14 Logo Design Principles for an Awesome Logo

What makes a logo great? That’s a question every business owner asks themselves when embarking on a branding strategy.

The answer to that question isn’t exactly simple, but it’s also not unattainable. All you need is a set of core design principles, a bit of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.

This guide covers the various principles of logo design and the necessary actions to help you create an awesome logo. We’ve put it all together in a neat and easy-to-follow package.

Here are the sections if you want to skip ahead.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Do Your Research
  2. Visualize the Value Proposition
  3. Keep It Simple
  4. Make It Relevant
  5. Make It Memorable
  6. Choose the Right Colors
  7. Find the Ideal Font
  8. Add Shapes Wisely
  9. Select the Perfect Icon
  10. Use Negative Space
  11. Get Three-Dimensional (3D)
  12. Make It Scalable
  13. Make It Versatile
  14. Test It With Mockups

 

The Five Types of Logos

Before we start, let’s quickly review the five types of logos.

  • Wordmark: A word or words with a unique design.
  • Lettermark: One letter or acronym of the brand name.
  • Brandmark: A visual icon representing the brand.
  • Combination: A visual and a word combined.
  • Emblem: An encompassing visual that includes the text.

As you create your brand’s logo, you’ll have to decide which type makes more sense for your company. You may also find that you need a combination of two or three types.

Additionally, here’s a video to help you learn how to design a logo in Visme.

Now, let’s look at 14 logo design principles to help you create a stunning, relevant and memorable logo that takes your brand to the next level.

 

1 Do Your Research

To properly design a logo for your company, it’s essential to do some branding groundwork first.

Brainstorm your brand concept and story, and put together a mission, vision and purpose value statement. Next, write down your core values and craft an outline of your brand voice.

To start visualizing what a logo could look like, create a mood board or brain map using keywords about your brand. Then, list possible visualizations like icon ideas, shapes and letterforms.

Do some research into your niche and industry market.

  • How do the logos of your competitors look?
  • Do they inspire you, or are they bland?
  • Do you see a similar trend in all the logos, or are they all wildly different?

Look into your target market — learn who your customers are, what they do, and what their goals, hopes and dreams are. You can also create user personas to get to know them better.

 

2 Visualize the Value Proposition

When creating a logo, it’s also vital to visualize the brand’s value proposition. This means finding the brand’s uniqueness factor and all its visual touchpoints.

A template to help businesses create their mission statement.

The logo is the foundation for all this work, and it’s what makes your logo unique and special. Don’t copy other logos or follow a current trend; find your own way to represent your brand.

A big reason for being unique is that it gives your logo longevity and timelessness. No matter how much time passes, the logo will still be relevant to your brand and the target market.

How do you do this? Part of your research in the previous point was to do a market analysis of other brands in your niche and industry.

Look for the gaps in pain points, messaging and visualization from other companies. Tap into those spaces and find the ideal connection with your brand.

Create another mind map to find your brand’s uniqueness factor.

 

3 Keep It Simple

Simplicity in logo design is vital. When a logo is convoluted, complex or difficult to understand, it dilutes your brand value.

Believe it or not, keeping a logo simple is not as easy as it sounds. Make it too simple, and it becomes forgettable. Add too much unnecessary design, and your logo becomes unattractive.

So, how do you know when it’s right? It’s a feeling you get when seeing it. You might not be able to do this independently and will need other people to help with feedback. Show them a couple of options and record their answers.

The logo template below is attractive and simple; the shapes aren’t overwhelming, nor do they feel unnecessary.

Another, more practical reason for simplicity is the need for your logo to be used on different visual channels.

If there is too much detail, it will be undefined when the logo is displayed on a small screen or print material. If the font is complex, it might be hard to read over colors and textures.

 

4 Make It Relevant

Your logo is front and center on all visual assets — it’s what everyone sees when they interact with your brand’s touchpoints.

