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Logo Design Checklist for New Business Owners

Logo Design Checklist for New Business Owners

One of the most critical aspects of your small business is your brand. Your look, including your business name and logo, represents everything your company is about, and a logo helps define your brand. Humans learn from visual identifiers, and your logo adds brand memorability. It can also be a visual foundation for other creative elements, including signage and marketing.

When developing your brand, following a logo design checklist that details the essential elements is important. It can help you make decisions based on grounded research, and it can also help to ensure you've considered all the factors that should be considered, such as colour, font and size.

Here is a helpful logo design checklist to consider following when developing your logo design:

Conduct Initial Research

Market Research And Branding

Market research helps you understand your industry and competitors. You want your logo to stand out among other players in your market. Market research enables you to understand trends and industry norms that can help you create a timeless logo. Consider the following questions when conducting research:

  • What is the industry's future?
  • What is the market size today, and what is projected?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How unique are your products or services?
  • How is your brand performing when competing against top competitors?

Logos are intended to endure, so reduce the urge to create something that applies primarily to today's conditions. Think of timeless, enduring visual identity.

Understand Logo Types

7 Types Of Logo Design

There are many different types of logos. Here are a few of the primary ones:

  • Wordmark Logos: These logos consist solely of the company's name or brand, typically stylised with a unique font or typography. For example, Google and Coca-Cola use wordmark logos to represent their brands.
  • Lettermark Logos: Lettermark logos use the initials or abbreviations of a company's name. These are ideal for businesses with long names or creating a more compact visual identity. Examples include IBM (International Business Machines) and HBO (Home Box Office).
  • Pictorial Logos: Pictorial logos use a recognisable image or symbol to represent a brand. These logos often rely on visual associations and can effectively communicate a brand's values and personality. Examples include Apple's logo and Twitter's bird logo.
  • Abstract Logos: Abstract logos use geometric shapes or patterns to create a unique, non-representational image. These logos are typically designed to convey a specific concept or emotion related to the brand. Examples include Nike's Swoosh and Adidas' three stripes.
  • Mascot Logos: Mascot logos feature an illustrated character, often personifying the brand's values or acting as spokesperson. These logos help create a friendly, approachable image for a company. Examples include KFC's Colonel Sanders and Michelin's Bibendum (the Michelin Man).
  • Emblem Logos: Emblem logos combine text and images within a defined shape or border, often resembling a crest or badge. These logos can evoke a sense of tradition and authenticity. Examples include Starbucks' circular logo featuring a mermaid and Harley-Davidson's shield and bar logo.
  • Combination Mark Logos: Combination mark logos combine elements of a wordmark, lettermark, pictorial, or abstract logos to create a unique visual identity. These logos often use text and imagery to convey a brand's message. Examples include McDonald's golden arches with the brand name and the Amazon logo, which features a wordmark with an arrow (also representing a smile) connecting the letters “A” and “Z.
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Search for Inspiration

How will you derive inspiration for your logo? The spark can come from nearly anywhere. There are many websites dedicated to providing a logo or visual inspiration. Photo sites, art galleries, museums, magazines, and your workspace can generate ideas.

Many designers and creators will use sketches and doodles to help start the creative process. Others rely on group brainstorming sessions to generate and refine ideas.

Logo design is an iterative process that can take time to evaluate, reject, refine and select the correct elements. Patience is vital in allowing inspiration to emerge.

Understand the Target Audience

Identify Target Audience Users

You want a logo that will spark a response from your target audience. You want existing and potential customers to have a connection to your brand, and the logo is one of the first places to do so.

Your logo should reflect your brand and its values that align with customers. To understand that alignment, you'll need to know the following about your audience:

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Lifestyle
  • Hobbies
  • Pain points and how your product or service can resolve them
  • Communication preferences
  • Information sources

A deeper understanding of your customers helps inform logo design and other brand considerations. It's an essential research component with applications across your business strategy and operations.

Define Your Business Personality

Do you know your company's personality? If so, could you describe it succinctly?

A business personality is different from its reputation or values. It's the collection of identities โ€“ including the principles, vision, mission, values, products or services offered and employees.

You want a logo representing that personality, but that means defining it.

You may develop a design brief that reflects what you want in your logo and why. Answering the following can help inform that brief and position your brand to assist in developing the suitable logo:

  • How do you describe your brand?
  • How do employees describe your brand? What about customers? How do friends and family members describe it?
  • Does your brand have a voice? If so, what is it?
  • What is your brand's mission statement and vision?
  • What are your brand's values?
  • What do you want people to perceive about your brand?
  • Describe your ideal logo using emotions.
  • What problems are your products and services trying to solve?

Choose a Colour Palette

Apple Brand Colours

Colour has a powerful impact on people; different colours evoke different emotional reactions. Red, for example, conveys vitality, passion and energy. Black evokes a sense of power and intelligence. Yellow represents happiness, creativity and hope.

Choosing the right colours is one of the most critical decisions when creating a logo. The colours must be relevant to the brand and spark the right emotional reactions from those who view it.

The connection between colour and emotion is significant. Be sure the colour(s) you choose convey the feelings you want to evoke. Be sure they are relevant to the brand and that each works in tandem with the others.

