In How to, Inspiration, Resources

Welcome to our complete practical guide guide to logos and logo design in 2020.

In this detailed guide you’ll learn about:

  1. What the word logo means

  2. Types of logos

  3. What makes a great logo

  4. Logo colors

  5. Logo fonts

  6. How to design a logo

  7. How to write a logo design brief

  8. Logo design costs

  9. Color systems

  10. File formats

If you want to get your logo design knowledge up to speed, this is the guide for you.

Let’s dive in!

 

What the word logo means

What does the word logo mean

The word ‘logo’ is actually an abbreviation of the word logotype.

Technically speaking, all logos are logotypes.

‘Logotype’ comes from combining two Greek words.

‘Logos’ meaning word, and ‘typos’ meaning imprint.

Combine them together and you get the word ‘logotype’.

So there you have it, the word logotype means ‘word imprint’ – makes sense.

 

Types of logos

Types of logos

There are a number of different logotypes.

Which logo you need depends on your business, where the logo will be used and your personal preference.

The 4 main logotypes are word mark logos, letter mark logos, pictorial logos, and combination logos.

Other types of logos include dynamic logos and responsive logos.

Check out the below for examples of all of these logo designs.

 

Word mark logos

wordmark logos

Word mark logos are logos that are made just from text.

A word mark logo uses the name of the company for the logo.

There are no additional elements used in word mark logos – that’s what makes them so awesome!

Nasa, ToysRUs, Google, Coca-Cola, Disney and Yahoo! are all great examples of famous word mark logos.

 

Letter mark logos

lettermark logos

Letter mark logos are made up of the initials of the brand name or business.

They are text-only but they are shorter because they are just initials.

Popular examples of letter mark logos include CNN, BBC, H&M, IBM, UFC and P&G.

 

Pictorial logos

pictorial logos

A pictorial logo is an icon or graphic symbol some brands use to represent themselves.

It’s often used separately and on its own, as a sort shorthand way to represent the brand.

Great examples of pictorial logos include Twitter’s bird, Apple’s apple, Dominoes domino, Starbucks mermaid Nike’s swoosh and the WWF’s panda.

 

Combination logos

combination logotype

A combination is a logo that is a joining together of a word mark and a pictorial logo.

These types of logos are quite common in modern branding and are also useful if you want to use the pictorial logo separately.

Pizza Hut, Lacoste, AirBnB, Slack, Microsoft and Rolex are all great examples of combination logos.

 

Dynamic logos

Dynamic logos Dynamic logos

Dynamic logos are logos that change their appearance to suit different themes or topics.

Generally speaking, a dynamic logo keeps its main structure but changes its colors, textures or ways of being rendered.

Famous examples of dynamic logos include the MTV logo and the Google Doodles logo.

 

Responsive logos

Responsive logos

Responsive logos

A responsive logo is a logo that adapts to its environment.

For example your logo could appear on product packaging, then a stationary letterhead, then a desktop website, then a mobile app or a smart watch.

On each of these different mediums your logo will adapt and respond to look it’s best.

Above are some great examples of responsive logos in action including Kodak, Levi’s, Nike, Heinz and Guinness.

 

What makes a great logo design?

what makes a great logo design

Like art, this question can be a little subjective. But generally speaking there are a few things that make a great logo design.

1. Clarity

Clarity, as in can I read what this logo says? A great word mark logo design should be easy to read.

After-all the job of a logo design is to clearly convey the name of someone or something.

2. Memorability

The logo should be memorable. As in, will I remember this logo?

What makes a logo memorable comes down to a number of things.

It can come down to the word used in the logo. For example, Google is quite a memorable name.

Secondly, memorability can come down to the colors, fonts or shapes used in a logo design.

There are a number of factors that contribute to a memorable logo.

3. Personality

This may seem odd, but personality can be conveyed in a logo.

For example, a logo design can be serious.

A logo design can also be quirky and fun.

Depending on the nature of your business determines the personality of your logo.

 

Logo colors

Logo colors schemes combinations

When it comes to logo color combinations and the meaning of different colors, studies have revealed that people feel a certain way about colors.

 

The meaning of different colors

logo color meanings

Above is list of colors and the perceived values that come with each color.

It’s a great guide for thinking about your brand colors and how they make people feel.

 

White

White Apple logo

White represents these values:

  • Clean

  • Simplicity

  • Innocence

  • Honest

A popular brand that comes to mind for the color white is Apple.

You can see the color psychology for Apple in these colors.

It’s a very simple brand. It’s honest, clean and does have a certain innocence to it.

 

Brown

Brown UPS logo

Brown represents these values:

  • Dependable

  • Rugged

  • Trustworthy

  • Simple

UPS is an example of a great brand and logo that embraces the color brown.

UPS aims to be a dependable and trustworthy service.

I can also see they have a rugged brand in the form of their delivery trucks.

It makes sense for UPS to be brown in color.

 

Black

Black Uber logo

Black represents these values:

  • Formality

  • Dramatic

  • Sophistication

  • Security

A famous brand that comes to mind when you think black is Uber.