But if no one understands how your logo matches your brand name or story, your brand won’t seem relevant or powerful. So, remember to think both about your branding strategy and your target market, as you don’t want to alienate the latter.

Take, for example, The London 2012 Olympics logo, which is made infamous in endless roundups about “bad logos.”

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The negative feedback was that people didn’t feel that it was related to The Olympics.

To make your logo relevant, you need to know the point of communication between your brand and the target market.

Relevance is evident in the colors, fonts, and shapes you use.

  • What fonts make sense for your brand style?
  • Do the colors represent the feeling you’re aiming to convey?
  • Does the overall shape tell a relevant story of your company?

These are the questions you need to ask when figuring out your logo’s relevance.

The logo template below for an interior designer conveys a sense of elegance and grandeur. A sun shape that could easily be a fancy mirror completes the story with a classy serif font.

 

5 Make It Memorable

A memorable logo helps build brand equity and brand loyalty.

When the target market can tell your logo apart from millions of others they see every day, your brand stays in their memory. Just make sure the memory is a positive one!

The Coca-Company Company has one of the most memorable logos in history. Everyone around the world, at every level of society, can recognize the Coca-Cola logo. The same applies to the Nike Swoosh and the McDonald’s Golden Arches.

To make a memorable logo, use timeless fonts and colors that don’t follow current trends. Use visual techniques to avoid your logo looking like a simple word with a nice font. Another vital aspect of memorability is the uniqueness factor, which we covered above.

Use relevant and exciting visuals to accompany your brand name in a font that stands the test of time.

 

6 Choose the Right Colors

Here’s a trick straight from professional graphic designers:

When designing logos for a client, the first versions are always in black and white. They don’t add brand colors until the end. Why? Because when you choose colors at the beginning, you’re distracted and will have a hard time creating a balanced and unique logo.

Try and do the same for your own logo.

A color psychology guide infographic.

Once you have a logo covering the core principles, add colors. When selecting your brand and logo colors, consider the emotional, cultural and psychological factors of each color. Every color has positive and negative connotations, cultural perceptions and emotional responses.

The colors in the logo template below are vibrant and eye-catching. Even though they are all strong colors, they go well together.

 

7 Find the Ideal Font

Finding the right font for your brand and logo can take time; don’t rush it. Try different styles that match your brand personality and test their versatility. Some fonts look better with more spacing between letters or at a heavier weight.

Consider font psychology and how it affects the message and emotional aspects of your brand. A well-chosen font gives your logo distinction, making it feel solid and dependable. Think beyond the words in your brand name and tap into how the logo will make people feel.

In 2010, Gap rebranded its logo and released a new, modernized version with a blue square. The new logo was so badly received, they went back to their original iconic elongated serif logo.

The logo template below uses a serif font as well.

The company for the above logo is a financial advisor, a type of service that tends to be serious and corporate. An elegant serif style is just what it needs to stand out and be memorable.

 

8 Add Shapes Wisely

Shapes are the building blocks of design and for a good reason. With the creative use of shapes, a simple circle can be transformed into a myriad of other things. Use shapes to form the logo or complement a wordmark.

The graphic below shows a simple yellow circle and a red half-circle representing the sun and a cut watermelon.

Why? Because of our perceived notions of reality. Simple shapes can mean so much more if you give them the space to shine.

The logo template below uses a rotated square to create a sense of depth with the bold typography of the company name. Red in this scenario can represent fire, or maybe a hot piece of coal.

 

9 Select the Perfect Icon

Aside from shapes, logos can also use icons as a visual element. An icon, in definition, is a visual representation of something.

While an icon can be technically a shape or a group of shapes, the difference between a shape and an icon when it comes to logos is that if it can be used without the brand word, it’s an icon. If it makes no sense on its own, then it’s not an icon.

Take a look a the logo template below.

In the logo example above, the icon is a three-part puzzle composition in varying colors. If you take away the main text, the icon can easily be used for social media bios, or any place where it needs to be more subtle.

