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6 logo design principles to make your brand stand out

Aug 24, 2022 | Branding

The perfect logo for your brand will be completely original and instantly recognizable. Think of the biggest brands in the world: Nike, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and even McDonald’s, and I am sure that you can immediately picture the imagery associated with them. From the swoosh of the Nike tick to the red of Coca-Cola and the infamous golden arches, these brands have all created something memorable. This represents the true power of a logo.

But, logos are not just for the big brands. While these companies might spend millions of dollars creating a memorable image, your small business can create a brand with an effective logo that is powerful for your business. 77% of marketers argue that building a brand is key to a company’s growth, and your logo will be at the heart of it all. 

So what are the fundamental logo design principles, and how can they be applied to your brand? In today’s online world, standing out in the market is more critical than ever. A huge 75% of brand consumers state that logos are the most identifiable brand recognition symbols. And as a brand designer, I would know how vital this is to get right. Since 2018, I’ve supported over 75 small businesses across various industries, including wellness, consulting, coaching, and e-commerce. I understand how important it is to create a logo that not only supports the business and its unique goals but also connects with its ideal client. 

6 key logo design principles

Logo design can indeed be tricky to get right, with elements like color psychology, design, versatility, and more all coming into play. It’s why many big brands hire specialized designers to create and conceptualize a logo for their business. But, small businesses need good branding and logos too. This blog will be all about the basics of logo design principles so that you know what to look out for when it comes to your own logo creation for your business. 

1. Simplicity is key in logo design

Your business does not need an overly complicated logo. In logo design, simplicity is the best method: 95% of the top 100 brands use only one or two colors in their logo. Again, let’s look at some bigger brands to enforce this point here. The two powerhouses in computing and technology – Apple and Microsoft – have two of the most recognizable logos on the planet. And they’re simple. Apple’s logo is an apple with a bite taken out of it. It’s so effective because of its simplicity and instantly recognizable with the world-famous brand behind it. 

When designing your logo, think a lot about where it will be seen, as logos are used in a variety of ways. Not only will they be featured in your advertising and marketing, but also on your website, products, social media, and more. Your logo should seamlessly transition between these platforms, meaning a simple design is best.

Custom logo design for law firm
Example of a simple yet strong logo we designed for Angelo Law Firm.

2. Make your logo memorable

A huge 75 percent of people will recognize a brand by its logo. Logos are significant for sticking in a consumer’s memory until the point that both the business and the brand are remembered simultaneously. In fact, this logo should be so memorable that it stays in a consumer’s mind after just a glance – because most websites, ads, and social media marketing efforts have just 0.05 seconds to make an all-important impression, and your brand is no different. 

This comes back to my point that simplicity is key when it comes to branding because a consumer should be able to recall a part of it from just a glance. My own brand, for example, is made memorable by my butterfly logo. But, let’s also take a quick look at two similar logos from world-famous brands. The Olympics has 5 overlapping multi-colored circles over two lines, whereas Audi has 4 overlapping circles on one line. One logo is multicolored, and the other is silver. These two logos are so similar, so simple, yet equally memorable in their own right – and easily associated with their own separate brands. 

3. Logo designs have to be timeless 

A good logo will last. While brands can go through rebrands, pivots, and updates, a strong logo will look just as strong and powerful today as it did ten years ago. I recently wrote a blog post on how to create a timeless brand where I talk in more detail about how brands can simultaneously be both on trend and timeless. But, I’ll briefly go over some of the points on how to create a timeless brand here as well:

  • You’ll need to start with your why
  • You must develop your brand story
  • You should keep it simple
  • You can play with trends over time
  • In time, you’ll build trust and loyalty with your audience. 

Both brands and logos will change over time. But, it’s about creating something that is timeless for you and your company that’s important.

Just look to luxury brands like Chanel and Gucci for examples of timeless (and simple) logos.

4. Logos need to be both versatile and scalable

Did you know that most businesses have between 3 and 4 logo variations? That’s why I say that logos should be as simple as possible so that these variations can all be associated with your brand. I often design my clients’ different logo variations for them to be able to use as they choose, which I write more about here. The four different types of logos are: 

  • Your primary logo
  • Your wide or horizontal logo
  • Your submark
  • Your favicon. 

Having an overly complicated or fussy logo can hurt the versatility and scalability of your logo, so my advice will always be to have a logo that can not only represent your brand but can also adapt to the different variations and sizes you need. 

5. Your logo design should be original

Before I start this section, I want to say that I love Canva and all it does for small business owners. But, their free logos are not original and shouldn’t be used for your business. It’s so important that your logo is unique to you, which is why business owners hire graphic designers like myself to work on their logo and branding projects. This is the same for all online logo generators – to be safe, avoid using any templates, generators, or free design websites. If your logo isn’t original, you won’t be able to trademark it. If budget is a concern, plenty of graphic designers have a range of prices to suit every type of budget. 

6. Your logo should be relevant to your brand

Small businesses across the United States and beyond face huge competition – so it’s never been more important to have a recognizable brand that is relevant to your business. Branding is more than your logo; it’s your personality, your ethos, and what you represent, too. But, it is so essential that your logo represents all that you are and is relevant to what you sell, who you sell to, and what you want to be. 

Your brand is what your customers will recognize, resonate with, and connect with. Therefore, your logo needs to be relevant to it. Eighty-six percent of consumers appreciate honesty and authenticity when it comes to branding, and this will be true through every aspect of your brand – including your logo. 

The logos we designed for Buoyant Bloomer are symbolic of the brand’s values.

Summary

Branding can be tricky to get right. Too complicated, and it might not sit right on certain platforms. Too trendy, and it can lose itself over time and not stick in people’s minds like you would have hoped. You need to ensure that your logo represents your brand in every sense and is memorable, timeless, and versatile all at the same time. With the number of online businesses continually increasing in the United States, there’s never been a better time to get your logo right. 

If you’re ready to invest in building an original, intentional, and magnetic brand, you’re in the right place. Click here to learn more about my branding services for small businesses. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to scale to six figures and beyond, I’d love to support you in your journey.

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Steph Corrigan Design Blogger

Meet Steph

BRAND AND WEB DESIGNER + FOUNDER

I’m here to break down everything you’ve been wondering about when it comes to starting and scaling a small business in the most aligned way possible. From branding basics to tried-and-true marketing strategies, you’ll get my unfiltered thoughts and advice on how to make your brand stand out.

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