Your business logo is what captures people’s interest and helps you to stand out from the crowd. But when you’re just starting out on a bootstrapped budget, you’ll likely have bigger priorities than spending thousands of pounds on a flashy new logo. There are cheaper options – with websites such as Fiverr or 99 Designs offering affordable design services. But for full control at every stage of the design process, many startups choose the DIY option. It might sound a scary prospect, but with the right strategy and design tools, you can get started right away – and in this post we show you how.
Anatomy of a logo
In logo design, simplicity is key. You’ve probably noticed a lot of big brands simplifying their logos over the past few years. Your design will potentially end up on a variety of materials, from packaging to letterheads and business cards. Mike, designer at Moonfruit HQ, advises: “In general, the best logos are those that are versatile and adaptable. It needs to work in different contexts, big or small, and still be instantly recognisable.” Check out Behance for some great examples of branding done right.
Before you get started, you need to determine the components of your logo. You could include a graphic/illustration element (often referred to as the logomark), your brand name (wordmark), your company initials (lettermark) and possibly a tagline. But keep in mind that the more complicated your design, the greater the loss of detail when it’s reduced in size.
You can evolve your branding and increase versatility with a few different logo variations. Chocolatiers Costello + Hellerstein use a simple and clean wordmark, and a separate monogram lettermark which help to create a strong, memorable brand identity. Lettermarks or logomarks are perfect for social media profiles or when you require a more discreet nod to your brand.
Creating your logo
In this post we use Canva to create our logo, but you can use any design software depending on what you have access to, and your experience level. Canva is a great free software for beginners looking to design a logo from scratch. Their simple interface allows you to create beautiful graphics for your brand, even with no previous design experience. Their online logo maker provides a head-start by offering a variety of modern logo design templates that you can fully customise.
First up – fonts. Your logo font plays a big part in people’s perception of your brand. But how do you choose the best typeface for your design? Think about your current brand messaging and identity. Handwritten fonts can give an open, personal feel to your logo and brand. Sans-serif fonts are often associated with modernity and simplicity while Serif fonts convey elegance, authority, and tradition.
Letter spacing can also be increased to make heavier fonts appear lighter and more modern. Florists Buds of Brooklyn use a bold, serif logo typeface but character spacing in their design allows the letters to breathe. If you logo includes two text components, for example a wordmark and tagline, try combining looser and tighter text for extra visual contrast. You can change text character and line spacing directly through the Canva editor.
If you plan to add an icon or illustration to your design, pinpoint what you want to convey and what will best reflect your brand personality. At the same time, be aware your brand will likely evolve and change over the years – along with design trends in general. Go for simple graphic elements and avoid anything super elaborate. For some free designs, check out Icons 8 who offer a variety of icons for use in personal and commercial projects. Through Canva, you can either upload your own graphics, or select one from their free library.
Colour – while it shouldn’t necessarily be your main focus – can also help to enhance your logo design and boost your brand message. Just one or two solid colours is ideal, for maximum versatility. It’s particularly useful to also create additional variations for different media and background colours, e.g. black, white and greyscale options. With Canva you can duplicate your designs in one view using their ‘Copy’ feature. Create an exact replica underneath your original, then get editing. If you already have an account with them you can apply your brand colours to the logo in a couple of clicks.
Saving your logo
It’s best if possible to save your images in a vector based format, such as EPS. This file type allows you to reproduce your logo at any size without a loss of quality. You unfortunately can’t download in this format through Canva – however you can access PNG, and print-quality PDF versions. PNG has high colour accuracy and supports transparency, making it perfect for website and digital use . When downloading as a PNG, make sure to check the ‘transparent background’ option so your graphics are ready-prepared for use in any of your design projects.
Your company logo is crucial for creating positive first impressions. Keeping your brand message and potential customers in mind during the design process is key to taking your branding to the next level.
Got some top notch logo design tips? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @Moonfruit.