We want tell you how many questions we get about logos, but honestly, we lost track. We’re glad agents ask, though. Logos are often hit or miss, and we want to see a grand slam! So, we compiled the most common questions we get about logo design and handed them over to our resident graphic designer, David Wilbanks. Here are his answers and suggestions.
10 Things You Need to Know to Design an Awesome Logo
1. How do I find inspiration for a logo?
“It’s okay to be inspired by other logos. There are times when a little inspiration is what you need to get over the creative block and put pen to paper… or mouse to pad.”
If you draw a blank about design ideas, start looking logos you like! You may enjoy the color palette or the font. Maybe you think the shape of the logo is appealing. What ever it is, use this as your jumping off point. But please, please make it your own. We do not endorse copyright infringement.
2. What color is going to get my message across?
“Please see attached infographic.”
As much as we love re-inventing the wheel (not), we thought Hubspot already did a great job of explaining logo colors. You can view the mentioned infographic at blog.hubspot.com. It boils down to this: Different colors evoke different emotions. If you figure out what you want people to experience when they look at your logo, consider using a color known to trigger that feeling.
3. What about Gradients? Solids? Pastels? Jewel tones?
“Gradients used to be a popular way to do colors, and yes, even today they’re used. But gradients are on their way out in the design world. At least the dramatic, one color to another gradients. A subtle gradient from a dark shade of blue or green to another can be effective, but gradients on red are often orange, pink, even yellow if you’re not careful. In my opinion, avoid gradients, drop shadows, and pastel colors like the plague. For color references, use the PANTONE color finder (seriously, it’s pretty cool) as it is the standardized color match for most printers and artists.
For color palettes, you can use coolors.co. Generate and save color palettes based on their Hex (RGB) code colors. CMYK percentages will be slightly different. These differences is another reason to avoid pastels and gradients as moving from CMYK to RGB and back will sometimes cause the colors to alter in unpleasant ways. In addition to the colors, I would recommend that businesses have a solid white and solid black version of their logo. This makes t-shirts and other silk-screened or “pay-per-color” products much cheaper to produce and also makes their logo legible on certain colors/designs.”
4. RGB? CMYK?
“Yes. These are color “modes” and they’re the only two 90% of people need to be concerned with. RGB is essentially how color is viewed on a screen. Your TV, computer monitor, and phone are all made up of clusters of red, green, and blue pixels. The device shuts off or lights up these clusters producing the myriad of colors you see on your screen. RGB is essentially a way of creating all visible colors using only the three primary colors. White is produced when all three clusters are on and black is produced when they are all off. Your logo needs formatted for RGB if it’s going on your website or another screen-only application.
CMYK is different as it’s for printing. The colors of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black make up the CMYK mode and are the colors that printers use to produce the visible color spectrum. White is not printed, black is its own color, and varying shades of cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and the color of the paper make up all the other colors. You’ve probably replaced a magenta or cyan ink cartridge in your life at some point and you may have said, “that’s a weird color for an ink cartridge…” and this is why. CMYK. If you want your logo printed at it’s best, CMYK is going to be your new best friend.”
5. Where am I going to put this logo? (How large should it be?)
“If you don’t have the ability to create a vectorized logo, then you should design the logo at the largest conceivable size and at 300ppi (pixels per inch). That way, if made smaller, the ppi will go up instead of down and stop the logo from pixelating except at extremely small sizes.”
6. Should I include words in my logo?
“Yes, probably. You’re not Apple or Mastercard. Insurance is a niche business and not everyone will recognize the shapes or monogram you use as a logo. Most logos should be made in both vertical stacked and horizontal positions. For example, vertical stacked would be the logo on our blue tag and horizontal positioning would be like the ones in our email signatures. Including words in your logo isn’t enough, however, as you’ll have to consider typeface choice and text formatting. Typefaces, or fonts, are almost more important than the image you choose for a logo. See practicaltypography.com/goofy-fonts for more information about font-choice, but to boil it down for simplicity’s sake: choose an easy to read, professional font that reflects your sensibilities.”
7. How detailed should my logo be?
“This kind of goes back to the ‘where am I going to put this’ question. If your logo is mostly going to be on billboards you can get a little fun with the detail, but the old adage definitely rings true. Keep it simple and people will appreciate it.”
8. What program should I use?
“Never, ever, ever use Microsoft Paint to make a logo. Or PowerPoint. Really, nothing Microsoft makes is sufficient for logo design. You’re going to want Adobe Illustrator, possibly Adobe Photoshop, Bohemian Coding’s Sketch, or, at the very least, GIMP (an open source, free program that is like Photoshop).”
9. What’s the bottom line here?
“The bottom line is that the production and design of a logo is one of the most important things a business can do. It’s going to set the tone for your brand identity. It’s going to be the first thing many people see when interacting with your advertising. It should not be half-baked. Making a logo can be a long, arduous process of revision and re-imagining. Research and time need spent to develop your logo into a placeholder for your name. You should feel as comfortable signing checks with your logo as you are your own name.”
10. This seems like a lot of work for a logo…
“It absolutely is. That’s why I recommend hiring a logo designer. But if you do push forward to make your own logo, and I think you should, design it, get an idea you like, and then pass it off to someone who can do the heavy lifting for you. The more you bring to the table, the easier time a designer will have finding where you want to go.”