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How to Create Company Logos for Promotions

One of the most important graphic elements you will ever create is the logo. They're often simple in design, but seldom simple in execution. We'll help you make great logos by going over why logos are made, how to form your creative idea, and how to design each so that they are informational and memorable.

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Video Transcript

One of the most important graphic elements you will ever create is the logo. They're often simple in design, but seldom simple in execution. To help you make great logos we'll go over why logos are made, how to form your creative idea, and how to design each so that they are informational and memorable.

A well crafted logo can greatly enhance your company, product, organization or cause because its primary purpose is recognition. The logo should be instantly recognizable and immediately associated at a glance with the company represented. Who isn’t familiar with the Nike Swoosh or McDonald’s Golden Arches? A logo should also visually capture a company’s essence..., to appeal to the greatest number of people within a target audience. For instance..., a shoe company with a focus on hiking might use a trail and footsteps to help people instantly know the type of shoes they sell.

When forming the idea for a logo, there is some important information you need prior to beginning the design process. Obviously, you will need to know the name of the company, service, or product you're designing for. Meeting with the owner of the business is a great way to aquire the necessary details. During the meeting, ask whether the company’s slogan - or tagline - will be used... Even if you don't use it in the design, it may give you insight into how to portray the company. You'll also want to know the company’s chosen color scheme. Find out what colors they use on brochures, flyers, web-sites and other advertising materials. Also, it's helpful to know how will the logo will be used. Is it destined for web use, print media or both? This affects design elements like color and detail and both might work well on a website or billboard but may become lost when scaled down for a business card. Next, you may find it useful to reference graphic websites and galleries to see how others have designed logos for similar companies. A word of caution here. It's okay to find inspiration in, and gain ideas from someone else’s work, but nothing screams unprofessionalism like plagiarizing someone's work, so don't do it. Research images that are likely to cause people to think of your client. If the client's company is called Sun West Bank, an image of the sun will make it easier for customers to recall the name. Finally, it's good to think about how you might animate the logo for a promotional video. Some logos can be difficult to animate... but a logo with a theme or simple design can give the logo a memorable way to appear onscreen.

The first and possibly most important step in the design process is to make preliminary sketches lots of them. This is much like creating storyboards from a script prior to switching on a camera. These rough sketches help you (or your client) discover what does and does not work and narrow down the possibilities before committing untold hours to the computer. Also important is to remember that simple is usually better. You want the logo to be instantly recognizable and easily read at any size. Consider National Geographic; their logo is just a simple yellow rectangle but it's recognized around the world. For scalability..., build your design using vector, rather than bitmap, graphics. Bitmap graphics are pixel based and will look blurry and choppy when blown up to larger sizes. Vector graphics can be reduced or enlarged without losing sharpness. Keep the number of colors to a minimum - no more than three. Too many will lose their distinction when viewed at smaller sizes. Also, one font is best - but try not to use more than two in order to avoid confusion. Be careful of fonts or designs with intricate details. Fine details do not come across well in video and will be lost when reduced in size for use on business cards or letterheads. It's also never a bad idea to test your logo for readability by printing it out at various sizes and in black and white. In the same manner, try and view your logo from different angles including upside down and mirrored. You never know how it will appear to your audience. Finally, run your design past others to get their reactions. If most of the people who see the logo can immediately recognize what the company does, it's probably ready for primetime.

With so much video production going on today it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. That's why logos are so important. They make companies recognizable and if done right, unforgettable as well.


simplyg123's picture

Famous last words..... If you design your own logo and you don't know what you are doing, you will run into many many problems. Most logos are designed with software such as adobe illustrator which produces vector graphics. This software is very complex and would be very hard for the average person to just pick up and start designing. Now, do you have to use vector? If you care about the future of your business I would say absolutely. Some people use Photoshop to design logos, this is a big mistake, though Photoshop has vector capabilities that may suit a businesses needs, it is not ideal, and is still very hard to master. Suppose you design a logo in Photoshop, you are happy with the design, and you are ready to send it to your sign maker to have it turned into a sign or a decal for your vehicle. Well you sign maker is going to ask you for an eps or vector format...Now you run into another problem, as the logo you designed is too small, and not a vector, so it cannot be scaled. Vector issues aside, if you do not know what you are doing, the logo you design could be the key factor in your companies downfall. I have seen people attempt to design their own logo, and usually what they end up with is a design that is too busy to be memorable and amateurish with the over use of shadows or strokes or gradients and so on. Never under estimate the amount of thought, research and experience that goes into the design of a logo. If you care about the future of your business, have it done professionally.
DanYHKim's picture

If the first thing your clients will see was made with only 'half a brain', your clients may decide that you will devote only half a brain to their work as well. First impressions . . .
DanYHKim's picture

Alternate viewing is a good point that I had never thought of. If you're looking at the company logo through the back of a window, such as from a position within a store and looking out into the street, the mirror image of the logo will be seen. You may suddenly realize that the cute cartoon animal image looks like an obscene sex toy when seen from the other side. Use of vector graphics is also a great point. I've had to re-master other people's art in vector in order to make scalable images.
Jimking's picture

Good information in here; very similar to what we consider when we do print ads. I especially like the advice to look at your logo in B & W and upside down. Mirrored might save you from an embarassing situation one day (Don't ask!) I would add that the 'personality' of the company should show, too. Conservative or frivolous? Businesslike or fun? Using the right colors can make a huge difference. So can choosing geometric design over free-style. What does your logo say about you?