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5 Principles of Effective Logo Design Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

5 Principles of Effective Logo Design

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


What are the main principles of logo design? How to design a logo for a business? How should an effective logo look like? What are the elements of a good logo?

A logo is a starting point in creating visuals for a startup. Everyone relies on his own taste and experience in choosing logo design for a business, but we will try to explain what key points you should pay attention to.

1. Name is important

What is the main component to start with when creating a brand from scratch? It’s your business name, of course. It must be well-t­hou­ght-out before designing a business logo.

If you want designers to generate great ideas, make sure that they have something to work on. Intere­sting names awaken their imagin­ation, so they are more likely to find a solution that will accomplish your brand. When a name is strong and clear it’s easier to draw a semantic parallel and use visual associ­ations.

A successful combin­ation of a name and related icon design will definitely affect your customers. This way your logo will become eye-ca­tching and memori­zable.

2. Delivering a message

A semantic message is something that connects you with customers. There is no doubt it’s definitely one of the “must have” features of an outsta­nding logo. An effective business logo delivers inform­ation about a company, its aim lies in distin­gui­shing you from compet­itors. Applying the message approach, you can drop a hint about the services you offer, or show some advantages of choosing you among others.

Using mood is surely important to evoke customers’ emotions. A logo can make you credible in people's eyes. Let your potential clients believe at first sight that this is what they have been looking for. It will help a lot, especially if the task is to design a logo for a small business.

The message you deliver doesn’t necess­arily have to be literal. Using a metaphor can often work better. And don’t be afraid that the hint is hardly readable – lots of famous companies have hidden inform­ation in their logos. It keeps interest in their brand alive. Encourage people to get to know you closer

3. Compos­ition

Designing a logo is a huge process. Here the constr­uction stage begins. As visual perception is extremely important, the first rule in this regard is a balanced compos­ition. It’s the way to make your rough idea more accurate.

Compos­ition rules are used in every part of graphic design and in creating any visual product. And for logo design, compos­ition is a basement, a skeleton.

Logo design principles include building a geomet­rical constr­uction. There are no better tools for achieving a well-b­alanced compos­ition.

4. Color combin­ation

Choosing colors for your logo is a challenge. Let us give you some advice how to find perfect ones.

The best decision is always to apply colors that match your business direction or traits of your business strategy. And, as everybody knows, each color has its own mood and influences people in different ways.

But be careful with colors, because there are some options you should bypass. For example, avoid neons as they are proble­matic when using white or black backgr­ounds. They are also difficult to implement in print ads.

Choosing combin­ations of highly saturated colors is also a dangerous idea. It can cause low readab­ility. They often get too vibrant (bright pairings of blue and red, red and green) which is hard on the eyes. Applying more contra­sting combin­ations and pairing bright colors with less saturated ones is a better decision instead. And consider that all logo elements have to be readable.

It’s also important to predict how your color combin­ation will look on different backgr­ounds and surfaces. This affects the look of your future UI (User Interf­ace).

But don’t stick to matching colors with your business specifics too much. It’s always great to break rules and try something unusual.
For example, color psychology says that red is the most attractive to the human eye. It first catches your sight in the surrou­nding enviro­nment. Red was used to create Virgin logo, one of the most effective logos in the business world. It is dynamic and provoc­ative, just as the company. And the color matches those traits perfectly

5. Adapta­bility

Techno­logies are rapidly progre­ssing in the course of time. Smartp­hones and other devices have already become an essential part of our lives, and if you want to stay afloat there is no chance to ignore it.

When designing a business logo, don’t forget that it will be used on different surfaces — from small screens and print ads to huge billbo­ards. So if you want to stay recogn­izable everyw­here, it must be respon­sive, especially when it comes to e-comm­erce.

Let’s get closer. The main task of adapta­bility is to make a logo look good everywhere and in any size. Fussy and detailed symbols were OK 20 years ago. And now, in the age of techno­logy, they aren’t that effective anymore. The principle of simpli­fic­ation works here instead.

Adapta­bility is also one of the reasons old logos are remade. For example, how would you perceive Apple’s first logo if it was used in mobile interface? Those kinds of design cause a lot of problems at the UX (User Experi­ence) stage.