If you’re a small business owner, you know that standing out can be one of your most challenging tasks. Attracting new clients often comes down to your presentation. You can have the best product in the world, but if your logo is sloppy and unprofessional, customers will flock to your better-prepared competitors.
Creating a corporate logo can be tricky since you need to establish a brand identity recognizable for years. Slapping an image over some text just won’t cut it; you need a design that speaks to your target audience and projects your company’s values.
Many small business owners hire freelance logo designers, but that can be costly. And you can easily create one yourself with a free custom logo design maker. Tap or click here for five free small business resources to save you some cash.
If you decide to create a custom logo for your business, Dreamstime has five tips you should follow. Here are five steps to designing a logo your customers will remember.
1. Know your target audience
Understanding who it is you are marketing to is the most critical step. Before you can design any part of your marketing toolkit, you need to know who will see it. Research your customers’ demographics, buying habits, and needs to build a marketing toolkit that speaks to them.
Check out the Amazon logo as an example. It’s stark and black, but the yellow arrow infuses playfulness into it, giving it a universal appeal.
The logo also makes the company’s drive for speed crystal clear. The arrow goes from A to Z, signifying Amazon’s relentless need for speed. Not only that, but the arrow also looks like a smile, which tips you off to the company’s obsession with customer satisfaction.
Visual harmony is one of the keys to good graphic design. Your logo is just one element of your marketing strategy. Think about how it plays with the other visuals customers will see when they look you up online, like:
- Social media avatar
- Tag line
- Email templates
- Landing pads
- Business cards
- Stationary templates and more
Remember: You need to maintain a professional appearance at all costs. Part of a professional web design is a unified color scheme.
Let’s put it this way: If your website, social media and templates are all in blue and white, you shouldn’t have a crimson logo. It doesn’t match. The visual discordance between logo and website color will put off people who visit your site.
Disharmony suggests a lack of unity. It may sound abstract, but this is the impression customers will get when they look over your visual presence. Even if they can’t put it into words, they will be subtly put off by the lack of consistency.
Bottom line: All elements should be consistent to reinforce your company brand to potential clients. Make sure to mix and match design elements like the color scheme, imagery and fonts across your media.
3. Choose a color scheme
You just learned about the importance of uniformity in your color scheme. But if you haven’t picked one out yet, you might be wondering which colors you should choose to represent your brand. Thanks to psychologists, we know that specific colors inspire different emotions.
Some of these emotions are positive, while others are negative. Make sure you choose a color scheme consistent with the marketing message you want to portray. Here’s what each color represents, from positive to negative:
Positive: Passionate, aggressive, important, warmth, power, excitement, love
Negative: Anger, revenge, attention, lust, aggression, strain
Positive: Playful, energetic, cheap, enthusiastic, courageous, creative, comfort, fun, warmth
Negative: Flightiness, lack of conviction, deprivation
Positive: Happy, friendly, warning, joy, self-esteem, confidence, competence
Negative: Laziness, depression, anxiety, hatred
Positive: Natural, stable, prosperous, tranquility, calm, money, hope, good taste
Negative: Jealousy, envy, boredom, stagnation, blandness
Positive: Serene, trustworthy, inviting, competence, quality, intelligence
Negative: Coldness, fear, unfriendliness, unemotional
Positive: Feminine, young, innocent
Negative: Weakness, inhibition
Positive: Luxurious, mysterious, romantic, royalty, trusting
Negative: Foreboding, introversion, suppression
Positive: Earthy, sturdy, rustic, rugged
Negative: Humorless, heavy
Positive: Powerful, sophisticated, edgy, formal, evil, darkness, expensive
Negative: Mourning, scary
Positive: Clean, virtuous, healthy, purity, innocence
Negative: Cold, unfriendly
Positive: Neutral, formal
If you want to come up with a bold color combination, you’re in luck. Some resources can help inspire your designs. Check out this guide to 42 logo color combinations from Tailor Brands.
4. How to find good imagery
Now that you’ve figured out your logo’s color theme and font, it’s time to tackle imagery. A picture speaks a thousand words, so pick one that tells an accurate story about your brand.
Go for images with strong design elements that differentiate you from your competitors. You’ll want images that stand out instead of conforming to norms. People are drawn to what they haven’t seen before.
Of course, don’t go overboard. Avoid overloading elements in an image. If you pick cluttered or overcrowded images, you might be suggesting hidden messages you didn’t even intend.
Just remember: Social media users will pick up even the tiniest inappropriate element and run with it. You never want to go “viral” for all the wrong reasons!
When picking out good images, look for pictures that are clean with a clear focal point. They should represent ideas that you want most associated with your brand.
5. Choose a Font
How you say your message is just as important as what you are saying. Choosing the right font will go a long way in expressing the right message to your target audience. Two of the best fonts you can use are Serif and Sans Serif.
These are the classics. When you open Microsoft Word, the default fonts are Serif fonts: Times New Roman and Cambria. If you’re looking for a classic, Serif fonts are a good option.
Thanks to the small strokes on each letter, they have a traditional appeal. Using them implies class.
Plus, they’re easy to read, making them an excellent option for books, brochures and other forms of printed text. Other popular Serif fonts are Georgia, Garamond, and Baskerville.
Here’s a fun fact. If you didn’t know this, the Sans in Sans Serif means “not.” Since Serif is defined by the small decorative flourish at the end of each letter, Sans Serif lacks those flourishes.
You’re probably familiar with the Arial font. It’s the quintessential Sans Serif font. It’s modern, clean and clear. Many businesses use these fonts for easy readability. They’re also popular for eReaders and websites since you can clearly see the words even when dealing with low resolution.
Sans Serif fonts are versatile, too. If you use a font with thin lines, your logo can look regal. Pick one with thick lines, and you can express rugged strength and hard work.
Keep these design tips in mind when building a new logo
Combine each of these five elements to create a brand identity that will be an asset for years to come. Searching for photography inspiration or images by pro photographers? Dreamstime has all the photos and inspiration you need!