5 Elements of Logo Design to Build a Powerful Brand Icon

pantone-logo-designCreating a logo to represent your business and brand image can be an important aspect of your overall business plan, and as such, a great deal of consideration should go into selecting the best graphical interpretation of your brand’s value and promise.  Following are five of the most important factors to consider when choosing your brand’s logo.

1. Image

If you develop your brand effectively, over time, your logo will become the most recognizable icon of your business and product.  It’s important to choose a graphic that appropriately demonstrates your brand’s image and values.  Make sure no part of your logo could be considered offensive, and if your company is global or could become global in the future, make sure it’s not offensive in other countries.  Try not to be too trendy.  Select a design that can be timeless.  Creating a new logo in a few years can be expensive and requires a rebranding investment that you may not be able to take on in the near future. 

2. Color

The colors used in your logo are important not only in terms of production (see “Printability” below), but also in terms of how logos are perceived psychologically.  Do some research about the meanings behind colors, and take a close look at your competitors’ logos.  You want your logo to be appealing aesthetically, and you want it to help differentiate you from the competition.

3. Printability

So many companies choose logos on aesthetics alone without taking production issues into consideration.  For example, printing halftones on promotional items like coffee mugs and t-shirts can often be a problem.  What if your budget doesn’t allow you to print all of your marketing materials like brochures, advertisements, direct mail, etc. in full color?  You may have to print in 1-color or 2-colors to meet your budget restrictions.  Make sure your logo will translate well to black and white and 2-colors.  Additionally, stick with colors from the most common print production color palette, Pantone, rather than custom colors.  The size of your logo can also affect it’s production quality, so make sure your logo works in small and large formats (e.g., business cards and banners or billboards).

4. Consistency

Once you’ve chosen your logo design, make sure you use it everywhere to represent your brand, and make sure it is always used consistently.  That means it should always look the same.  Everyone in your company, your business partners, and anyone else who may print or use your logo, needs to understand how the logo is to be used, which brings us to #5 – “Guidelines.”

5. Guidelines

To ensure your logo is used correctly and consistently at all times, it’s important to develop some basic guidelines for logo usage.  For example, you need to define the colors used in the logo for consistent printing.  If you selected any, you need to define preferred secondary and tertiary colors that can be used in printed materials.  You need to define the background colors that the logo may or may not be printed on.  You need to define the amount of required white space surrounding the logo.  I could go on and on about different guidelines you may want to consider, but these are some of the most important. 

Bottomline, your logo is another extension of your brand’s message, image and promise.  You need to communicate your message and promise in every aspect of your business to fully develop your brand, and your logo is no exception to that rule.  If that consistency in your brand message doesn’t carry over to your logo, then your logo is just a useless piece of clipart. 

Do you have any important “Do’s” to add to this list?

Image: Flickr


  1. says

    1. Try designing your Logo in black and white, if it doesn’t look good in black and white, it won’t look good it any color.
    2. What makes you look? What makes you look again? What makes you tell someone about what you looked at?
    3. People won’t look, unless it’s Remarkable, unusual, or Beautiful, maybe you’re the logo.
    4. hmmm, why do we pay so much attention to the people and things that constantly break the rules. Jusst a thought.
    5. Did I misspell the word (just) in the last sentence? Did you not notice that I misspelled the word ? Did it make you look? Did you think I was Dumb? Or worst of all, did you not think of me at all? Hmmm, to be or not to be, seen, remembered, or talked about!
    6. Just a thought, can you remember the name of the most popular website in the world to buy a book? That was easy. Aren’t they dumb, they used their name and some funny letters.They need a marketing lesson, they broke the rules dammit. hmmm, I wonder why it wasn’t a book?
    7. What do Marketers know anyway?

  2. says

    I’m new in the internet business field. I’m skilled in the graphics side, but I need info to learn about this business. I was going through your post and got a few pointers.

  3. Susan Gunelius says

    I’m happy to hear that my blog is helpful to you! Thank you for joining the conversation!

  4. says

    Item 3 is what most people don’t realize. Clients want logos with lots of different colors and intricate details. We tell them that problems with some of their ideas but they don’t really listen until they start printing advertisements within their budget. I generally consult my clients on this the most.

    Thanks for the info.

  5. Susan Gunelius says

    Great Logo Design,
    You’re absolutely right. That’s one of the hardest things to explain to people who don’t have a production background!

  6. Tobias says

    Ask a complete stranger about your logo ideas and by all means give them permission to speak the truth. Your friends will say what they think you want to hear.

    Being at the end – design a logo with a detailed understanding of the Ideal Client Profile, the Buyer/Decision Maker(s) and if this applies, Influencer(s).

    Remember it is not about you, your business or the award your creative house wants to win from their peers for a cool design, it is about creating an illustration/design that grabs the ICP’s attention and reinforcing it with a statement that establishes a call to action. Anything else is just a pretty little object.

  7. Bushi says

    Logo designers want to know what colours I want in my logo. I’m confused. But as a media and events business targetting corporates and government institutions, I want a combination of colours that will say “we are classy yet outgoing”. Could you assist? Thanks. Bushi

  8. Susan Gunelius says

    Bushi, Below is a link to an article I wrote for Kudzu Business Success Center that talks about color meanings. Talk to your logo designer about your customers and the image/message/promise you want your logo to convey. Also, be sure to discuss any concerns you might have about costs related to producing the logo in different formats in the future (multi-colored logos are more expensive to reproduce that single or 2-color logos). A good designer should ask you questions about your brand, customers, business, competitors, etc. in order to be able to make educated color suggestions to you. If a designer doesn’t take time to learn about your business, don’t work with him or her.

    The link I mentioned: http://bizsuccess.kudzu.com/?p=2520

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