How to Make a Good Logo: The Dos and Don’ts
This post was last updated on June 29, 2021.
The function behind a logo goes far beyond being just a pretty visual. As the heart of your branding efforts, your logo should represent the essence of your company’s personality. But does that mean you need to hire a designer to achieve this result? Luckily not. These days, you can create your own logo that is professional, aesthetic and meaningful.
When it comes to good logo design, there are a few simple, but essential rules you need to keep in mind. We met with Ofra Lior, Social Design Team Lead at Wix, to share some of her knowledge, and very useful logo design tips. She shared some easy tweaks and helpful insights that will undoubtedly make a big difference.
From the rules of using handwritten fonts to understanding the importance of balance and thoughtful design, here are our tips on how to make a good logo:
15. Be memorable
01. Explore conceptual icons
In logo design, an icon is a simplified visual that captures the spirit of your brand. A common misconception is that your icon should literally be an image showing what your product or service is. While this may benefit some, it doesn’t have to be the case for all businesses. You can explore more conceptual (or even abstract) icons to emphasize what it is your company does.
Consider Nike, for example. The iconic “swoosh” icon evokes the feeling of movement and speed. Very fitting for a sportswear brand. Think of your icon as a symbol rather than a picture. It needs to be highly visual and easily recognizable. The advantage of a more graphic icon is that it can often carry more visual weight. Ideally, your icon should be simple enough that clients can recall it even after one quick glance.
02. Use the space you have
For most businesses, an icon is simply not enough to fully express their brand identity. If you use a logo maker, you will have a variety of options to insert your name and tagline. Also known as a slogan, taglines are dramatic phrases that sum up the tone and premise of a brand.
Now, not every company has a tagline. And that’s okay, but it doesn’t mean you should let this valuable space go to waste. If your name allows it, you can break it up into two lines while keeping the same font and size for both lines.
03. Play around with caps or lowercase
When it comes to good logo design, sometimes it’s the small details that make all the difference. Something as simple as playing around with letter case could bring your trademark to a whole new level.
Traditionally, uppercase logos give off a strong sense of authority, while the use of lowercase exudes a more approachable, casual vibe. That’s not to say you can’t utilize uppercase text while softening the appearance with your choice of colors. It’s all a matter of balance.
04. Consider handwritten fonts
Creative typography remains to be one of the major logo design trends. Specifically, handwritten fonts are some of the best fonts for logos. They offer a quirky and authentic feel that is sure to delight any customer.
Handwritten typography is especially effective when used as the font of your tagline. If you’ve opted for one of these font styles, then this logo design tip is for you. Often the use of caps for handwritten fonts make them seem less authentic, so take that into account.
05. Balance your tagline
Let’s talk about your tagline. A simple rule to follow to ensure that your logo makes sense is to always make your tagline shorter than your name. This is why we suggest going for no more than 25 to 30 characters. For the same reason, if you’re using a thicker font for your name, it’s best to use a thinner (or more basic) one for your tagline.
06. Adjust your name and tagline
Here’s the golden rule of design—it’s all about visual balance. Although smaller in dimension, your tagline should always be perfectly aligned with your name. This will give your viewers and potential clients a natural sense of harmony. In the situation where either your name or tagline is considerably longer, you can easily solve that by adjusting the font or size of either element.
07. Let your logo breathe
Just like the Mona Lisa, some logos look best when surrounded by a beautiful frame. If you decide to go in this direction, be sure to leave enough space between your chosen frame and logo. In essence, allow your logo some breathing room. If things are looking a little cramped, simply enlarge the frame or decrease the font size.
08. Ensure readability
Your logo will be used in all your branding assets, from the header of your website to your business cards. Regardless of where your logo appears, your text should always be readable. To ensure this, take note of the text size and font that you use, and check the final result on various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), and from different devices (desktop, smartphone, tablet, etc.).
If your logo is too difficult to read, what was the point of designing it in the first place? In order for your logo to serve its entire purpose, make sure it’s readable in any situation, for any potential customer.
09. Create a scalable design
Here’s how to make a good logo—make sure your entire logo design is scalable. Big or small, wherever your logo appears, it should always look sharp and recognizable. This includes both the text (as mentioned above), and any other elements.
Logos that are too detailed or intricate may be challenging to scale down to a smaller size. There is no “one size fits all” for logos, but ensuring that your logo is a high resolution vector that can be adapted to various sizes and file types means it will look good in any setting.
10. Give your background contrast
Following the theme of visibility, another way to guarantee your logo is always ‘seen’ is by selecting a background color that gives enough contrast with your text. If the color of your text is white, go for a darker background color, such as black. So small, yet so effective.
11. Align all your elements
We hate to sound like a broken record, but this logo design tip goes back to the golden rule of design. Once all of your elements (name, tagline and icon) are present, it’s imperative that they are well-balanced as a whole.
While there are no set in stone rules, in order to be on the safe side, we suggest that you align all your elements in the same direction: left, center, or right. Remember, your logo design and content should be one (small happy family).
12. Size up your icon
The size of your icon affects the placement of certain other elements of your logo. Your icon should never be smaller in height than that of your text. To fix this, you can size up your icon to the same height as your text or even make it slightly bigger.
13. Know your competition
Be sure to look at competing brands to see what logos communicate effectively to your target audience, and which ones are missing the mark. Analyzing competitors' logos can not only help you gain strategic insights, but can help you differentiate yourself from the pack.
For example, if all your competitors stick to monochromatic wordmark logos, try designing a logo with color or unique typography to help your brand stand out.
14. Stay as timeless as possible
A classic never goes out of style. While design trends come and go, it can be tempting to follow the latest fad. Using short timed design trends is a pitfall you want to avoid.
Since your logo is the heart of your brand identity and will appear across all your branding touchstones, it is worth putting in the time and energy, right off the bat. This way you can be sure your logo will stand the test of time and look good 5, or even 10 years down the road.
15. Be Memorable
One of the best logo design tips we can share is to make your logo unforgettable. You want customers to not only notice your logo, but to remember it long after. Try to think of some logos that are particularly memorable to you. Why do they stand out? It is likely the positive association to the product of service that comes to mind.
That said, you want people to create positive and meaningful associations with your brand, and a good logo is just the way to do so. Some of the most notable and memorable logos like McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Apple are simple, direct and clearly represent the brand. If you stay true to your brand values and design a logo that effectively communicates who you are, the easier it will be for people to recall your logo and think of your brand.
By Ofra Lior
Social Design Team Lead
By Kylie Goldstein
Branding Expert and Marketing Blogger