Making a logo? Follow these 8 logo design principles

In many ways, your logo is the face of your brand. It’s the symbol your current and potential customers will use to recognize you and distinguish you from the competition. So when it comes time to create a memorable logo, it needs to be done with careful consideration — you can’t just type your name into a circle. 

Ideally, each element of your logo should be shaped by a logo design principle that helps communicate your brand’s purpose and meaning to the world. Before you get started creating your logo with Namecheap’s Free Logo Maker, get to know eight design principles that can help shape your choices.

What is logo design?

Logo design refers to the processes and procedures used to develop a symbol that serves as a visual representation of your business. Logo design may involve choosing colors, selecting a typeface, and utilizing geometric shapes.

What are logo design elements you should know?

A logo is made up of several parts that come together to form a memorable image that represents your brand. The components may include some or all of these elements:

  • Shapes. An all-encompassing and inviting circle, the stability of a square’s sharp lines, the positivity of curves: Shapes communicate your brand’s core values without saying a word. Working from your brand messaging, explore shapes that represent your core values and think about ways to incorporate them into your logo. For example, if you’re designing a logo for your telecommunications company, you may want to consider using horizontal lines, which indicate speed.
  • Brand mark. A brand mark is a visual depiction associated with a business. The red target used by Target across its advertising is a great example of a brand mark. A logo may opt to use a brand mark in place of shapes, or alongside a shape, in its logo. (In fact, your brand mark can include elements of shapes that speak to your brand’s values.)
  • Typeface. The family of related fonts used to spell out words in your logo, including your brand name and tagline, is called a typeface. There are thousands of typefaces to choose from that encompass all sorts of tastes and designs, from the elegance of script to the boldness of sans serif. Your typeface choice also reflects your brand values: For example, script speaks to elegance, while a sans serif says your brand is modern.
  • Colors. The color that you choose for your logo is a guiding light for your brand identity. By adding your selected color palette to your logo, you create a strong visual identity that hearkens back to your brand whenever and wherever it’s seen. A powerful example of this is the bright magenta used by T-Mobile: It’s so iconic, in fact, that the brand has patented the shade they use in their logo and across their marketing.

    Colors are also a powerful representation of your brand values. Consider tapping into the power of color psychology to guide your options: For example, a green logo can invoke nature, while purple can invoke luxury.

The first step is having an idea for your logo. Once you have a general idea of what you want, you can proceed to the actual logo making process along one of these three avenues:

  • Use a free logo maker. Tools like Namecheap’s Free Logo Maker are the fastest way to get started on your logo project now. This intuitive and easy-to-use program lets you experiment with a massive library of fonts, shapes, and colors that you can use to assemble your vision, try out different looks, and even experiment with something new. You have unlimited revisions with this free program, so don’t hesitate to get feedback on your logo and make some tweaks. 
  • Hire a graphic designer. Some entrepreneurs may opt to work with a graphic designer to help them with the logo creation process. A graphic designer knows how to use the specialized software that’s often needed to create a logo (before Namecheap’s free logo maker came along, of course). These pros either have experience in graphic design or attended school for graphic design. However, every dollar counts when you’re first launching a new venture, and a good graphic designer may cost a few thousand dollars that’s not in your budget.
  • Work with a creative agency. The resources of a creative agency can inform your entire brand building process, including your brand’s mission and vision, social media assets, and print collateral like business cards. However, creative agency pricing is out of reach for many entrepreneurs who simply can’t cover the costs when first starting out.

8 logo design principles to follow

Once you’re ready to start creating your logo with the Namecheap Free Logo Maker, it’s good to keep a few grounding principles in mind to help guide your logo design process. These eight principles will give you some excellent guidance as you begin:

1. Keep it simple

The most memorable logos that stand the test of time ditch elaborate and intricate graphics for clean and clear designs. While simplicity is certainly trending, embracing a straightforward design is more likely to last the test of time than something more ornate. A simple logo design also lends itself to more uses: It can be better replicated across social media and printed onto company swag without losing any of the design’s integrity.

2. Create an original design

Your business is unique, and its singularity should be reflected in your logo design. Riffing off of well-known brands may just mean that your customer will think of that brand instead. Your products, services, and brand values are unique — lean into that with an original design.

