How to Create a Logo

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Create a Logo
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01. Start with the basics
Before you start pulling out the pens and paper, you first need to understand the basics of logo design. This section covers what a logo is, and isn’t. It explains why a logo is important and worthy of your investment.
Figure shrugging shoulders at logo design

Why is a logo important?

For most people, the first time they’ll come across your business, they’ll see your logo. Whether it’s on your website, your business card or at a stand, it’s a visual representation of who you are. Without a logo, your business is faceless.

Here are a couple of compelling reasons why you need a logo. Explore all 9 in our article on logo importance.

A logo helps you stand out from your competition

In a crowded market, an unique logo is your differentiator. Sure, your competitor might sell the same things as you, but the way you sell it is uniquely yours. Research your competitors’ logos. Look for any elements they’re all using, like similar colors, icons or fonts - then avoid using them!

A logo conveys key information

One look at Apple’s crisp, clean logo and you get the idea that they sell modern technology. That’s the power your logo has. It can tell people what industry you’re in, what you sell, and your values. It’s achieved through clever choice of color and imagery. Think about how logos with ornate typography suggest luxury and elegance. Brainstorm what you want your customers to know simply by looking at your logo. Then work out how you’ll convey this information.

A logo gives your business an identity

By showcasing your business’ personality through your logo, it’ll draw people in and reinforce your business name and brand.

A logo helps develop brand recognition

Our brains process and retain images better than text. A logo is a visual way to help people remember your business and brand. We might forget business names, but we can probably describe their logos.

Is my logo my brand?

Your logo and your brand are 2 different things.

Your brand is people’s understanding of your company, like what you do and believe in. It’s communicated in many ways; through your advertising, customer service, website, marketing material, and also your logo.

Confused figure holding up t-shirt with brand on it

Good logos are memorable

Think Starbucks’ green mermaid, Google’s multi-colored typography or Nike’s swoosh. The best logos become part of our common knowledge. This means wherever you are in the world and whatever language you’re speaking, you’ll always recognise certain brands.

Good logos clearly communicate brand values

You should reflect the nature of your business through your logo. If you believe in no-nonsense, down-to-earth service, the best logo for you would include sans serif typography and simple color choices.

Good logos make your business easy to understand

If you’re a handmade pie maker, your logo should include words like ‘artisan’ and ‘pies’. Then with one quick glance, your customers know exactly what they’re getting – delicious pies.

Where to find logo design inspiration?

If you’re wondering where to start with your logo design, we’ve rounded up the best places to head for logo design inspiration.

Go online

One of the best places to find inspiration for your logo design is online. Browse from the comfort of wherever you are and feast your eyes upon some of the world’s best design work. Although not specifically logo design, you’ll still be inspired by the vast amount of creativity out there, in all art forms.

Tip: our top picks are Dribbble, Behance and Designspiration.

Check out the competition

Whatever industry you’re in, see what logos your competitors are using. Look for common themes – the same types of typography, colors, or icons. Then avoid these to design a logo that’s completely unique to your business.

Think about your business

For a logo to be effective, it should reflect your business. To do this, think about your history, mission and vision, and value. Gather as much information as you can and keep it front of mind when designing to ensure your logo really sells your business.

Go old school

Okay, now you can dig out the paper and pen and start doodling. Let your hand and thoughts flow. Avoid overthinking what you’re doing, unleash your mind and see what happens.

Take a break

An overworked, stressed brain isn’t a creative one. Step away from the paper or screen. Take a stroll, get some fresh air, make a coffee, or pat the dog. Even better, stop for the day and start again tomorrow. After a decent break, your brain should be raring to go again.

Step two
Plan your design
It’s nearly time for the fun stuff. But first take a step back and think through your logo design. We’ll guide you through the different logo types and explain the psychology behind color and font choices. This will help you choose the best type and style of logo design for you.
Figure planning the design of a logo

Choose a logo type

There are 6 different types of logos - explore which could be right for you.

Wordmark

The most classic type of logo, a wordmark is the text of your business name. Because your typography is the star, you’ve got the opportunity to be creative with font, colour, spacing and shapes. It also means that your typography choice is critical, as the style of your wordmark evokes your business’ personality.

