With the help of do-it-yourself logo design tools and affordable graphic design programs, businesses don’t necessarily have to hire expensive ad agencies to create their brand identities. However, there are some rules and tricks of logo design that trained graphic artists learn through education and experience. At the very least, you should know some basics about brand identity theory before you create your new brand icon.
1. Stick to one or two colors and never use more than three colors.
A logo that uses a variety of colors can get cluttered and overwhelming. Also, it’s more expensive to produce multi-color logos in print.
2. Use only one or two fonts.
Too many fonts leads to a logo that looks like a bunch of unrelated pieces put together rather than a cohesive unit.
3. Make sure it works in black and white.
If your logo works in black and white, you can be confident that it’s a good design.
4. Make sure it works on both light and dark backgrounds.
Don’t forget the backgrounds that your logo will appear on. Test it on both light and dark backgrounds to make sure it’s legible.
5. Make sure it looks good at all sizes.
Your logo will appear in many sizes throughout your brand’s lifecycle. Test it at business card size and billboard size to make sure it’s scalable.
6. Stick to a two-dimensional design.
Three-dimensional logo design is very popular, but for beginners, two-dimensional icons are a safer choice.
7. Create a vector logo.
Make sure the logo you create is in vector format so it can be resized and used in a variety of media without losing any quality.
8. Don’t use gradient, shadow, bevel, or emboss techniques.
Many creative techniques look pretty but they’re challenging to reproduce in varied media. For example, a gradient design cannot be reproduced effectively in the hot stamp printing process used to produce many premium items like mugs and pens. Similarly, it’s nearly impossible to embroider a gradient on a shirt or hat.
9. Don’t use photos.
Photos don’t reproduce well in many media and they can make a logo seem outdated too soon. It’s never a good idea to use a photo in a logo design.
10. Analyze the negative space in your design.
Don’t forget to look at the negative space in your design, too. That’s the empty space in and around the elements of your logo. For example, the FedEx logo includes a right-pointing arrow in the white space between the “E” and “x” in its logo. You don’t want anything undesirable to appear in the negative space of your design that doesn’t match your brand promise, so be sure to check it.