You don’t have to earn a degree in design to build a custom logo for your brand. Check out these easy tips any business owner can use to build effective DIY logos.
A logo is one of the most valuable components of your visual brand. While that statement may bring pressure on designing the perfect one, logo design doesn’t have to be rocket science. With enough time, research, and planning, you can create an effective logo that accurately displays the unique essence of your brand, even if you’re not a designer and have no design experience.
Although having a designer in your back pocket is useful, it’s not a necessity for a great logo or visual brand. In this day and age, we have so many useful resources at our fingertips that we don’t necessarily need a designer all the time. In this post, I am going to break down exactly how you can DIY your own logo and visual brand.
Image via Dragon Images.
Consider Your Ideal Customer
The first part of designing a logo is creating with intention. A pretty design isn’t worth much without major purpose and function behind it. A logo should be a visual reflection of your company that also attracts your ideal customers and clients.
Start by researching what your ideal customers’ visual preferences are. Stepping inside their world and seeing what they see is the best place to get started. See what brands, products, and companies your ideal customer surrounds themselves with and use them as inspiration.
Image via Rawpixel.com.
This isn’t about copying another brand, but about combining your ideal customers’ preferences to adapt to your own visual brand. With intentional research, you can design a logo that attracts your ideal customer and excites them about your brand. Visuals can have a powerful emotional impact on your audience, and consumers often make buying decisions based on emotions. So, a logo can be one of the most powerful components of your brand.
Choose Font and Color Palettes
Some of the best logos look like they were pulled together in 5 minutes. But, I can assure you that behind any amazing logo there is a great deal of planning. A logo is an extension of the 2 components of visual branding: a color and font palette.
When you first design your logo, I highly suggest starting with your entire visual brand design. This creates a plan and direction so you aren’t pulling random fonts and colors out of nowhere.
When you start creating these palettes, it’ll help all the pieces come together in your final logo. You can use them as a consistent roadmap to make sure everything stays cohesive and on brand. Consistency is not only important in your logo, but in every other marketing material that your brand puts out. Creating this brand style guide will be the perfect foundation for your brand.
I know choosing these palettes for your brand can be intimidating, so here are practical guidelines you can follow. Remember that while you can always break the rules in design, guidelines will get you started on the right foot.
A font palette can be two or three fonts. They will consist of your header, accent, and body font. Your color palette can be two to six colors. Stay practical when you choose elements for either palette. You want to make sure each font is legible, and that the colors work cohesively together to create a unique mood for your brand.
If you need some inspiration to get started, refer to the color psychology chart below. Make sure you choose colors that effectively portray what your business desires to reflect. Keep in mind that the palettes you create are not set in stone. You can always change them as you go along, so don’t feel too pressured to get it perfect right out of the gate.
Image via Jessica Safko.
Create a Mood Board
If you’re wondering exactly where to start choosing these fonts and colors, know you can find inspiration anywhere. Try pulling inspiration from online spaces, places your ideal customer loves, blogs you or your ideal customer follow, or anywhere in the world around you.
When pulling inspiration, keep in mind what stays true to your visual preferences as well as your ideal customers’. If these preferences are different, try adding the opposing elements together in a contrasting aesthetic. Sometimes the best design is created with juxtaposition.
Image via LightField Studios.
The best place to start pulling inspiration for your logo and brand design is Pinterest. It’s ideal and practical to see all of your inspiration in one place on a board. You can rearrange it, delete pins that don’t match with your aesthetic, and see common threads in what you’ve pinned along the way. From there, you can make a mood board that will guide you to create that perfect logo. Either create an actual mood board, or simply use your Pinterest boards as a mood board.
Intentional, Simple, and Clutter-Free
Good design is functional and creates a solution, all while making it look easily executed. When you first start designing your logo, it is easy to get overly excited. You might want to add every design element, color, and font that you’ve picked for your visual brand. Instead, strive to keep it simple and make sure everything has a clear purpose.
Image via createvil.
Avoid creating clutter in your logo design by adding too many elements. A good technique is to go through and make sure every single piece of your design has a clear purpose. Take out anything that creates a busy design, takes away from the legibility, or interferes with the function of your design.
Remember that your logo is one element of your brand and should work together cohesively with everything else you have on your website, marketing materials, or wherever else it is placed alongside. It should stand alone and be an accurate representation of your brand as well. Design is a constant balance between these two ideas.
Practical Design for Your Brand’s Needs
You may have a brilliant logo, but if it doesn’t serve its unique purpose in your brand it’s not doing its job. Make sure you design your logo based on your unique business’ needs.
For example, if you’re a photographer and you use your logo as a watermark, make sure you design a logo with bold fonts or an icon that stands out when you place it in your photographs. If you have an online shop with vibrantly colored products, make sure your logo and brand design don’t compete with your products. Instead, ensure they compliment your products by allowing them to stand out.
Image via nexusby.
Also, keep in mind what type of logo makes sense in your website design. If your site allows for a large banner where display your logo, then you have a bit more design freedom with shapes and design. Or, if your website allows little space for your logo, stick with a simple font combination logo. Plan ahead so you don’t end up having to change your entire website because of your new logo.
You can always create different versions of your logo for different brand needs. If you’re going to do this, make sure that each logo type is consistent and that it’s clear that they all belong together.
Creating your logo can become more fun and less stressful if you have a plan and direction in place. Nothing you design is set in stone, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Try experimenting with different logo designs through the process. Before you know it, you’ll have your brand’s most essential visual component that you created all on your own.
Top image via Rawpixel.com.
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