Combination

The combination logo is the most common type of logo. It does exactly what its name suggests: it features a combo of a wordmark or monogram with a logomark. Combination logos are used by some of the world’s biggest companies and are highly flexible. You can use them in multiple ways, like using the symbol on its own; the wordmark or monogram on its own; or using them both together.

Mascot

A mascot is an illustrated character that represents your business, like an ambassador. They tend to be colourful, cute and cartoon-like. Because of this, they’re mainly aimed at children and young families. It needs to be well-designed so that it complements your logo but also works well standalone.

Monogram

A monogram logo usually involves 1-4 letters. These can either be the first letter of your business name or the initials of your business name, if you have a long one. Like a wordmark, a monogram uses typography rather than symbols. Because of this, they’re legible, simple and memorable.

Logomark

A logomark is a standalone image or symbol. It can be pictorial and represent a real-life object or it can be abstract. A true logomark is only an image which doesn’t include a business name. This is a big risk for new businesses.

Emblem

The emblem is the oldest form of logo. Traditional, it’s text inside a symbol (usually a circle) and often has a vintage feel. Imagine badges, seals or crests. The emblem is a cohesive, all-in-one image. This means you can’t use the typography separate from the symbol.

How do I choose the right logo type?

If you’ve read about the 6 types of logos and are still unsure, consider:

How established is your business?

If you’re starting out, a wordmark or combination logo is a good choice.

How will you be using your logo?

If it needs to work on and offline, make sure it can be scaled to different sizes, and is still legible if you print it out or upload it online.

Are you after flexibility?

Do you want your logo to grow with your business? Design a wordmark or monogram, and a logomark.

Figure reaching for different logo types

Select your font

You’ve got your logo type (check), your logo colors (check), now it’s time to choose your logo font.

So why is font important in logo design?

Your font represents your business

Your font choice speaks to your potential customers. That’s because we all associate fonts and their appearance with certain perceptions. So, your font should represent your business. If you’re a young, progressive business, you should pick a young, innovative font. If you’re a serious, professional services business, you should pick a traditional, heavier font.

Your font provides consistency

Your font should extend beyond your logo and be used in all your marketing. Wherever your customers are - your website or flicking through a brochure - your font should be the same. Providing a consistent image makes your business more memorable and builds brand recognition.

Your font ensures readability

Without customers, your business doesn’t exist. Put them front of mind by making your logo and marketing material as easy to read as possible by choosing a legible font.

What are the different types of logo fonts?

To choose the best font for your business, have a look at 5 types of logo fonts and the feelings they evoke.

Sans Serif Fonts

Sans serif fonts are the fonts without feet. They were first used in print in the 19th century, making them more modern than serif fonts. They’re considered a cleaner, simpler, more engaging alternative to serif fonts.

Associations: stability, objective, clean, modern, professional, innovation

Good for: clothing brands, IT and technology businesses

Display Fonts

Display fonts don’t have any common characteristics. That’s because they’re usually one-offs, designed exclusively for a business – think Disney or Lego. Display fonts are highly creative and unique yet are most frequently used in logos.

Associations: friendly, unique, expressive, amusing

Good for: any type of business because they’re so customizable

Modern Fonts

Modern fonts aren’t actually modern. They’ve been around since the 18th century. They feature thick and thin transitions in the strokes between the letters. They can also have thin horizontal serifs.

Associations: strong, progressive, stylish, chic, exclusivity, intelligence

Good for: science, medical, IT, technology, high end beauty or fashion

Serif Fonts

Serif fonts have feet. You’ll recognize them by these decorative accents and the thick to thin stroke changes throughout the individual characters. With a long history, serif fonts create a sense of heritage, tradition and class.

Associations: tradition, respectable, reliable, comfort, stable, elegant, classic

Good for: law, finance, academic or professional services

Script Fonts

Looking beautifully handcrafted, script fonts give a looping, whimsical and slightly less structured feel. They can make your business feel more personal and help customers bond with you better. They suggest creativity and inspire an emotional response.

Associations: elegance, affectionate, creativity, sophistication, femininity

Good for: charities, childcare products or centers, clothing designers, artisan goods, any business seeking a personal touch

Pick a logo color

Using color in your logo is about more than making it look pretty.

