Logo design tipsSo your boss has decided that it’s time for a new company logo. He’s also decided that hiring a designer for the job would be too costly and would like to have the logo created in-house.  You are the employee who gets stuck with the task due to that one art history class you mentioned taking in college. Lucky you!

Before you panic and start updating your resume, consider these 3 logo design tips for non-designers. They’re not guaranteed to make you a pro overnight, but they will help you get started in the right direction and help you avoid creating a disaster.

Tip 1. Keep It Simple

While it’s a good brainstorming exercise to write down all of the different types of imagery that are or could be associated with your company, that doesn’t mean the entire list needs to show up in your logo. It’s best to keep your logo design simple.

If you were to identify a successful pet store logo, you’d likely see either a cat, a dog, maybe both, or perhaps a hamster on a wheel. You wouldn’t find a cat, dog, hamster, snake, ferret, tiger, parrot, turtle and a partridge in a pear tree. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The Mona Lisa is a great work of art, but it wouldn’t make a great logo.

Logos aren’t just viewed on large billboards, they are presented as smaller signs, and shown in even smaller formats such as business cards or website headers. You want your logo to be recognizable from a distance and when presented in small formats. Nike, Target and Apple are some of the world’s most successful brands. There’s a reason they all have simple yet highly effective marks for their respective logos.

Tip 2. One to Two Colors is Plenty

Keeping with the same “Keep It Simple” theme, you should be careful about how many colors are represented in your logo. Fewer colors are more “digestible” to the consumer.

You only have a moment to grab their attention. They are more likely to remember seeing a purple elephant than they are a blue and red elephant on green grass inside an orange circle. That pastel green, blue, pink and yellow color scheme may look great on that jacket you wore for Easter, but it’s not the tasteful look you want for the new company logo.

Tip 3. Make Sense

If you have to explain the meaning behind your logo, you’re probably doing it wrong.  Successful design in the consumer world is about effective visual communication.

For example, Apple has an apple for a their logo. There is no guesswork here. If a company has the scales of justice for their logo, it’s not going to be difficult for consumers to quickly identify them as a lawfirm, or some sort of legal entity. However, If you’re starting a smoothie business, having a drawing of a cat, a piece of cheese and a hamburger for your logo is not going to make any sense at all.  

You’re going to get tired of telling every potential customer about that one day when your cat named Cheddar chased his dream by jumping on the dining room table and stealing your hamburger. His courage may have inspired you to fulfill your dream and start your own smoothie business, but your backstory is going to be irrelevant to your customers. They just want a smoothie. And since your logo didn’t have a smoothie, or some sort of fruit that goes in a smoothie, you’re not likely to be telling this story anyway because they’re across the street at Smoothie King.

Remember, these are tips to consider when hiring an experienced graphic designer is not an option. While these tips will give you a headstart on creating a “serviceable” logo for your company, they won’t turn you into a pro. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him a world class logo designer with 3 quick tips from a short blog. If the goals for your company are better than serviceable, contact an experienced designer or marketing company.

Horton Group has a team of design and marketing professionals, all eager to help you with your next logo design project. Give us a call at 615.292.8642 or request a quote online.

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