Uber started out as a very formal luxury car company.

They made a dramatic change to the taxi industry and I think their app does ooze sophistication and security.

You can see why Uber chose black as one of their core brand colors.

 

Purple

Purple Cadbury logo

Purple represents these values:

  • Royalty

  • Luxury

  • Spirituality

  • Ambition

Cadbury’s chocolate is a brand that comes to mind when I see the color purple.

They are a British chocolate company so there’s a royal connection there.

Cadbury are also a premium brand so you can see a luxury element there.

Lastly, they are very successful so there’s definitely ambition there.

 

Pink

Pink Barbie logo

Pink represents these values:

  • Compassion

  • Sincerity

  • Sophistication

  • Sweetness

The Barbie doll franchise is a brand that comes to mind when I think of the color pink.

They are definitely a sweet brand. They are also sophisticated given the amount of interest they have in fashion.

Lately the brand has become a lot more compassionate when it comes to the animated series on TV.

 

Blue

Blue Ford logo

Blue represents these values:

  • Trust

  • Peace

  • Loyalty

  • Competence

Blue is the most common color used in the world when it comes to branding.

It’s tough to pick one single brand.

I’m going to go with Ford as my example.

It’s definitely a brand people trust.

Ford is also a competent company as people use their cars and trucks everyday.

 

Green

Green Wholefoods logo

Green represents these values:

  • Nature

  • Healing

  • Freshness

  • Quality

Wholefoods is a great example of a brand that embraces green.

Their product and services are about nature, freshness healing and quality.

It’s little wonder they went for green.

 

Yellow

Yellow McDonalds logo

Yellow represents these values:

  • Creativity

  • Happiness

  • Warmth

  • Cheer

The brand I think of when I think of the color yellow is McDonalds.

They are certainly all about happiness with their happy meals.

McDonalds is also a brand that is quite warm.

 

Red

Red Coca Cola logo

Red represents these values:

  • Excitement

  • Strength

  • Love

  • Energy

When I think of the color red and a brand I think of Coca Cola.

The brand offers excitement in their advertising.

Also a lot of energy as they are a type of energy drink.

I would also say a lot of people love their Coca Cola.

 

Orange

Orange Mastercard logo

Orange represents these values:

  • Confidence

  • Success

  • Bravery

  • Sociability

When I think of the color orange. I think of Mastercard.

They are definitely a bold, confident brand.

People need to be confident when they spend their money.

I can see why the color orange works for Mastercard and it’s brand values.

 

Grey

Grey Swarovski logo

Grey represents these values:

  • Refined

  • Dignified

  • Understated

  • Conservative

Swarovski is a great example of a grey logo.

True to form the brand is refined and dignified so it does hit on these two color meanings.

Understated and conservative it may not be thought of as though.

 

Logo fonts

Fonts for logos

A large majority of famous companies don’t use off the shelf fonts for their logo designs.

They get a graphic designer to design a unique typeface for them.

It’s not always the case but it is quite common when it comes to high priced logo design.

When it comes to fonts for logo design, the two most common fonts types used in modern logo design are sans serif and serif.

 

Sans serif

Sans serif logo fonts

San serif means ‘missing serif’ or without serifs. Serifs are the small decorative marks that are used in serif fonts.

It’s a font that is great for use in modern, minimalist logos.

I won’t go into too much detail about fonts here, but starting with a nice clean, sans serif font is best if you want a timeless logo design.

 

Serif

Serif logo fonts

Serifs fonts are the decorative marks that are used in serif fonts.

Therefore they are called serif fonts.

Serif fonts are a great font style for more classic, older logos styles.

You can still get some amazing serif fonts, but they are not used as much as san serif when it comes to logo design.

 

How to create a logo

How to design a logo

There are a number of different ways to answer the question, how do I create a logo?

It all comes down to the amount of time, budget and software skills you have.

Here are the 4 main ways you can design a logo:

1. Design a logo yourself

You can create a logo yourself.

There are a number of really great software packages out there.

I have to warn you, some do have a steep learning curve and do cost money.

Logo design software

There are a number of graphic design software packages that you can use to create a logo.

The top software packages that designers use to create logos are the following:

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Sketch

  • Figma

2. Use online logo maker

Using an online logo maker such as Logobly is a great way to quickly and easily design a logo.

3. Hire a freelance graphic designer

Employ the services of a freelance graphic designer to create your logo for you.

4. Hire a logo design agency

If you’re a bigger, more established company or with more time and budget for your logo design you can hire the services of a design agency to create your logo.

 

How to write a logo design brief

How write a logo design brief

Before you begin the process of designing your logo, it’s a good idea write a logo design brief.

A logo design brief allows you to cover off the basics of your logo design requirements.

Your logo design brief should include the following:

  • Exact wording you want to use in your logo

  • Type of logo you want (  word mark, letter mark. pictorial logo or combination logo )

  • Nature of your product or business

  • Color combination preferences

  • Font preferences, for example San serif

  • The styles of logos you like, for example minimalist logo designs

 

Logo design cost

How much does a logo cost

Asking the question, how much does a logo design cost? is like asking how much it is to build a house.