Your logo color tells people what your business is like: happy and upbeat, serious and trustworthy, young and modern, traditional and classic. This helps customers connect to your business on a deeper level.

By choosing your logo color carefully, you’re choosing the feelings you want people to associate with your business. Get it right, and you’ll hopefully attract customers who’ve already bought into what you do and how you do it. And this will hopefully convert into more sales.

Figure choosing the color for a logo

Choosing the right color

Start by considering the message you want your logo color to communicate. To do this, think about your business’ personality. Are you brave and bold? Straightforward and simple? Mature and trustworthy?

Once you understand your key business personality traits, you can match them to the best color(s) for your logo. We’ve rounded up common associations with popular logo colors below.

White

White is a clean and simple color that implies luxury and sophistication. Because it reflects light, a large amount of white can be uncomfortable to look at. But it’s great at making other colors in your logo ‘pop’.

Associations: purity, innocence, new, fresh, hygiene, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication, efficiency, exclusivity, luxury, peace

Yellow

Yellow has attention-grabbing sunshine vibes. Bold and bright, it suggests cheerfulness and an easy-going attitude that helps to build a positive business image.

Associations: friendly, cheerful, youthful, energy, positivity, happiness, confidence, encouragement

Orange

Like its yellow sister, orange is an energetic, youthful and mood-enhancing color which creates a friendly, approachable brand. Thanks to its brightness, using orange can help your logo stand out. Plus, it’s used less often than its red sister but still delivers a sense of energy and fun.

Associations: energy, excitement, prosperity, warmth, playfulness, change, fun, enthusiasm, creativity, heat, youth

Green

Because our eyes can recognize the most shades of the green palette, green is easy on the eye, restful and calming. With its clear visual links to nature, it’s frequently used by businesses wanting to emphasize their eco-friendliness and healthiness.

Associations: nature, health, wealth, tranquility, harmony, fertility

Violet

Violet (or purple) is traditionally associated with royalty and spirituality. It resonates well with younger customers (18-25) who enjoy its rebellious, mysterious nature. Older customers usually see it as aloof, decadent and impractical.

Associations: spiritual awareness, luxury, authenticity, truthfulness, high quality, introspection, creativity, extravagance, fantasy, sophistication, mystery

Black

White is a clean and simple Black absorbs light, making it strong and authoritative. It appears luxurious and suggests exclusivity, making it a great choice for high-end goods.

Associations: power, strength, intelligence, glamour, luxury, modern, efficiency, sophistication, prestige, elegance, mystery, seduction

Silver

With its otherworldly associations, gleaming silver is a symbol of purity and luxury. Yet its metallic appearance can suggest steel weapons, especially blades. This gives silver a hard, unbending feel.

Associations: virtue, purity, sleekness, wealth, grace, elegance, high-end, industrial, technology, luxury

Gold

No color is better at suggesting luxury than gold. It oozes glamour and suits high-end products and services intended for the elite, not the everyday.

Associations: wealth, victory, wisdom, royalty, prosperity, glamour, luxury, prestige

Red

Nothing divides quite like red. A powerful passionate color, with undertones of danger and lust, it demands attention.

Associations: power, energy, strength, excitement, passion, courage, love, celebration, seduction, aggression, lust, defiance, anger, stress

Pink

Pink is a typical choice for businesses targeting women. It’s sweetness and light, calming and comforting and evokes a dream-like sense. By playing with different shades of pink, including neon or magenta, you can create a modern, youthful look.

Associations: warmth, love, sexuality, romance, femininity, nurture, tenderness, hope, sweetness, innocence

Blue

Blue tops the list of favorite colors. It gives businesses a sense of credibility, strength and professionalism, helping to instill trust. It’s favored by some of the world’s biggest brands.

Associations: wisdom, loyalty, spirituality, mystery, sophistication, respectability, calm, control, logic, honesty, intelligence

Brown

Supportive and comforting, brown is the color of earth and wood and can be used instead of green to promote eco-friendliness. Tending towards more masculine, brown can make your brand seem rugged and serious.

