Other Lessons in This Course
- What Your Logo Says About You
- The Beginner's Guide to Image File Formats
- What is Vector Art?
- Color Scheme Tools
- What Makes a Good Logo?
- What Your Logo Says About You
- What is an Imprint Area?
- How to Make Promo Items Without A Logo
- Which Social Media Icons and Logos Can I Print?
- Minimum Font Sizes On Promo Items
- Why Do Monitors Display Colors Differently?
- What are My Imprint Color Options?
- Stress Ball Design Tips and Tricks
- Adding Color to Your Promotional Products
- Decoration Tips for Reusable Water Bottles
A logo combines several different elements to paint your brand's overall picture, with each piece displaying something about your brand identity. But before we delve into each component a logo should have...
What is a logo?
A logo is a catchall term for an emblem or other custom mark that serves as a visual representation of your company or organization!
What is the Word "Logo" Short For?
The strictest graphic design purists will insist that "logo" is short for "logotype." A logotype is a word or a company name written in a stylized way. The trademarked ways Google, Disney, and Coca-Cola are written are all logotypes.
However, many people also use the word logo to refer to a logomark. A logomark is a graphic, symbol, or other identifying mark that doesn't contain any words. Target's red bullseye and the apple that represents Apple computers are both logomarks.
The Plot Thickens
Making matters even more confusing are combination marks. Combination marks contain both text and a graphic symbol (like the Sprint logo), and emblems, which are a specific type of combination mark that incorporates text into a visual element (like the NFL shield or the Starbucks crest).
Experts may separate these marks and designs into categories, but generally speaking, most people refer to them all as logos. There are certain design attributes that any artist will keep in mind when creating the ideal company logo.
What Does a Logo's Color Mean?
Is it any surprise that, in any logo, color is one of the most important elements? After all, color has been shown not only to affect people's mood, but also their buying choices when they shop.
Red - Excitement, Boldness, Hunger
Orange - Friendliness, Cheerfulness
Yellow - Optimism, Confidence
Green - Peace, Nurturing, Freshness
Blue - Calmness, Strength, Security
Purple - Imagination, Creativity
Black - Tradition, Sophistication, Authority
You can find all sorts of guides and infographics breaking down the thoughts and feelings that color can inspire. Here are some examples of the emotions and impressions that colors have been shown to convey:
What Does A Logo's Font (Typeface) Say?
If you decide to represent your company with a logotype or a combination mark that uses both text and a symbol, you'll have to give some thought to how you want that text to look.
Many people use the word "font" to refer to the visual style of a written or typed set of characters. This is another term that graphic designers might point out as not being technically correct. The word "font" comes from the days of old-fashioned printing presses, when it referred to the different variations of text (like bold and italic) found within one style. So what term should you use if you want to discuss a style of text? That, friends, is properly called a "typeface," or type.
And just as with color, different kinds of type have different effects on people's perceptions of your company. Again, you can find all sorts of guides, but here are some examples of the impressions different typefaces can create for your brand:
Serif typefaces, which have a little tail at the end of the stroke (think Times New Roman), are thought to be traditional and comforting.
Sans serif typefaces, which don't have any tails or flourishes (think Helvetica), are thought to be clean and modern.
Script-like typefaces, which are any of the types that look like calligraphy, can represent elegance or creativity.
What does a logo's symbol say?
This, perhaps, is one of the hardest questions about logo design to answer, because a symbol can be anything: an owl, a footprint, an abstract series of three equilateral triangles. Imagination is the only limit when it comes to thinking up a symbol or logomark to represent your business, if that's the route you choose to go.
Should You Use a Symbol in Your Logo?
Of course, it isn't necessary to have a graphic or a picture as your logo, or even as part of it. There are pros and cons to using symbols in logo design:
- A symbol doesn't depend on text
- It's great for mobile marketing
- Symbols work well for apps
- Images vary across cultures
- You have to be significant in popular culture to be effective
What's Your Story?
If you decide to use a symbol to represent your business, the most important point (aside from making sure that it's distinct and recognizable) is making sure it tells your business's story and explains what you do. The Instagram symbol, a small, square–shaped camera, is an excellent example of a symbol that does just that.
And in all aspects of logo design, it's important to make sure your logo can be shared and reproduced on a wide variety of advertising materials including websites, letterhead, and yes, promotional products. Your logo is your brand, and having a brand symbol that translates well across multiple mediums is an important part of sharing what your company has to say!