Making It Know

How to Design a Logo

Designing a logo is an exciting step in building your brand or business. When it’s done right, your logo will make your work memorable, align with your brand identity, and distinguish you from competitors. Whether you plan to hire a designer or create your own logo, it’s important to think through what you want your logo to achieve, and how design elements can bring your vision to life.

We talked with Michelle Scully, the co-founder of Spark & Pony, a boutique creative marketing studio and Squarespace Circle member, to outline key steps to design a logo that works for your brand.

What is a logo?

A logo is a visually recognizable mark for your brand that can take the shape of a name, letter(s), or a symbol. Your logo is the first and often most lasting impression you’ll make, and it has the potential to visually convey your purpose. There are three core logo types:

  1. Wordmark — your brand or company name, designed to convey specific values or brand attributes.

  2. Lettermark — similar to a wordmark, a lettermark uses the initials of your brand name, making it a monogram.

  3. Logomark — also called a pictorial mark, a logomark is a symbol that is synonymous with your brand and company name.

Logos can also be combinations of the core logo types. For example, you might design a logo that incorporates a standalone symbol (logomark) into your wordmark.

What makes a good logo? 

Scully explains that, “if a logo is done well, it should communicate who you are to your audience immediately.” This includes signaling your mission, brand values, and even the industry you’re in. Whether someone finds your brand on social media, through organic search, or through your products in a brick and mortar store, a strong logo mark will build your brand identity across touchpoints.

Before you start designing

It’s tempting to dive right into designing, but a successful logo requires background research and preparation. It will all pay off when you do start the design process, because you’ll have a strong framework and perspective informing your decisions.

Personal logo or business logo

First, consider whether your logo is for a personal brand or business. Scully notes that a personal logo is “typically more representative of the individual. Their personal taste, style, favorite colors and tidbits of their personality should shine through.” If you’re building a personal brand, think of your logo as a refined reflection of who you are.

Identify your brand values

This can be as simple as brainstorming words and character traits that feel reflective of your brand. Maybe you’re a business that thrives on teamwork, or a creative who values quality and craftsmanship in your products. If you hit a roadblock, try identifying the values of other brands you love, and of competitors in your industry. Your brand values will help guide the rest of the decision-making process for your logo design.

Understand your audience and competitors 

Lastly, do market research to understand your audience and competitors. “The more you know about who your audience and customers are, the more tailored and effective your logo will be in the long term,” Scully notes. Squarespace users can leverage Profiles for a holistic view of their audience and how they engage with them, and use Squarespace Analytics to better understand their site visitors’ behavior. Understanding factors like which of your products or services your audience values most, or what other brands they gravitate towards, can all help inform the direction of your logo. 

Spend some time researching what your direct and indirect competitors are doing. Are their logos type-driven? Symbolic? Do they use multiple colors or opt for a monochromatic design? Identify what you like and dislike about your competitors’ approach to logo design, but also pay attention to trends. Aligning your design with industry standards brings your logo one step closer to helping people quickly identify the kind of brand or business you’re running.

How to design your own logo

Once you’ve completed your background research and identified your brand values, it’s time to consider the design elements of your logo. Whether you’re designing a personal logo or a business logo, Scully encourages clients to focus on five key elements:

  1. Color

Is your brand serious? Friendly? Playful? All of these attributes can inform color selection for your logo, and for your branding as a whole. Color selection can be directly informed by the brand values you’ve already identified. 

With Squarespace, you can easily create and update a color palette for your website, and test out colors to decide which combination best represents your brand.

2. Typography

Scully explains that typography is key, because “fonts can bring you to a place in time, add legibility, bring a hint of creative flair or help you stand out from the crowd.” Consider options like Serif, Sans Serif, Cursive, and Old Style. Reviewing your brand values and competitor research will help you identify a typeface that feels truly representative of your brand.

3. Simplicity

Many of the most recognized and time-tested logos share this trait. Scully notes that aiming for simplicity “doesn’t necessarily mean that your logo can’t have graphic complexity to it.” A simple logo is easy for people to understand and remember, which is why less is often more with logo design.

4. Flexibility

A simplified design will also be more readily scalable across touchpoints — whether someone views your logo on their mobile device or on a larger printed label, your mark should look recognizable and consistent.

Squarespace website templates have built-in responsive design elements, so your website and imagery are legible across devices. Learn more about uploading logo files and resizing your logo here.

5. Logomark

A logomark is a symbolic image or icon that makes up part of your overall logo. When it’s done right, a logomark can become a standalone symbol for your brand. While a logomark isn’t a requirement, Scully notes that “it can be really handy to use as a unique identifying piece that can strengthen your branding.” It’s useful to determine at the outset of your design process if you’d like a logomark to be a component of your branding.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to start designing. You can use Squarespace Logo, a free tool to explore your ideas and even generate your own logo. Just add your company name, select an icon, and customize your typeface, colors, and more.

Looking to hire a professional? Browse qualified designers through Squarespace Marketplace.

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