Associations: nature, reliability, seriousness, confidence, security, friendship, practical, stable, down-to-earth, conservative, maturity

Grey

Grey makes a solid base for a logo because it’s completely neutral. This makes it easy to work with and allows it to brighten up light colors and calm down strong, dark colors.

Associations: practicality, efficiency, timelessness, classic, serious, mystery, professionalism, conservatism, dignity, stability, modesty

Step three
Create your own logo
The fun stuff! The actual logo design stuff you came here for. We’ll explain how much your logo design could cost and present in-depth analysis on 4 logo making options to help you understand costs, time and quality. We’ll even help you choose which method is best for you.
Figure planning the design of a logo

Your logo making options

We invested hours in hand-testing a wide range of logo design tools. This includes 15 logo makers, 5 logo designer sites, 5 logo design contests and 7 logo template sites. They cover a variety of price points, from free online logo creators to freelance logo designers. By using a consistent design brief and set of evaluation criteria, we compared like-for-like to find the most cost-effective, simple ways to design a top-quality logo.

Here’s an overview of the 4 methods we tested:

Use an logo maker

Logo makers are online design tools. They’re a cost-effective, quick way to produce a good-looking logo. You’re guided through a few easy questions to determine your ideal logo design and style before being presented with suitable templates. You then customize the logo template to your business using a simple online editor.

Price range: free – $200

Time required: 5 – 60 minutes

Logo quality: 3 stars

We rate the Wix Logo Maker the best thanks to its modern web experience, great customization, intuitive editor and quality result. This is closely followed by Logojoy and Tailor Brands.

Logojoy is brilliant to use, well-priced and produces clean, modern logo designs. Tailor Brands has more of an artisan vibe, with quirky touches. We’re impressed by its top-quality designs.

See our roundup of the best logo makers.

Hire a freelance designer

Work closely with a freelance logo designer to create a bespoke logo that’s unique to your business. Working off your design brief, remotely-based freelance designers are a flexible way to produce a high-quality logo (sometimes with a high price tag).

Price range: $250 – $2,500

Time required: days to weeks

Logo quality: 5 stars

Our favorite designer site is 99designs, thanks to its beautiful, modern web experience. Create a free account and you can view their massive range of quality freelance logo designers.

Dribbble is a close runner-up. Designers’ portfolios are beautifully presented and a joy to scroll through. Invite-only, Dribbble delivers the best in design quality.

See our roundup of the best logo designers.

Run a logo contest

Crowdsource your logo design by running a contest. You upload your design brief and wait for designers to respond. If you’re not wedded to a certain logo style, they’re a great way to explore multiple design options. Easy to set up, it usually takes 7 days to receive multiple logo designs. You then choose your favorite and work with the designer to refine it.

Price range: $99 – $1,300

Time required: days to weeks

Logo quality: 4 stars

Out of the 5 logo contest sites we visited, none were terrible. But we loved 99designs the most. Although pricier than others, we feel the quality and its simple and enjoyable web experience is worth it.

Edit a logo template

Let a designer do the hard work for you by buying a professionally-designed logo template. You then download it and edit it in your own design software, like Adobe Illustrator. Because you have the original source files, you’ve got great customizability. A logo template is affordable and quick and works best if you’ve got a good design eye.

Price range: free – $1,500

Time required: hours to days

Logo quality: 3 stars

We rate Canva as your go-to logo template site. It has a drag-and-drop online editor, which means you don’t need expensive design software to customize your logo. You get access to thousands of quality logo templates which you can easily amend yourself.

How much should my logo design cost?

It depends on a lot of things, like the method you choose and the quality you’re after. From the 4 logo making options we hand-tested, we found logo costs ranged between $0 and $2,000+

Whatever budget you’re working with, you’ll find a logo design method that fits it.

Under $100

If you’re looking for a free logo, we recommend trying a free logo maker, especially Hatchful by Shopify. If you’ve got a small budget, try an online logo maker, especially Wix, or a logo template from Canva or GraphicRiver.

$300 - $2,000

With a mid-range budget, give a freelance designer from 99designs or Dribbble a go.
Alternatively, run a logo contest on 99designs.

