How To Design Brand-Focused Logos Using Graphic Design

July 23, 2013

Design Brand Focused LogosA logo is the face of a company.

Jacob Cass of Smashing Magazine quotes the great designer Paul Rand, stating “a logo is a flag, a signature, an escutcheon, a street sign. A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies. A logo is rarely a description of business. A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it represents is more important than what is looks like.”

They may be considered the most important aspect of a company’s identity. A successful logo is easily identifiable, distinct and timeless. Most importantly, a successful logo fits seamlessly into the brand of a company.

Creating a brand-focused logo may seem simple – often, you have a pre-established template to work with because the brand has already been outlined. However, it may be more difficult than you think. As you work through Graphic Design projects in your degree program, keep these tips for staying brand-focused during logo design in mind:

Research is the most important step when you are designing a brand-focused logo. You must familiarize yourself with the company. Learn:

The answers to these questions make up the company’s identity – and are, therefore, essential aspects of the company’s brand. Knowing this background information allows you to create a design that coincides with a pre-existing brand.

Cass argues that researching also allows you to problem-solve before you even begin designing.

Using your research, you can construct logo design concepts. Sketching allows you to get all of your ideas on paper – trying various designs and combinations.

Your sketches may be very rough in this stage. You can worry about adding detail when you create the logo on the computer before the final presentation. Detail, in logo design, is incredibly important. Many designers, including Fatima Mekkaoui of Six Revisions, advocate for simplicity. Relying too heavily on complex detail or color may not translate when the logo is produced in smaller or larger sizes, or in black and white instead of color, notes Gareth Hardy of Smashing Magazine.

Sketching also allows you to compare your designs to pre-existing logos. Your design must be original – and should not be too similar to competitor logos, no matter how similar the companies’ products are. Keep Cass’s “5 Principles of Effective Logo Design” in mind as you reflect and revise:

A vector graphic is made up of mathematically precise points. This structure ensures visual consistency across multiple sizes – meaning that if your logo is enlarged and minimized for advertising purposes, it will remain intact. This is true no matter when the logo is edited, allowing it to be adapted by the company at any point.

Using vector graphics is the standard practice for logo design. Hardy advises using either Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, both of which are vector graphic software programs.

The alternative is to use a raster graphic, or bitmap, which is made up of pixels. When the scale is changed, the graphic becomes distorted and blurry. Amateur designers may also use stock art, but Hardy strongly argues against this. Stock art is not unique.

Your logo design should be an original concept. Choose graphics that ensure originality and flexibility.

Choosing the right typography is very important. The font should flow with the logo, contributing to the design rather than being disrupting or distracting.

The font must be legible, appropriate and original. Finding the right balance may be difficult. You may want to explore online font foundries, which offer better typeface options.

Though you may want to use more than one font, be careful not to use too many fonts in your logo. Remember that simplicity is valued in logo design; be careful not to weigh down your logo with too much typography.

The last step in the logo design process is presentation. Once you have finalized the design and created a final draft on the computer, you must present it to your client.

Remember to prepare for you presentation. Support your logo with your research, showing the client why your logo fits in with their concept and their needs.

Though this may be the final stage of the logo design process, you may want to be flexible and open to revisions. The presentation may yield helpful advice from the client – the company may want you to tweak a particular part of the logo, change a color or reword something. Be willing to work with the client and understand that you are designing for them (not for yourself).

Interested in logo design? Talk to your advisor about enrolling in Advertising Design or Brand & Identity Design courses next semester.