Your logo is a visual representation of what your company stands for. It’s important to develop a logo that both accurately communicates the features of your business and can be easily translated for publishing online and in print. While it’s often a good idea to hire a designer to create a logo for your business, there are many tools available to help you create your own logo if your budget can’t be stretched to cover design services.
Types of Logos
NYU’s Visual Communications department teaches its students that logos can be of three basic types:
- Typography – Just your business name
- Type and a mark – Your business name plus an image
- Just a mark – A conceptual image only, like the Nike Swoosh
Deciding what kind of logo you want to create for your business is important and worth taking time to consider. Is your business name unique? If so, a simple font-based logo might be enough. If your business delivers a product or service that is easily captured in an image, consider including that image in your logo as well. For example, a business called Speedy Plumbers might include a lightning bolt to visualize their lightning-fast service.
Think long and hard before going with a completely conceptual logo. Companies like Nike and Pepsi spend millions of dollars in branding to educate consumers about their logos. Without their marketing budget, it’s unlikely that your target audience would see your logo and immediately think of your business.
When designing a logo, Entrepreneur Magazine suggests that its important to consider the following:
- It must be clean, functional, and professional-looking
- Use your logo to illustrate the key benefits of your business
- Avoid clip-art and trendy looks
- Use a maximum of two or three colors to increase your print options
Depending on your profession and level of design skill, there are various tools you can use to create a logo. Tools like the Adobe suite are powerful but complex, and can aid you in creating a professional logo. They can also be overkill if all you want is a simple image or font.
Adobe Photoshop & Gimp
Adobe Photoshop is considered the gold standard in professional image editing software. It’s a good bet that any professional designer you might hire will be using Photoshop or its free alternative, Gimp. If you’re a photographer, or your business involves design in some fashion, you may have a copy of Photoshop and can use it to create your own logo. If you don’t already have experience using professional editing programs, the learning curve will be steep; however, you’ll have the ability to completely control the look of your logo and will gain some new skills in the process.
Font-based logos are easily created in a word-processing program like Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer. If you don’t have the time or skills to develop a logo in Photoshop, you can quickly create a simple logo using Word and a set of fonts. Simply download any fonts you may want to use into your computer’s font folder, and use Word’s layout tools to create your new logo. You can easily experiment with colors, sizes, and layouts to quickly create a logo that best describes your business.
Logo creation software
There are many options in this niche, online and for use on your computer. Logo design software automates the process of design and can present an intermediate option between complicated tools like Photoshop and very basic text editors. They work by allowing you to choose fonts and colors, and then presenting various images and concepts for editing. It’s possible that you might end up with a similar logo to someone else using the same logo library
Font Types to Consider
Fonts and types are an important part of logo design. Unless you prefer to go with a completely conceptual logo, your logo will incorporate your business name in a font. It’s important to consider using a unique font outside the basic set included in word processing or design software, since it’s likely that those fonts are used in many logos.
Type foundries develop fonts and types in many different styles and sizes. There are literally thousands of fonts available, and it’s likely that you will find a font that works well with your business name and concept. Fonts can be tested using custom text on the website, and you can download as many as you like for use in your design software.
When choosing a font for your logo, here are a few tips:
- Legibility is the most important factor.
- Choose a basic style for your font or type that matches your business: serif, san-serif, old style, modern, etc.
- Consider where you will be using the font. Make sure it looks good in print and online.
- Make sure your chosen font has all characters available, and multiple sizes.
- If your logo uses more than one font, choose types that have similar shapes.
- If your business name has multiple words, consider bolding or coloring each differently.
Designing a logo is an important task in the branding of your business. A well-designed logo will be simple, but convey the qualities and ideas of your business to your customers. Your logo will appear everywhere that your business goes: brochures, business cards, banners, sponsorship materials, etc. Keep that in mind when developing your design.
Do you have any tips or ideas that have worked when designing your own logo? Let us know in the comments!