There are many factors involved.

The two main factors are how much time you have and your budget.

That said, I can give you broad estimates on how much you would be expecting to pay for a logo design, and what you should expect to get from each service.

 

1. An online logo maker

Using an online logo maker is a fast and easy way to design your logo.

They are also convenient as you can do it yourself from the comfort of your own home.

below is breakdown of the cost, time and what you get if you use a logo maker to create your logo.

Cost

$50-100 USD.

Time

5 minutes

What you get for you money

With most good logo makers you will get the following:

  • Multiple logo designs
  • Multiple logo files for use across all mediums
  • PNG logo with transparent background
  • Multiple high-res file types
  • Multiple logo color variations
  • Text only logo variations
  • Brand guide including #hex color codes
  • A website favicon
  • Free customer support
  • Full logo ownership

 

2. A freelance graphic designer

Hiring a freelance graphic designer is another great option for logo design.

You do get the added benefit or personal one on service.

They can also ask you questions in regards to your wants and needs when it comes to logo design.

Cost of logo design

$500-1000+ USD.

Time to create logo design

3 – 5 days+

What you get for your money

Below is a typical breakdown of what you should get from a graphic designer:

  • A logo design brief
  • One on one service in person or online
  • Multiple logo designs
  • Logo edits
  • Multiple logo files for use across all mediums
  • PNG logo with transparent background
  • Multiple logo color variations
  • Text only logo variations
  • Brand guide including #hex color codes
  • A website favicon
  • Full logo ownership

 

3. A design agency $5000 – $10000+

Hiring a design agency can also be a great option when it comes to getting a logo design.

You get the added benefit of working with a full team and all the perks that come with it.

Cost of logo design

$5000-1000+ USD.

Time to create logo design

5 to 10 days+

What you get for your money

A typical breakdown of what you should get from a brand agency:

  • A logo design brief
  • A team to work with in person or online
  • Dozens of logo designs
  • Logo files for use across all mediums
  • Multiple high-res file types
  • Multiple logo color variations
  • PNG logo with transparent background
  • Text only logo variations
  • A comprehensive brand guide
  • A website favicon
  • Full logo ownership

 

File formats for logos

Logo file formats

There are a number of file formats that you can use for your logo.

It all depends on what medium you are using your logo on.

Below are the different file formats where you should be using them.

 

PNG

PNG logo files are primarily used for digital mediums including websites and apps.

A logo file that is a transparent PNG is particularly useful for website use as it allows you to place the logo on different backgrounds.

SVG

SVG logo files are primarily used for digital mediums including websites and apps.

An SVG logo file is particularly useful because website developers can change the color of the logo with code! It’s like magic.

The SVG file format is becoming more and more common in digital mediums such as websites and apps because it is a vector file format and is scalable with no loss of quality.

GIF

A GIF logo file is mostly used in digital mediums including websites and some applications.

The unique thing about a GIF logo file is that it can be used to create GIF animations.

It is not the most common file format for logos but it can be used.

JPG

A JPG logo file is mostly used when you have a large file or a logo that uses multiple colors.

Some social media sites may require you to use a JPG logo file or presentation software like PowerPoint.

But for the most part JPG logo files are not used that often.

EPS

An EPS logo file format is used for all print mediums including business cards, letterheads, brochures and any and all formats that are not digital.

AI

An AI logo file is the native file format for Adobe Illustrator.

Whilst not required for most use cases, an AI logo file is handy if your designer wants to edit your logo in Adobe Illustrator.

PDF

A PDF logo file format is another file format used for all print mediums including business cards, letterheads, brochures.

It can also be read in most applications of your PC which is really handy for viewing your logo.

 

Color systems for logo design

Logo color systems

Depending on what you’re going to use your logo for, you will need to know what your logo or brand color values are.

For example if you’re using your logo on a website or app, you will want to know what your HEX colors are so you can use these colors on your website.

If you want to create some print materials, you will need to know what your logo or brand colors are in CMYK.

Below is a full list of logo color systems and their uses.

 

HEX

The Hexadecimal logo color system is used for digital applications of your logo.

HEX color codes allow website developers to use your logo color online when they are creating websites or apps.

It’s an accurate way to represent your logo or brand color on screen.

RGB

The RGB logo color system is used for digital applications of your logo.

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue.

This system allows website designers to use your brand colors on screen when they are creating websites or apps.

It’s an accurate way to represent your logo or brand color on screen.

CMYK

The CMYK logo color system is used for print applications of your logo.

This color system allows print designers to use your logo color in all and any print mediums.

It’s an accurate way to represent your logo or brand color in print.

 

Over to you

That’s if for my complete guide to logos and logo design.

Now you’re armed with the knowledge of all things logos and logo design, what type of logo are you going to create?

Don’t forget you can design a professional logo in minutes with Logobly, my quick and easy logo maker for startups.

Click here to get started.

 

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