Kristin Pruis • November 5, 2018
If you are ready to learn how to make a logo for your biz, you probably fall into one of two camps: crazy excited and overwhelmed with tons of ideas or completely clueless and afraid to even get started. Either way, you want to avoid getting so stressed that you forget what your end goal is: a beautiful logo that represents your brand well.
So are you ready to learn how to make a logo? If you’re not saying ‘YAASS’, then you might want to try a different article 😉
01. Don’t stress.
First things first. Take a deep breath. I say this is the first step because people can get seriously stressed when it comes to creating their logo. Remember it’s just one piece of your brand. It’s important but it’s not everything.
Related Post: 3 Things to Know Before You Create a DIY Logo
02. Define your logo’s communication objective.
Now let’s take an inventory on what you want your brand to communicate. What is your biz about and what problems will you help people solve? For example, let’s say you are a pilates health coach with the business called She Fit. You may want your brand to communicate strength, optimism, and self-love. However, if you sell boutique handmade soaps and body products, you probably want your brand to communicate things completely different like indulgence, beauty, and richness, for example. Use these examples to help you pick 3-5 key words that describe what appeal you want your brand to have based on your audience and services or products. Got ’em? OK – let’s keep moving!
03. Create an inspirational word bank.
Now write your key words down and we’re going to expand upon them. For each of your key words think of at least 4-5 more related words. If my 3 key words are strength, optimism, and self-love from the She Fit example, I might break those down further to something like this:
Now, think of this entire collection of words as your inspirational word bank you can pull ideas from to create your logo. These will also be the same words you judge your final design against to see if what you created matches what you are trying to communicate. Here’s where things get tricky because now we are going to translate our words into a visual that starts to resemble a logo. Assuming you’ve already got your chic biz name picked out, you should now pick an idea from your list that speaks to you most. For example, let’s choose the word ‘powerful’ and brainstorm ways we can translate that into a design.
04. Research and sketch out your initial logo ideas.
If you don’t have any ideas at all, you should do some research. Use your word list as a starting point and find logos that do a good job of communicating similar ideas. Our goal isn’t to copy what someone else has already done but just look for inspiration and pull together ideas that work for your brand. I like to create a Pinterest board with all of my ideas in one spot. If you already have some ideas for what your logo could look like, go ahead and quickly sketch them out with pencil and paper. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself an artist. A simple rough sketch will be good enough just to get your idea out of your head and onto the page.
05. Start designing your logo.
Once you’ve got some ideas to start with, it’s time to get busy. Do you notice any recurring elements in your drawings or researched ideas? This is a good place to start. If I’m noticing a lot of bold sans-serif fonts I might start formulating my logo idea with a bold font to help me represent the idea of power. If you don’t already have a good font on your computer that you think will fit the job, you can search for bold fonts from Creative Market or Google fonts or other similar font websites. Both of the sites I mentioned have an awesome preview demo feature that allows you to see your business name in the font so you can be sure that it will be a good fit before you buy or download it.
Once you find a font that you like, install it on your computer and use Adobe Illustrator to design your logo. Don’t have Adobe Illustrator? You can use another vector graphics program. The key is to use a program that will give you maximum flexibility and creativity (which you won’t get when using a program like Canva.) Open your program and select your chosen font to type out your biz name. Chances are, it might look a little plain at this point but we’re getting there. Don’t worry about colors right now – just stick with grayscale. We’ll do some fun experiments with the text first to help our logo look more unique.
06. Experiment with different type settings.
Try adjusting different text properties and adding effects to give some uniqueness to your text. Experiment with different options depending on what message you are trying to communicate: Tracking, kerning, alternate glyphs, ligatures, flourishes, creative alignment, spacing, warping, cutouts, and manipulation of the individual letters themselves are all techniques you can use to customize your text. Below are some examples of how I begin experimenting with logotypes. Don’t be afraid to be creative! You can combine multiple techniques or opt for something simpler. However, do try your best to make decisions based on the meaning they add to the overall design.
07. Add graphics and fine tune your logo design.
Once you have your text in an arrangement and format you like, decide if your logo would benefit from the addition or integration of graphic elements. You can experiment by adding simple lines/shapes or create something more complex if you are comfortable working in Illustrator. Incorporate graphic elements using basic design principles to help communicate your message, but don’t feel like you need to add extra elements just for the sake of it. Sometimes a simple logo design is the best solution. Another way you can add graphics to your logo is by purchasing pre-made logo illustrations from a site like Creative Market. However, remember that when you do, you are limiting your logo’s ability to be unique since many other people may have used the same design elements.
08. Decide on a color palette.
OK – So now we’re getting somewhere. Settling on your color palette should be one of the last steps you take when designing your logo. Why? Because while your brand’s colors are very important, it’s better to focus on the text and the graphics as your priority. Adding color should help tie all of your other design elements together. Remember that color is a powerful emotional trigger and choose your colors accordingly. Choose colors that evoke the sentiments from your word bank. If you find you are just choosing your favorite colors, you might need to go back and make some tweaks based on the message you are trying to communicate to your audience with your logo. Try several different combinations and compare them to each other to see how their differences affect the overall impression of your design.
09. Get feedback and revise your logo as needed.
You’re in the home stretch of making your logo, but you’re not quite done. Once you have decided on the general layout, design and color scheme for your logo, you will want to share it with other people to get their feedback. Just because you think your new logo looks totally amazing, doesn’t mean others will feel the same way. Aim to get the honest opinion of at least 3-5 people that fit your target audience profile. This will ensure you get well-rounded feedback and can make adjustments as necessary. This is also a great time to revisit your word bank of ideas and make sure that your final design feels in-sync with your initial key words. If not, you may need to figure out why and make some changes. Using my brand She Fit as an example, I would ask myself does my logo feel bold, powerful and purposeful? If so, then it looks like I’ve hit on all the communication points I intended to.
10. Sit back and admire your gorgeous new logo design.
You made it this far so you totally deserve a break. Take a minute to bask in the glory of your beautiful new logo. Feels good, right? Now, get busy promoting it! Start by adding it to your website or blog and using it on all your social media graphics. Now that you have a cohesive looking brand you, people will start to take notice that you mean business.
What do you think? Are you ready to take on a logo design by yourself? Let me know what questions you still have on how to make a logo and I’ll be sure to answer them ASAP! Or reach out to me to help you create a gorgeous one-of-a-kind logo design for your business! I’d love to help!