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Full Blown Logo Design & Branding

The 10 Rules of Logo Design

The logo is the face of any brand — the very first impression — so its design is extremely important. When executed correctly, a logo is a powerful asset to your brand. However, creating an effective visual representation of a brand requires much more than just graphic design. Like any line of work that involves a set of specific skills, logo design requires plenty of practice and experience for it to be successful; knowledge is definitely power for any graphic design company. For this reason, we have outlined 10 essential rules that we follow to create an effective logo.

Preliminary Sketches

Preliminary sketches are an important first step in designing an effective logo. These can be as simple as paper and pen drawings or drafts made using a vector program, such as Illustrator. We will spend more time on this preliminary work than any other step in the design process.

Balance

Balance is important in logo design because our minds naturally perceive a balanced design as being pleasing and appealing. We attempt to keep your logo balanced by keeping the "weight" of the graphics, colors, and size equal on each side. All though the rule of balance can occasionally be broken, remember that your logo will be viewed by the masses, not just those with an eye for great art, but a balanced design is the safest approach.

Size Matters

When it comes to logo design, size does matter. A logo has to look good and be legible at all sizes. A logo is not effective if it loses too much definition when scaled down for letterheads, envelopes, and small promotional items. The logo also has to look good when used for larger formats, such as posters, billboards, and electronic formats such as TV and the Web. We test our logos to ensure they work at all sizes.

Clever Use of Color

Color theory is complex, but designers who understand the basics are able to use color to their advantage. The basic rules we follow are:
  • Use colors near to each other on the color wheel (e.g. for a "warm" palette, use red, orange, and yellow hues).
  • Don't use colors that are so bright that they are hard on the eyes.
  • The logo must also look good in black and white, grayscale, and two colors.
  • Breaking the rules sometimes is okay; just make sure you have a good reason to!
Knowing how colors evoke feelings and moods is also important. For example, red can evoke feelings of aggression, love, passion, and strength. Keep this in mind as we show you different color combinations, and try to match the color to the overall tone and feel of the brand. Some brands are recognizable solely by their distinct color. For example, when you think of John Deere, you think of the "John Deere green" color, and this sets this brand apart from its competitors and, more importantly, makes the brand all the more recognizable.

Design Style

A recent trend in logo design is the Web 2.0 style of 3D-looking logos, with "bubbly" graphics, gradients, and drop shadows. This style works well for a Web 2.0 website or tech company, but may not be effective for other brands.

Typography Matters

Choosing the right font type and size is much more difficult than that it looks. If your logo includes text, either as part of the logo or in the tagline, we will spend hours sorting through various font types and testing them in your design before making a final decision.

We take the following three points into consideration when choosing a font to accompany your logo design:
  • We avoid the most commonly used fonts, such as Arial, Helvetica, Comic Sans.
  • We make sure the font is legible when scaled down, especially with script fonts.
  • More often than not, one font is ideal, and avoid using more than two.
The more original the font, the more it will distinguish the brand. Examples of successful logos that have a custom font are Yahoo!, Twitter, and Coca Cola.

Recognition

The whole point of creating a logo is to build brand recognition. So, how do we go about doing this? Well, it varies from case to case, but the goal with the logo is for the average person to instantly call the brand to mind. A few examples of this are the logos for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Nike, UPS, Ebay, Starbucks, Google and Apple (pictured to the right). Just a glimpse of any of these logos is all you need to recognize the brands. We feel that the key to making a popular and recognizable logo is to combine all of the elements discussed on this page: size, style, color, typography, and originality. Failing to utilize any of these elements during the design process will impair the quality of the final design. Keep in mind that logos aren't always seen head-on in real world situations, for example, on the side of a bus or a billboard that you drive by.

Be Unique

To stand out from the competition, we often distinguish our designs by stepping out of the box with a unique style. We often break the rules of design by taking risks.

Simple & Clean

The simpler the logo, the more recognizable it will be. For example, the Nike swoosh is an extremely simple logo and is also one of the most recognizable in the world. Often, we start with a relatively complicated design and end up with a simpler version of it in the end. We work the design down to its essentials and leave out all unnecessary elements.

Minimal Effects

There's a time and place for powerful graphic effects, but they are not necessary to design an effective logo.

Contact a Full Blown Studio representitive to learn more.

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