Once you choose your colours and have your logo developed, you'll want to see how it works in different colourways or combinations of colours and shades. You may want to use the colours selected, or some of them, in other versions of your logo, including:

  • Full Color. The complete, all-colour format of your logo used in most cases
  • One Color or Black and White. A black-and-white version may be used when full-colour formatting is impossible, or the budget calls for a less expensive version.
  • White or Reversed. A light-coloured version may be necessary when used on dark backgrounds.
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Learn about Typography

You may choose to use type as part of your logo. When you decide to use words, you want to be sure they are legible and readable, no matter the size of your logo.

If you choose typography, you should decide on the font type. There are multiple font categories, including:

  • Serif. Fonts with a slight stroke on the ends and edges of letters. These are classic, traditional choices.
  • Sans-Serif. Fonts without any adornments that convey a clean, simple or modern look
  • Script. Imitating formal writing, often slanted, and considered elegant or classy
  • Slab Serif. Bold and thicker fonts that carry a vintage, powerful feel
  • Handwritten. Casual and approachable fonts that convey warmth but can be harder to read
  • Display. Novel, unusual fonts, often custom-designed and whimsical

You want to be sure the fonts you choose have multiple weights and styles, communicate your message, and work at a larger or smaller scale. Also, consider whether you want all caps, capitalising the first letter only, lowercase, or a combination.

Build for Versatility

Your logo needs to work on lots of different collateral.

It will appear more diminutive on your website, email signatures and social media posts. Larger versions will be needed for stationery and other printed materials. Large arrangements may be necessary for signage and billboards.

You need a logo that scales well in both directions, effective, readable and functional in all sizes. If your logo needs to be more detailed, the intricacies may be recovered when scaled down, for example.

Consider how your logo might be used and examine its appearance in different forms.

Embrace Whitespace and Enhance Breathability

Benefits Of Using White Space Design

n design, the concept of “breathability” refers to providing sufficient space around a visual element, allowing it to stand out effectively. To capture your viewers' attention and guide their focus towards your design, it's crucial to incorporate negative space or whitespace strategically. This unoccupied area within a design accentuates the critical elements and frames your logo, ensuring it remains the focal point.

Whitespace serves as a visual breather, enabling viewers to process and appreciate the various aspects of your design without feeling overwhelmed. A well-balanced use of negative space contributes to a cleaner, more organised appearance and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of your logo. Allowing individual elements to breathe creates a sense of harmony and visual coherence that elevates your design and strengthens your brand identity.

Decide on a Mascot

Geico Gecko Mascot Branding

Incorporating a mascot into your brand identity can be a powerful way to connect with your audience and create a lasting impression. As you consider adding a mascot to your logo, carefully weigh the pros and cons to ensure it aligns with your overall branding strategy. Mascots can take various forms, ranging from animated animals to costumed superheroes, but their effectiveness largely depends on the nature of your business and target audience.

A mascot can visually embody your brand's values and personality, fostering a sense of familiarity and approachability. However, it's essential to recognise that not all businesses are suited for mascot-based logos. For instance, a law firm or financial institution might require a more professional, understated approach to its visual identity.

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To make an informed decision about whether to include a mascot in your logo, consider the following factors:

  1. Brand Personality: Assess if a mascot aligns with your brand's personality and values. A playful or family-oriented brand might benefit from a mascot, while a more serious or sophisticated brand may not.
  2. Target Audience: Evaluate your target audience's preferences and expectations. A mascot might resonate with a younger demographic or niche market but may not suit other customer segments.
  3. Industry Norms: Review the visual identities of your competitors and industry leaders. Do they use mascots? Consider whether deviating from the norm could give you a competitive edge or hinder your credibility.
  4. Longevity: Determine if a mascot has the potential to remain relevant and appealing over time. As your brand evolves, you want your visual identity to maintain its impact and effectiveness.
  5. Versatility: Assess whether a mascot-based logo will work well across various marketing channels and platforms, from print materials to digital media.

Ultimately, the decision to incorporate a mascot into your logo should be based on thoroughly evaluating your brand strategy and target audience. By carefully considering the factors involved, you can create a visual identity that effectively communicates your brand's essence and strengthens its connection with consumers.

Start Designing with the Logo Design Checklist

Once you create a logo, you can start working on your checklist. At some point, you'll need to decide how to make your logo. Some talented business owners have the design skills to build a logo, but even starting with some basic sketches can help flesh out ideas and show others what you're thinking.

You have some decent alternatives online to keep it on a low budget and get it done relatively quickly. Many logo creation websites and applications will build a logo for you to own, and they're usually inexpensive options. Many of these use templates or artificial intelligence to generate potential possibilities. You can start by using a logo creator and play around with it to see what designs you get and better understand how your previous research and creative decisions work out into your logo. 

Another thing you can consider is hostinglogo design contest, which may not yield the best results but can provide you with many options and give exposure to freelance designers. Such contests are usually more expensive and take a bit longer, so you'll need to decide if it's cost and time effective for you before you choose this alternative.

Suppose you need more than these options, or you need to step up and have the resources to invest in them. In that case, you can also go with a professional graphic artist or a logo design agency to manage your logo development process. They often use a checklist like the one above and work closely with you and your staff. These options are usually more expensive but yield excellent results.

The logo design process is a powerful way to lend a visual element to your brand. Using a logo design checklist and ensuring you've considered all the variables, you'll have a practical, compelling, memorable logo.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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