You know a great logo when you see one but you would like to know how to properly design one. A word of caution if you're thinking about going the "do it yourself" route in designing your own logo. It is one thing to read and understand the elements or principles of good design, but applying them appropriately is another matter. The explosion in software development has flooded the market with a wide variety of programs that will enable you to design your own identity. Even the most basic Desktop Publishing program has enough features to get the job done. Creativity is an art, not a science, and all too often novices sit down with the DTP software and are so enamoured with the available features that they use as many of them as they can. Professionals know what features to apply and in what proportions. The Internet has made a variety of lower cost professionals available at reasonable prices. Most offer custom design services and include diagnostic interviews so they can learn what your company is all about. So at least explore the possibility of hiring a professional design consultant to help. The use of color will illustrate one of the many benefits of professional services. If you go it alone your DTP program will let you concoct color combinations never seen by human eyes. But when you take your logo to the printer, can they be reproduced? A professional designer will know.
Organizing Principle of Logo Design
The color discussion leads us to the organizing principle of design: simplicity leads to functionality. Think about it and you'll realize that some of the best logos ever created are really pretty simple. The McDonald's Golden Arch, Apple's apple with the bite out of it, and Nike's "swoosh" are all examples. So where does functionality fit in? Logos are used in too many ways to even list. Consider some of them: on the corporate offices and satellite locations, on banners and billboards, on the Internet, on letterhead and business cards, on every piece of marketing material the company produces, on promotional items like shirts and hats, and yes, even on the tops of sticks placed in drinks served at company sponsored events. Simple images will work for any of those uses. They can pretty much go anywhere and do anything. So remember the KISS principle: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
Font Style and Size
As is the case with all elements, Fonts should be selected which match the nature of the company's business. If you want viewers of your company image to be reassured that your company is reliable, safe, and trustworthy, avoid flashy fonts and bold use of font sizes. Leave that for the companies representing bold, new, and innovative fields like alternative energy development. Banks and other financial service companies should use traditional and familiar font styles.
Again, use bold colors like reds and oranges for bold businesses. Muted colors are not what you want here. Use of a lot of colors can actually be distracting. The old Apple logo contained multiple layers of color but it was redesigned to improve its functionality in the late 1990's.
Using Enhancing Effects
Many good logos simply present the company name and graphically enhance certain letters by wrapping them or stretching them in some way. Look at the FedEx logo. Simply boxing off the name created the desired effect. Simple, yet functional! That is how you design a logo.