The issue is a legal one as well. Obvious rip-offs of famous trademarks, color schemes, and fonts can be considered intellectual property infringement. If you’re a children’s brand using the famous Disney font or a furniture store using the same blue oval and block yellow letters as IKEA, you may want to reconsider your options.

Want some inspiration? Check out Namecheap’s suggestions for logo ideas by industry to jumpstart your creative process.

3. Prioritize readability 

Being able to decipher what your logo says is perhaps just as important as creating memorable imagery. After all, if someone can’t read what it says, how will they know who you are? Skip several words in tiny type and an unreadable script font and go for a typeface that leaves no ambiguity. Keep it simple with your brand name and perhaps a short tagline. Go for clean and readable over loopy letters.

4. Aim for timeless, not trendy

While it’s inevitable that some elements of current logo design trends will make their way into your logo, you should pick and choose what makes its way into your design. You don’t want to undergo a rebrand for at least a few years, so make sure that the elements you select aren’t too trendy. For example, gradient colors, bold hues, and nostalgia are all trending in 2021. Stick to one of those trends when you design your logo — don’t go for all three.

5. Design for versatility

Your logo will be used in so many ways: on your website, on Twitter, on business cards, and even on a billboard if you’re so inclined. That’s a lot of different sizes and applications, and your logo needs to look good in all those places. If you’re wondering if a certain element of your logo will look right, ask yourself if this will be easy to see when the logo is printed small on a trade show giveaway like a pen. If you’re struggling to see it, you may want to opt for a simpler shape. 

6. Choose colors wisely

Colors are powerful. They evoke strong emotions and spur people to action. What actions do you want your customers to take? How do you want them to feel when they see your logo? Answer those questions to help you decide which color or colors are best for your logo.

Pro tip: Select a primary color and a supporting secondary color to start. Clearly, this is not a hard-and-fast rule: There are plenty of brands out there that have more than two colors in their logo. However, too many colors can quickly get unwieldy, especially if this is your first time designing a logo. Start with a simple, complementary color combination, and then add others as you see fit.

7. Consider how your logo looks in black and white

While you’ll most likely use the color version of your logo in most instances, there may be times where you need to use a black and white version, such as for printing your logo on company swag. Test your logo to see how it looks in all-black and all-white. If something looks off, you may want to tweak your original, full-color design.

8. Check to see if it looks balanced

Symmetry is an important sign of good design. Symmetry implies order, balance, and stability — all principles of a good business. To see if your logo is balanced and symmetrical, pretend there’s a line down the center of your design. Do the elements on either side of that line appear equal? If they do, then you’re well on your way to a balanced logo design.

Photo by Joshua Naidoo on Unsplash

Applying these logo design principles for stellar results

It’s one thing to know these logo design principles going into the logo design process. It’s a whole other matter to put them into practice! Here’s how you can check to make sure you’re on track while you begin the logo design process.

  • Do some homework before designing. Before you put your mouse to the logo maker, take a look at what your top competitors are doing. Do any common themes emerge? How about colors: Which ones are predominant? Do any shapes appear time and again? You may want to take these cues as elements that you should include in your design. Be sure not to copy, though — your design still needs to be original.
  • Don’t design in a vacuum. Collaboration can bring about fantastic results. Share your thoughts with other stakeholders in your business and get their initial reactions and feedback. If you’re a solopreneur, ask friends and family for their opinions. If you see a common thread emerge from this feedback, either positive or critical, you’ll know what needs to stay or go in your design.
  • Be happy with your design. Once you put your logo out into the world, it’s not a simple process to change it, especially if you’re working hard to bring customers in the door. As your profile grows, so will recognition of your logo. While tweaks to stay fresh are always a good thing, outright rebrands take time and planning that you shouldn’t undergo for a few years. So be sure you’re fully happy with what you’ve designed before you let it out into the world.

Namecheap makes it simple for entrepreneurs to create well-balanced, timeless, and scalable logos that carry deep meaning. With Logo Maker, you choose your preferred font family, shapes, and favorite color schemes, and our generator creates multiple combinations for you to choose from. You can select the elements that communicate the core values of your business, whether that’s blue for tranquility, squares for stability, a memorably bold font, or all of the above. Once you’re happy with the results, export your logo as a .png, the file type that’s needed across websites and social media, or a .pdf that’s excellent for maintaining high-quality print. 

Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

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