How to Create a Logo for Your Small Business

There’s a lot of thought that goes into creating a unique, well-designed logo for your small business. Your logo is part of your visual branding package. It helps create trust with your client base. Even if you are just starting out, it communicates to people you are an established and a legitimate business while acting as a symbol your audience can quickly recognize and associate with your company without much thought. But your logo design shouldn’t just be your business name in a fancy font — there’s more to it than that.

What Makes a Good Logo Design?

The theory behind a good logo is KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid, Sweetie, Sonny, Stan (or whatever non-offensive bit works for you in the last part of the acronym). Just keep it simple.

Your logo is a visual representation of your business, but it doesn’t need to be a graphic novel. It is not your mission statement revealed through images. Have the business name, perhaps an icon and, if you want to get crazy, add your tagline. You don’t need seven separate icons that represent the seven original founders. Leave that for the About Us page on your website.

What you do need, however, is to consider the defining elements of a business logo design:

Typeface Selection

font Sniglet and Cinzel
Your font choice says so much more than the words the letters form. For example, let’s compare the fonts Sniglet and Cinzel. If your business is a funeral home, you probably aren’t going to use Sniglet. People won’t take you seriously and it is insulting to clients in such a delicate industry to use such a comical font. A better choice would be a serif font like Cinzel. It conveys dignity and seriousness.

sniglet font used in a funeral home logocinzel font used in a funeral home logo

That’s not to say Sniglet is a bad font. It’s not. BUT, using it inappropriately can be bad. So let’s reverse the scenario: A bouncy house rental company could use Sniglet, as it shows playfulness and is informal. Cinzel, on the other hand, if used for the bouncy house, does not communicate the FUN the brand represents.

sniglet font used for a bouncy housecinzel font used for a bouncy house

Color Theory

Keep the number of colors you use to 2 or 3 max. This is to help reproducibility, as well as brand recognition. Colors can be as important as the font choice in a similar way. What do the colors say and what feelings do they invoke? Would you use the bright pink and sky blue for the funeral home or for the bouncy house?

However, as important as the colors are, your logo still needs to be unique enough in shape and style to stand on its own if it is reproduced in black and white.

color theory in logos mattercolor theory in logos matters

Speaking of Shape…

Circles, squares, vertical or horizontal, straight or curved lines… These all have underlying meanings.

Circles and curved lines are used to suggest friendliness, continuity, inclusiveness or a global reach, while rectangles, squares, and hard or straight lines can imply stability and strength.

Logo design using circles to show friendliness. Logo design using lines to show stability and seriousness.

Icons

You can go either way with icons. Unique typography can be your logo and be effective on its own, or you can use typography and an icon. Work this out with your logo designer and see what would be best for your business.

What about the Bells and Whistles?

It costs money to rebrand and change your logo. You have to implement your new logo design on business cards, mailers, signage, product packaging, websites, social media profile images, etc. Time and money both add up! Your logo will last longer and you can go further between updates if you keep your logo simple and classic without trendy accessories.

Logo with too many effects.

Drop Shadows

The logo should stand on its own. People will see your logo, and there’s no need to make it POP off the page with a drop shadow. Adding a drop shadow has become a knee-jerk reaction after graphics are added to a document. It’s like salting your food before you even try it. Let the logo speak for itself before you mess with the flavor.

Reflections

It’s just a trend — and it’s on its way out.

Gradients

Since we are in the digital age, this one isn’t as big of a concern. BUT, if there is a gradient, it should be part of the design to show depth or to help create emphasis. There are a lot of trending icons using gradients that are the exception. But there is a difference between creating depth and a three-dimensional effect vs. clicking the gradient button. If you do use a gradient, consider the different ways it will be reproduced. Will you be able to embroider it on a shirt? You may need an alternative depending on where it is used.

Choosing a Logo Designer

Avoid stock icons or logo libraries. You might get lucky and find something you like and it may even be appropriate for your industry — but read the fine print. They are probably going to resell the same logo with minor tweaks to the next guy. It is not uniquely yours. Also, watch out for ultra-cheap logos. You get what you pay for.

Your logo designer should research your industry and ask you specific questions. You want to discuss logo ideas for your new business together. They should ask questions like, “What is the goal for your business?” and “Who is your target audience?” After these key topics are addressed, then you can talk about color choices.

Your logo is an investment in your business, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Learn more about our affordable logo design service here.

Wishing you success in your business,
Maggie

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