$2,000+

A top-end budget should look at using a design agency (not covered in this guide).

Figure looking in their wallet to see how much he can afford to spend on a logo
Congrats!
You’re done, now what?
That’s it! You’ve got a logo you love and you’re ready to unleash it on the world, right? Not quite yet. First learn what file types you need and how to protect your business and brand by trademarking your logo. Then you’re good to go!
Figure planning the design of a logo

Choose the right file type

Choosing the right file type is important because it’ll ensure your logo will look its best, wherever it is. These are the 6 most common logo file types. We’ll provide you with a quick overview of each, which includes its features and what use it best suits:

PNG

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) are a raster format making them easy to read across a wide range of software. They’re ideal for viewing images on a screen. As a lossless image format, they’re high quality and full detail. Whether you compress or decompress your image, it won’t lose its quality. With its ability to display millions of colors, you’ll get a vivid image.

Good for: websites, social media banners, favicons, thumbnails and icons, web documents, email signatures, watermarks on images

AI

Adobe Illustrator (AI) files only work on a compatible version of Adobe Illustrator. They boast the same benefits as PDFs – think unlimited resolution and crisp, clear images – but are limited to use with Illustrator.

Good for: creative design of icons or brand mascots, all print materials (e.g. business cards, posters, stickers, etc.)

EPS

Like a PDF, Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) files are a vector format. They’re editable, allow transparency and retain all the vector paths and formulas. One of the best bits of EPS files are their scalability. You can resize the image as much as you want, and it’ll still look vivid and crisp. They look great on large billboards or small business cards.

Good for: all print materials (e.g. business cards, posters, stickers, etc.), clothing

JPG/JPEG

Like PNG files, Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPG / JPEG) files are a raster format. But they have lower image quality. This is because they use lossy compression. You might see pixelation when you enlarge or compress a JPEG.

Good for: websites, social media platforms, forums that support lots of graphics

PDFs

Portable Document Format (PDFs) make complex graphics easy to view on a range of devices. To edit a PDF graphic though, you’ll need specialist design software, like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. With their unlimited resolution, you can scale PDFs without getting blurry images. They also support transparency, so you can use them on colored backgrounds and images.

Good for: all print materials (e.g. business cards, posters, stickers, etc.), clothing


SVG

One of the newest file types, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) offer the best of both worlds. They’re vector graphics that can be scaled to any size or resolution without losing quality. But they’re coded in XML, a text-based programming language. This means all standard browsers and digital devices can read them.

Good for: all print materials (e.g. business cards, posters, stickers, etc.), clothing, websites

So, what file logo type should I use?

Confused? Here’s a simple summary to help you find the right logo file type:

Need a logo for any digital purpose?

Choose PNG files.

Need a logo for any printing purposes?

Choose SVG files (if accepted), or EPS or PDF.

Need to send your logo to someone to make changes?

Choose SVG, EPS or AI files.

Figure working at computer considering which logo file type to choose

Trademark your logo

The final step in protecting your logo, business and brand is to consider trademarking your logo.

In a nutshell, trademarking your logo protects the design and business behind it. Think about Nike’s trademark swoosh. If you spot that on a pair of shoes, you know they were designed and made by Nike. But another business could sell shoes with a swoosh on them, making you think they’re Nike shoes.

This is bad for business in 2 ways:

  • Nike loses money from the lost sale.
  • Nike loses customer confidence if the other swoosh-adorned shoes were poor quality.

US law states that your trademark is infringed upon when another business’ brand elements are similar enough to confuse customers. In this case, if your logo was trademarked, the other company would need to stop using theirs immediately.

How much does it cost?

It depends. There are multiple filing options, ranging from $225 to $400. The cheapest option has the strictest requirements. You may also choose to use a trademark attorney to help you, which is at your own expense.

If you get anything wrong in your application, expect to pay additional processing fees.

How long does it take?

The total time for an application to be processed can be anywhere from almost 1 year to several years.

How do I trademark my logo?

USPTO’s website outlines every step that you need to take.  Alternatively, you can use a trademark attorney.

Another option is using an online service, like trademarkengine.com. They’ll file your application on your behalf and aim to make the whole process simple, fast and affordable.