9 Essential Logo Design Rules to Build Better Brands
Which global brand has the most captivating logo? What stands out for you in the logo? Is it the colour, letters, images, or how the logo relates to the sale products?
According to logo experts, there is no singular rule to designing a logo. A good logo is a combination of multiple factors.
One design may fit a particular brand and not another. The secret is to find a design that works for you.
Though logos are about the designer's creativity, some logo design rules will help you develop the best option for any company.
Here are some of the cardinal rules to consider when designing a logo for any brand.
1 – A Picture Will Cover a Lot
An old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this is true.
A logo represents your brand and will be communicating with associates and potential customers everywhere it appears.
The image or perception they build about your brand will depend on the image or graphics on the logo.
Choose a relevant image that can represent your brand. The idea is that people will instantly know what your brand represents without having to read anything on the logo.
From research, images are easier to decode. As a result, you will be communicating faster when you use an image on your logo than when such images are missing.
Choose a classic image for your logo. Avoid the trendy images or ideas that may not be universal. For instance, a tour company cannot simply use a jet or cruise ship.
Such images are restrictive. Choose images that can communicate without requiring the assistance of words. Such images reduce clutter on your logo, making it easier to decode and relate.
2 – Leave Room for Empty Space
Empty space on a logo is as important as the graphics you will include. Simply put, adopt a minimalistic idea in your design.
Keep the design as simple as possible.
Empty spaces help you quickly transfer the logo on other surfaces like letterheads, t-shirts, and branding materials.
You can also alter the background colour without losing the authentic feel of your logo. Further, empty spaces make a logo easier to recognise, especially from a distance.
White is a favourite colour when dealing with empty spaces. Other colours are pronounced when placed against a white background. For this reason, the logo will maintain its authenticity or features regardless of the background colour.
Empty spaces on a logo make it legible, especially when placed as a small print. It keeps the logo clean regardless of the background colours used.
It is imperative when reading the logo from a distance.
If people do not struggle to recognise your logo from a distance, your brand will feel attractive. However, the empty spaces must be strategic.
Too much free space could render the logo unrecognisable and ineffective in communicating your brand position.
3 – Shapes are Professional
Most objects have a distinct general shape. For instance, cars may be rectangular. A pizza is shaped like a pie.
Other objects are circular, triangular, and such other shapes. The idea is to create a boundary within which your target customer base can think.
Even when a logo is printed on a t-shirt or company manual, there are boundaries to the logo.
The most common shape is the rectangle. It is mainly used where a logo includes a word or several words. A viewer can tell where the logo starts and ends. It gives your logo a professional or neat feel.
Shapes and boundaries also help you to enhance colours. For instance, the inside of the shape may be filled with a particular colour, similar to what you use on your products.
The words or other objects inside the same are pronounced because the object is filled with a solid colour.
Shapes do not necessarily cover the entire logo. In some cases, they form a part of the logo. Such dynamics help the logo to communicate boldly because it captures dynamic elements of shape and free space.
In other cases, letters or graphics have hidden the shapes. These are options to consider when you want to include any shape on a logo.
4 – Imagine Your Logo on Multiple Surfaces
You may be designing a logo to appear on company letterheads, but it is just the beginning. You will transfer it to t-shirts and other merchandise within a short time.
Logos also appear in different products and branding materials like walls and pens.
A designer should deliver a logo that can be transferred to multiple surfaces without losing its meaning.
Imagine the logo on a bent surface like a cup or a building. Look at the logo from all directions to see whether it will maintain its meaning. If the graphics result in distortion, it is time to reconsider your choices.
Today, video is becoming a crucial part of branding. Imagine the logo on a video, either on television or YouTube videos. It must look as clean and recognisable as though it is pasted on a wall.
Consistency in branding and appearance ensure that a product or brand does not send mixed signals.
If the message is distorted or misrepresented on video or any other platform, you will have lost the communication battle.
Potential customers may keep away from your products. Guard the integrity of your brand by imagining the logo on different surfaces.
5 – Consider Different Markets
Logos must be sensitive to perceptions in different markets. The reality is that the meaning of images and words will change from one community to the other.
A cow, for instance, means something else for people in some countries in Asia compared to a market in Europe or the USA. For such a reason, consider the undertones prevailing in each community where a company operates.
Words are also as sensitive as images added to logos. A word or combination of letters may take a different meaning when read in another language.
