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5 Things to Consider Before Designing a Logo

Logos have a long history of representing businesses, big and small. It’s important to take the time to come up with something that’s unique and represents your company effectively.

50 milliseconds – time it takes to form an impression of your business based on the logo. – Taylor & Francis

Why is this important? For starters, customers associate that design with your business. You don’t want to end up with something that looks like a used tissue, do you? Not only that, but a logo is an entity all its own and sends a powerful message with looks alone. Everything about your business is associated with that one image, and it represents you more than a salesperson at a networking event ever could.

To avoid a design catastrophe, keep these things in mind before you put pen to paper and develop your unique logo!

#1 – Your Company’s History

Bring something unique about your history to the forefront of your design, such as a building detail or a fun backstory. Little known fact, McDonald’s is represented by golden arches because that was in their original architecture. KFC uses the image of the Colonel that cooked up their famous recipe. There are a ton of brands, in and outside of fast food, that have a nod to their history in their logo. It’s a smart little homage that will help people remember you.

Bellas LogoTake for example a pretend San Francisco boutique called Bellas. The shop sells bohemian style clothing like long, flowy dresses, loose pants, crop tops, floral headbands, and beaded earrings. For the sake of the example, let’s say the company was started by three sisters. These savvy entrepreneurs can reflect that fact in their logo and still convey what they are all about with a little creativity. Notice how the logo opens like a flower, reflecting their natural vibe, while using the silhouette of the girls to pay tribute to the company’s origins.


#2 – The Psychology of Color

Color has a big impact on how people perceive your logo. In fact, it can increase brand recognition up to 80% across the board. Each shade means something specific and has different implications depending on how it’s used.

Color WheelThink about your brand personality and the feeling you want to evoke before deciding on a color. Are you a law firm that needs to be taken seriously? If that’s the case, bright red might not be for you. What about a bounce house rental company wanting to get everyone ready for a fun time? Then it doesn’t really make sense to go with a muted white or gray. You get the picture.


#3 – Simplicity & Proportion

Generally speaking, simple, easy logos are often more effective than overly detailed ones. The simpler the design, the more likely it is to achieve “The Golden Ratio,” a mathematic equation that assesses the ratio of two quantities.

Golden RatioBack in the day, Greek sculptor Phidias came up with this concept to guide the construction of the Parthenon. It has been since been used as a guide for astounding works of art like the Sistine Chapel and Pyramids of Giza. It’s also been used in the logos of modern companies like Pepsi, Toyota, and Disney.

The golden standard is marked by balance. This is a quality you want associated with your business, and thus, should use in your logo. Luckily, it’s super easy to test if your design achieves this standard by inputting your dimensions into the Golden Ratio calculator.


#4 – How the Font Will Appear  

There have been some serious mishaps with typeface in the past that have completely destroyed a few advertisements. To see what I mean, take a look at an epic font fail.

breakfast butz

As you can see, the name of the cereal is supposed to be “Breakfast Blitz,” but a poor font choice makes it read “Breakfast Butz.” Doesn’t exactly sound like a good cereal, does it?

A poor font choice can lead to serious miscommunication. The example above is the most PG I could find, but trust me, it can get much, much worse. Be sure to keep the font in mind when designing your logo for that reason and because it affects people’s perceptions of your brand. For instance, if you use Comic Sans, you’ll be the laughing stock of the business world, guaranteed. If you’re not sure about your font choice, don’t be shy about asking for a second opinion! You want to make sure it’s legible and congruent with your design.


#5 – Visual Appeal

Logo design is basically a potential client’s first impression of you. If the logo is poorly designed or confusing, people may not trust your business. – Alina Bradford, Freelance Writer

Why design a generic triangle when you have an array of aesthetic appeal at your fingertips? In an ideal world, your design will decorate t-shirts, commercials, and Snapchat ads. It only makes sense to come through with something that meets the eye in a pleasant way.

orange juice

Image source:

It’s also important to be consistent with your image. Your logo becomes familiar to people and gives them certain expectations. It can be a recipe for disaster to change the look once it’s set in stone. Take for instance Tropicana, the popular orange juice brand. After changing their logo and product packaging, they saw a crazy 20% drop in sales that cost them millions of dollars in just two months. People were used to the classic orange juice carton with the name in leafy green and didn’t want change. They became genuine business fans of the company.

Overall, your design should be timeless and appealing enough in the first place to never warrant change later. While it’s possible to change your logo successfully (looking at you Instagram), it’s better to create something eye-catching as you’re building your brand. This can be done through cool gradients, optical illusions, and a really awesome graphic designer.

You don’t have to be a major power player like McDonald’s or Coca-Cola to make an impression with your logo design. Take the time to really think about these tips before sketching out your company’s emblem. Once it’s ready, make sure you print it everywhere and anywhere, from commercials and billboards to mailers and promotional giveaways!

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa loves food. A LOT. Particularly pizza and popcorn, but she knows beggars can’t be choosers. When she’s not stuffing her face (which is rare), she loves watching movies, playing volleyball and softball, and engaging in any number of interesting shenanigans. If she had to pick a spirit animal, she’d be an otter because they are playful and love to laugh. Most of the time she’s laughing at herself, whether other people are laughing with or at her is to be determined.


  1. Wash

    Good tips! I think #4 is the most important: if you don’t know what you want to convey, how are your customers going to know?

    • Dréa Bell

      Thanks Wash! Yes. That is so true. Unfortunately, there are so many companies today that are a prime example of this.

  2. Seth

    This is a really informative blog with some great considerations for custom logo design. One thing I like to recommend to custom logo clients is to consider having a launch party for a custom logo. You can offer them some promotional product ideas and give them some good feedback for how to effectively manage and launch their brand!

  3. Website Logo

    Color plays an important role in a logo. Improper color combination will waste all your efforts and the logo will not look appropriate for your website.

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