. Using too many colors can detract from the message you want to communicate and, in many cases, create a logo that is busier and harder for people to remember.
Using minimal colors in a good logo allows you to:
- Create a memorable logo
- Focus on eliciting certain key emotions
- Enforce your brand story by creating emotional connections with the story and imagery you convey
You can see an excellent example of a logo that uses a minimal number of colors in the logo for Coca-Cola. Although red has been associated with the brand long before the creation of its official logo (the barrels were painted red to distinguish them from alcohol in drugstores), the red in the logo continues to be leveraged because of the feelings of passion it encourages in customers and its ability to entice purchases.
18. Be authentic to your business
42% of customers believe a logo effectively shows a brand’s personality. If it has such a significant impact on how customers perceive your business, make sure it represents the message you want it to have.
Have a firm idea of the values and ideas you want to communicate with your logo before you even begin the design process. Rather than trying to represent a particular product, such as “books” for a bookstore or “coffee” for a coffee shop, think about your brand story. Not communicating this story can hinder your relationship with customers and make it harder for people to understand what sets you apart from others in your industry. For example, every coffee shop sells coffee. If your logo goes beyond a picture of coffee and communicates your brand story, you can potentially sell that experience to customers.
Some benefits of authenticity in your logo include:
- Giving you grounds to start building a relationship with customers
- Connecting with customers by illustrating what your organization stands for
- Helping set yourself apart from others in the industry
Patagonia is a company you can look to for an example of authenticity. They have earned a reputation for their genuine interest in protecting the natural world, and their logo incorporates the relevant imagery. Customers respond positively to it because it aligns with the experience they have with the company.
19. Ask for expert opinions or hire an expert
Many brands understand the importance of turning to professional logo makers when designing logos; one agency is even responsible for branding 20% of Fortune 100 companies. Since branding and your logo play such an important role in how customers perceive your organization, taking shortcuts with your logo isn’t a direction you should take.
Turning to a remote work platform like Ndiwano.com allows you to hire logo design specialists to help turn your logo ideas into reality. Experts in design have the background and experience needed to break down your brand story into an idea that can be communicated as an image. They can help you balance the different aspects—such as color, font, and image selections—to create a logo that genuinely conveys what you want to see.
Neglecting this expertise can lead to easy mistakes. For example, you might select colors that don’t complement each other, create a design with too many details, or create an image that doesn’t scale effectively for your different platforms.
Investing in expertise allows you to capture a logo that:
- Communicates your target ideas
- Reflects your brand values
- Accurately articulates your goals
- Taps into experience and expertise for the best possible final product
To understand the value that large corporations attribute to their logo, consider the logo of the BBC. The British news company wanted to make sure their logo communicated their brand goals. That is why they spent nearly $2 million on their logo.
Brands that operate on a large scale know the value of investing in a logo. However, it’s something that organizations of any size should be willing to invest in as they establish their brand to make sure it’s done well.
20. Conduct multiple rounds of revisions
When you receive a draft of a logo from a professional designer, make sure it accurately reflects your brand and that customers will respond well to it. To accomplish this, be prepared to conduct multiple rounds of revisions. Your revisions allow you to take the initial idea of the logo and fine-tune it to match what you want to represent your brand. Use the tweaks to run your latest logo look by focus groups. You can also incorporate A/B testing to help to fine-tune the final details.
Going through revisions means you:
- Can secure the logo that accurately represents you
- Can try experimenting with different design elements
- Can work directly with your target market to see what type of logo they respond to best
For example, the Dunkin’ Donuts logo underwent several revisions that shifted from larger images to smaller words, different renditions of coffee cups, and different color choices before landing on its current version.
21. Don’t settle
As many as 60% of customers report they’ll avoid brands with unappealing logos, so don’t settle for a design that doesn’t engage your audience and reflect your brand. Design and improve your logo carefully after conducting focus groups and A/B testing, and remember that there’s always room for improvement.
Refusing to settle will ensure that:
- You won’t get stuck with a logo that you don’t truly want.
- Your logo accomplishes the goals you set out to achieve.
- Your logo accurately portrays your brand.
The Shell logo provides an excellent example of a company continually making changes and revisions. Their logo has morphed from a simple black-and-white shell to its current colors and shape for more than a century.
Get help designing your own brand logo
If you want to get started designing the perfect logo for your organization, tap into the power of Ndiwano.com, browse our logo design services to help you bring your vision to life. Get started now and see how easy it is to accomplish your business goals with the help of freelancers on Ndiwano.com.