12 Tips and Tricks for Legendary Logos
Creating legendary logos isn’t impossible- knowing the right tips and tricks is half the battle.
“Logos are a graphic extension of the internal realities of a company.” – Saul Bass
Your products and services may be nothing short of legendary, but the real question is: is your logo legendary? Consumers are barraged with hundreds of advertisements, marketing materials, and messages every day. Designing a logo of practically mythical proportions is incredibly doable- both regarding time and money.
As the phrase goes, the devil is in the details. Following small tips and tricks can help you lock down a gorgeous logo concept that people are practically begging to see on promotional products*. Why is this important? Promo products have excellent ROI and provide ‘free’ advertising when they are worn out in public or used by customers!
A legendary looking logo can lead to either a potential new customer or a bored, unimpressed onlooker. Since you’re after the ‘former,’ this guide is for you! We’ve included some of the best tips and tricks around on our list below, 12 Tips and Tricks for Legendary Logos.
12 Tips and Tricks for Legendary Logos
1. Use mind maps and mood boards.
While mind maps are great tools for keyword generation, but the concept is still quite practical for logo design. A mind map is a graphic representation of brainstormed ideas and related connections/associations. Mind maps help give both a macro and a micro view of all the ideas on the table. A mind map helps to clarify the ‘feel’ you ideally want your logo to have. Take this a step further by including examples of logos that you like and don’t like as inspiration for your concept.
Similar to mind maps, mood boards are tangible or digital collections of visuals, color palettes, font choices, and textures that help to bring your ideas to reality.
2. Sketch it out! (Even if you aren’t Rembrandt)
Even if you are not a bonafide artist, sketching out a general draft of the logo you have floating in your head can be advantageous. Sketching works exceptionally well when you can’t find any examples of existing logos that represent your intended ‘look’.
3. Utilize exclusion zones.
An exclusion zone refers to the area of designed clear space around a logo. Any elements that enter into or cross over the exclusion zone are potentially violating brand guidelines (and, probably make the logo look lower-quality).
Instead of opting for immense detail or a wide variety of elements, make sure that your logo doesn’t exude “busy-ness” by jumping all over the exclusion zone.
4. Don’t use too many fonts (1-2)
It is widely discouraged to use 2+ fonts in one design. We aren’t talking here about using an alternate version of the main font. (That’s a best practice, actually, and helps create hierarchy in your design!)
However, using completely different styles of fonts in one design is a surefire way to wreck a logo. Indecisiveness and disorder are never good things for your brand to exude.
5. Decide whether or not to implement movement/action into your logo.
If you’re having a difficult time adding a “Wow!” factor to your logo, consider adding motion.
If your logo depicts a bird, for instance, merely adding action marks to mimic flying would add another level of appeal to an otherwise commonplace design.
6. Make sure your logo is eye-catching in both black and white as well as color.
To be versatile and memorable, it is vital that your logo looks equally as appealing in both black/white and full color.
For example, think of your logo as a face. Generally, adding makeup (in this case, color) to a face helps illuminate existing features, thereby making the entire face more noticeable. However, makeup (and, color) are not always available. Does your logo look equally as attractive “in the nude” as it does in full color?
7. Use templates as starting points if you’re lost.
There’s no shame at all in building off of an online template. While your finished logo should be original, templates are excellent starting points for “designer’s block” to get the wheels a turnin’.
8. Include elements of visual ambiguity.
Visual ambiguity is an object, design, or figure that has more than one interpretation.
For instance, the FedEx logo includes an element that a viewer may not notice upon first inspection: the arrow between the E and X. By doing so, FedEx opted to add a “Whoa, cool!” factor to an otherwise simple text-only design. How cool! How easy!
9. To stay organized and focused, decide on the logomark (the type of design) early on.
Monogram (lettermarks)- logos comprised of letters, typically initials or short words. Great for initials-only versions of lengthier business names.
Logotypes (wordmarks)- logos that are font-based that focus on the business’ name. Great for new businesses or companies with distinct names.
Logo symbols (pictorial marks)- logos that are icon/graphic-based. Typically used with companies that already have strong brand recognition.
Abstract marks- specific types of pictorial logos that utilize an abstract graphic as the center point (as opposed to recognizable animals, items
Mascots- logos that depict an illustrated human, animal, or humanoid character.
Combination marks- logos comprised of multiple types of marks.
Emblem logos- detailed, often intricate logos comprised of a symbol or badge.
10. Focus on the audience’s taste, not your’s.
When designing your logo, put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer.
If you were the customer, what would likely be general assumptions you would make about the logo and company? What are companies in your industry (and associated industries) popular and well-liked by customers?
What do the logos look like for those respective companies? Make sure that your logo looks eye-catching from the customer’s point of view- not yours’s! (They’re buying your stuff!)
11. Make sure your logo looks equally excellent minimized, magnified, and on promotional products.
Your logo may look great in the corner of your website, but how does it look enlarged on a t-shirt? Can you still distinguish your logo in its minimized version? Be sure to at the very least view your logo in small and large sizes and on various backgrounds and materials.
12. Visual salience can resurrect a boring logo.
Visual salience is the distinct perceptual quality that makes some elements stand out from others. If your logo doesn’t immediately grab attention, the level of visual saliency in your design is likely deficient.
While a splash of color is an excellent tool for increasing visual saliency, it isn’t 100% dependable: when your logo is in black and white, color is irrelevant.
Look at your logo: what stands out? If nothing catches your attention, consider depicting one of the elements in mid-action. Are you using a familiar item in your logo, like a barrel? Add a unique aspect- leaves, an unusual-looking spout etc.
Fusion Group USA
A great logo should communicate your values, feature a unique design, and stand the test of time. However, the journey from conceptualization to the final proof takes a combination of technical graphic design skills, marketing know-how, and branding experience.
At Fusion Group USA, our teams of graphic designers, marketers, and branding experts work together to create a truly outstanding logo for YOUR business (no generic, cookie-cutter work!). Ready to get started on growing your brand?