 

10 Use Negative Space

One of the best (if not the greatest) design techniques that can make a logo tick off all the boxes is negative space.

Of course, like every visual creation, it has to be well done and make sense to the story. Many of the world’s most memorable logos use negative space, FedEx, NBC and Adobe — just to name a few.

This year, a logo for a veterinarian clinic (MedVet) went viral when someone tweeted it with the comment, “Imagine how the designer must’ve felt when they came up with this logo. I’d ruin my life chasing that high again.” That’s the power of a negative space logo.

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To create a negative space logo, select two solid shapes or icons or a letter. Use the smaller visual to create the negative space effect inside the larger element.

This simple logo template uses negative space to create a unique travel logo with an airplane inside a cloud.

 

11 Get Three-Dimensional (3D)

The 3D trend has been growing in all aspects of design, but it’s always been a thing in logos. A 3D logo has something extra that a flat one doesn’t, and it’s not that difficult to do!

There are varying levels of 3D logos, from a simple angular design in the icon to a full-scale depth effect on every letter.

This logo example uses a 3D shape icon to stand out while also being simple. It gives the entire combination mark a fresh look that’s memorable and inviting.

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In your Visme editor, you’ll find a large selection of 3D icons, shapes and illustrations that could work great on a logo. You just have to change the colors to match your brand, add a bit of uniqueness to the design and you’re good to go.

 

12 Make It Scalable

Scalability is one of the five core principles in logo design. This principle pertains to how a logo is used on many brand touchpoints, from embroidered uniform shirts to road-size billboards.

For a logo to be scalable, it also needs to cover a few other factors. For example, it needs to be simple, and have good colors and font. A thin font might look ok on a large scale but be almost illegible when scaled down to the smallest size.

Likewise, too many similar colors will blend when small and might even look unnecessary when large. To know if your logo is scalable, print it out in different sizes, from one inch to maybe even a foot in width.

The logo in the template below is simple and unique enough to be easy to read at any size. With two circular shapes as the visual element, these are easy to scale because they complement each other well.

 

13 Make It Versatile

Versatility and scalability go hand in hand; they work together to make your logo look amazing in any use case, from business cards to merchandise. The core of versatility is to have two or even three versions of your logo.

This is where the different types of logos work in unison to create a set. The first iteration of a logo set is two versions; one dark and one light theme to use over their complementary background. This way, you always have a suitable logo, no matter the background’s color.

Likewise, if the logo on your website navigation bar is horizontal, this won’t be suitable for a social media profile image. In this case, you’ll need a lettermark or icon to fit inside a circle.

The logo below is represented in two versions, a vertical and a horizontal variant. This icon is also unique enough to be used on its own as a website favicon.

14 Test It With Mockups

There’s no better way to test the core principles of your logo than with mockups.

Try different styles of mockups in different color backgrounds, your logo in varying sizes, and your color and composition variants. Using mockups solves the guessing game of not knowing if something will work or not when it’s printed or created.

Designers use mockups to test their creations and show them in real-life simulations to clients and stakeholders. Use mockups to show the logo to your team or friends helping you user test.

If you are building in public, mockups offer a great opportunity to showcase the process of your work on social media.

 

Design the Perfect Logo For Your Brand

Now that you’ve made it to the end, you’re ready to create an awesome logo for your brand. With these tips and all the others in our blog, you can represent your brand in the best possible way.

If you’re looking for an easy way to make a logo that’s unique and versatile, check out our free logo maker. It comes with plenty of ready-to-go logo templates, and you can easily download your logo in high-quality and PNG or JPG format.

Better yet, you can add your logo and branding into any other design project. In Visme, you can create business and marketing materials like presentations, brochures, social media graphics, videos, infographics, reports, proposals, brand guidelines and more.

When you’re done designing your logo, display it to clients or your team using our free mockup generator. Visualize your logo design on business cards, digital screens, print, merchandise and more.

And if you’re not ready to start designing yet, you can learn more about logo design through the following resources:

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