Such ambiguity will compromise the message you are trying to communicate. Research the meaning of words and symbols in different communicates to avoid branding backlash.
Age groups are also sensitive to images and words. Older people associate different symbols with a particular message that may be different from young people.
If you have a product or brand serving a multi-generational market, you must avoid miscommunication. To avoid such pitfall, it is advisable to stick to a neutral language or symbol.
Neutrality helps you avoid the need to rectify a logo long after you have branded and sent a message to numerous markets worldwide.
6 – Think Simplicity
The most illiterate person in your target market should recognise the brand. Logos are not opportunities to display your ability to hide messages in symbols.
At the same time, a logo does not have to represent everything you do as an organisation. It should provide a general idea.
In some cases, a logo does not say much about your company or what it does. You may pick a letter in your name and use it as a logo.
For instance, Google and Facebook have picked the first letters on their names, yet their logos are recognisable.
Hire an online essay proofreader to help you polish your work before submission. The exercise will ensure that your ideas are not misrepresented.
Errors in grammar or choice of words will also not derail your arguments.
Simplicity is an advantage during branding. You can print a letter on any surface without losing the authenticity of your logo.
At the same time, people recognise your logo instantly without trying to decode hidden messages. Simple logos are also memorable. This is a crucial branding element because it helps to build loyalty.
7 – Be Unique
Millions of logos are developed every day. However, the ideas are yet to come to an end. There is more room for captivating logo ideas.
Focus more on creating a unique brand identity. For instance, all companies offering air travel services do not have birds or aircraft on their logos.
Choose a unique and original brand idea. It instantly captures the attention of the market because it feels like a fresh entrant.
Above that, your customers will begin to associate your brand with innovation. The market sees you as capable of delivering new products since you appear different.
The unique idea must also be simple. In some cases, it might reflect the goods or services you offer. In other cases, people will recognise and associate you with the goods in future. Choose unique images and graphics that will not confuse potential customers.
Logos are subject to copyright infringement. If the logo looks similar to that of your competitor, you will be facing court battles.
It is also an advantage for you to appear unique. People buying your products should never pick that of your rival because the logo is confusing. It is for your safety that the logo should appear unique.
8 – Be Sensitive to Colours
It is impossible to copyright a colour. Any company can use whichever colour it deems fit for its logo. However, even this freedom has a limit. Colours come with connotations.
Take an example of technology companies. Most choose blue on their logo because of the cloud effect. Children's products feature colours shades like pink and luminous green. Women's products are also big on pink and such feminine colours. Such colour choices are deliberate and informed by natural preferences.
A little research into logos in the industry will give you the general direction to follow. For instance, green is a perfect choice for any health product, primarily herbal or green extracts.
Still, it would help if you made the logo stand out among the many other companies using various colours.
The choice of colour will also impact your branding. Some colours are an eyesore on billboards or company letterheads.
It explains the choice of cool colours and shades that are easy to print over other colours.
Black and white are worth mentioning in the discussion about colours. Black is best used in writing a message on a logo. It is rarely used as a background because it creates a dull effect.
White, on the other hand, requires a background when used on a logo. It would quickly disappear on a wall or letterhead.
The general rule is to use colours that reflect your industry. Avoid colours that would raise branding issues like being too conspicuous or fading into the background.
Remember that colours are crucial in building the perception people have about a brand.
9 – A Classic Logo Wins
Can your logo still make sense twenty years from now? This is an invitation to avoid trendy ideas. Think beyond the current trends so that the logo will remain relevant beyond the current generation.
The trouble with trendy logos is the idea being overtaken by time. The ideas are informed by celebrities, movies, music, popular culture, or a wave sweeping the industry.
While such waves help you to gain popularity fast, you will also lose favour at a similar speed.
The secret is to create a timeless logo.
In some cases, such logos are recognised after the brand has topped the industry. The logo does not in any way add to the value of a brand.
An example is Coca Cola. The brand has nothing to do with the products under the more prominent company. It is just a logo that has represented one of the biggest brands in the world.
The best logo design is one that people of all generations can recognise and appreciate.
The underlying secret is that people first love the services or product before the logo. However, the logo will still contribute to brand recognition and popularity.
For a designer, the primary task is to deliver a simple, memorable, and appropriate logo for a product or service.
Think of the logo on multiple surfaces like billboards, merchandise, and electronic media. Make it unique, and you will have a viral logo in the end.
What logo design rules did we miss? Leave a comment below.