The Webster English dictionary defines a logo to be: An identifying statement. – Source
A statement, in turn, is defined as: the act or process of stating or presenting orally or on paper. – Source
Now presentations on paper can be textual or may contain images. Therefore your logo can be either text based or an image or a combination of both. The importance of a logo is evident by the fact that the example sentence that Webster gives for a logo is:
- The company’s logo is instantly recognizable all over the world.
- The above statements should be the core criteria when you are thinking of creating a new logo for your business.
You will be identified and recognized by your logo. It is the first thing people see about your business and in fact in some cases it is the first thing people see even before seeing your products. Therefore you must take utmost care in choosing it.
Take the example of Amazon. They have crafted this logo very carefully.
Few people might have noticed the fact that what the arrow in orange means? If it would mean nothing Amazon would never have added it.
The arrow points from a to z. This means Amazon sells everything from A to Z. Secondly the arrow (or the curve) signifies a smile that will appear on a customer’s face after buying from Amazon.
Some people argue that people like Seth Godin and J. K. Rowling do not have a logo for their business and therefore they too don’t need a logo. They say; “If they can succeed without a logo why can’t we?“. Well, Seth Godin is an established name. He doesn’t need a logo for publicity. His name is enough to attract customers. And no matter how famous he is, he is less famous than Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Both of them have created logos for their businesses.
Secondly people like J. K. Rowling may not have a logo for themselves but their works contain a logo. See the images below to understand what I mean.
All Harry Potter movies write the protagonist’s name as above. Whether it is a poster, movie-ad or the movie itself – the above form remains unchanged. That is what is called branding.
The emblem of Harry Potter’s school, Hogwarts.
So what should your logo look like? And should you design it yourself or approach a designer? I have attempted to answer these questions in this article.
Do you need a designer?
Well this question cannot be answered in just a yes or no. It depends entirely on you. Logos range from very simple to very complex.
For e.g. Facebook’s logo is very simple. You can design it even on MS-Word in 2 minutes. You don’t need a designer for that. (By the way, this logo was designed by a designer.)
On the other hand if you are aiming for a logo that looks something like above and you are not a professional designer then you definitely need a designer.
If you have even the slightest of creativity and drawing ability and you don’t need a very complex logo, then you can do it yourself. A software program like Photoshop is a must. If you don’t know Photoshop, no worries. There are hundreds of tutorials available on the internet both on Photoshop’s official website and on other sites like YouTube. Just do a Google search for something like “Photoshop text color fade effect tutorial” etc. and you will find many results.
Photoshop is not a cheap software. (Amazon is selling it here for $650!) So if you can’t afford that you can Google for something like “free+alternatives+photoshop”. You will get satisfactory results and for no matter which software you select – you will almost every time get a lot of free tutorials.
If this doesn’t work for you then you may consider visiting websites like Logo Maker. Websites like this provide free tools to create professional looking logos for free. No designing skills are required.
But if you don’t like the above suggestions and decide to approach a designer then keep the following things in mind:
Check the designer’s portfolio necessarily. Usually designers (like many other freelancers) have a portfolio page on their website. There you will find the previous works done by the designer. See if you like that. If not – move on. There are plenty of designers available online. You can always find what you want with a click of a mouse.
Obviously you cannot afford to buy a logo for $400 when your budget allows for only $50. Check out the prices before pitching the designer.
Check out whether the references provided on his website are true or not. Don’t just be satisfied with big names there. Cross check. Sometimes quoting someone out of context may change the entire meaning of a statement.
Think it over
No matter whether you approach a designer or not, you need to have at least some basic idea of your logo in your mind. Designers will usually ask you to fill out a form which will contain questions as to how you want your logo to be crafted. Although a designer can, of course, design a logo for you without any inputs from your side but it is always better to give him specific instructions for two main reasons.
If you’ll tell him to work as he wishes, he will probably think that you are a newbie and you know nothing about design and can therefore try to fool you. (I’m not saying all designers are like this, but there are black sheep in all trades. So it is better to be careful.)
Secondly suppose the headings, links etc. on your website are all blue in color. Then you should tell the designer that you want a blue color in your logo to match with the theme of your site. That looks visually appealing. More on this below.
As I said above the colors used in your logo must be fine tuned to match those of your website. This means that if you have used the color red on your website, then you must use the same shade of the color red in your logo. It is better to know the HTML color code of that color and repeat the code again wherever required to preserve consistency. Else your website may look a little non coherent.
Some people prefer to create a logo first and then create their website. This gives them full liberty to choose colors for their logo. Some others prefer to first design a website and then use the same colors in the logo. So you may do as it suits you.
You will have to use your logo in different sizes. If you are using it as a Gravatar then it will be a thumbnail view and if you are using it on your site’s banner then it will be very large. It may be even published in books so it should withstand different sizes. For that to happen, your logo must be of a high resolution. If a logo is of low resolution then it will get pixelized i.e. get blurred on enlargement.
Nowadays people not only copy each others’ content but they also copy away other people’s logos. The anonymous blogger who calls himself The Blog Tyrant says in this post that some people copied away almost everything (including his logo) from his blog.
Such things usually don’t work. Take a look at any of the top websites. They all are original. Original in design, content and logo. An original logo not only will exempt you from the blame of being a cheater cock, it will also make you stand out of the crowd.
Many people tend to forget this rule. If even after watching tutorials of all sorts and trying free logo maker websites, you are still unable to make your logo on your computer then leave your computer aside. Every one of us must have taken drawing classes in school. Use that knowledge instead.
Take a piece of paper, draw away certain designs, select the one that you like the most, refine or redraw it if required, color it, scan it and there you are. Take a look at this interview on Freelance Switch on how Steve Gadlin managed to make a successful business online through his strange nursery kid drawings.
So with this we come to the end. How did you design your logo? Or how are you planning to design it or have it designed? Tell me in the comments below.
Don’t forget, that I specialized in branding and logo design, and I am always willing to help you or provide further guidance.