Logo 101 (Part 2 of 2)

Communicate a Clear Message: Speaking Through Color & Design

I can’t cram 4 years of fine arts classes into a simple article, however I will try to give some basic tips on the hows and whys of logo design.  By now you’ve made up a mission statement and tagline (your ‘superpower’).

If that is all you do, then give it to a designer, that designer will be in good shape for really conveying your message in art.  If you want to press on with a ‘do-it-yourself’ logo making software, then read on.


Color               Pure                                        Darker                                    Lighter

Red:                Heat, excitement,                   Richness, wealth,       Youth, feminine
.                         passion, speed, desire           Prestige

Orange:          Zest, energy, sunset              Soothing, Fall             Excitement, youth

Yellow:            Daring, dramatic, loud          Rich (gold), soothing Relaxing, sunshine

Green:             Fresh, growth, $, refresh      $, rich, established    Playful, spring

Blue:               Soothing, stable                     Established, trust      Dreams, relaxing

Purple:           Rich, invigorating                  Royalty, riches           Calming, feminine

Brown:            Down to earth, stable           Rooted, established   Eco-friendly, neutral

Black:              Strong, dramatic                    (Can’t get darker)     Calm, neutral, sterile

White:             Sterile, pure, clean, crisp


Pick a font that is readable from a distance. I don’t care of the texture of some random free font looks cool. If no one can easily read what your company’s name or slogan is, your logo will be useless.

Clip Art
If you do end up using an image to go with your company name, be sure it matches and enhances your company’s name and slogan. Ideally this would be something custom-made so other companies couldn’t use the same image and work off your garnered reputation later. A good image in your logo can eventually become the signature of your company even without the company name next to it – see the McDonalds arches or the Nike swoosh.

Black and White
A good logo will look great even in black and white. If you use a dark red and a mid-tone blue, then in black and white it may look like one big gray blob. Make sure you design a black and white version for things like freebie imprints, t-shirts, address labels, etc.

Putting it all together
Finally, keep in mind that colors can clash and that spacing matters. Run a few design concepts by multiple people until you find one that seems to work best. Don’t be defensive during this process. You’re learning and all input will help you move closer to something that will last your company for years to come.

Don’t Get Tired
Don’t get bored with your logo. Think very carefully about remaking a logo after it’s been developed. Changing your logo later means having to not only rework all your marketing pieces but also starting from ground zero in the brand recognition game which takes dozens of exposures per person to be remembered.

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