How to choose the right logo style for your business

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Date: 13 January 2022

Small business partners mood board their company logo ideas

Are you starting a business and ready to begin branding? Creating a logo should be part of your start up process. You will want the perfect logo style to help promote your brand. Here is how you can choose the right logo for your business.

Why does my logo matter so much?

The logo is the first impression your brand makes on your audience. Many subconscious feelings occur when we see images, making logos immediately trigger certain thoughts or emotions we then connect to brands. A quick assessment of the colours, shapes and imagery used in the logo should tell us a lot about the brand.

The right logo will convey your brand characteristics and aesthetic. If your logo isn't in line with the rest of your company brand, it will become a disjointed element.

Logos are expensive, so you won't want to redo yours anytime soon. So, it's important to get your logo right the first time. Don't approve a design that isn't quite right, or you'll regret it down the line.

How to find the right logo style for your business

Before you even hit the drawing board to brainstorm ideas, you need to know what you are going for. Here are seven tips for nailing down the right logo style for your business.

Define your company culture and purpose

Before you start on design, you need to clarify the "why" behind your company. Simeon Sinek is well known for his TEDx Talk from 2014 that explored how important that "why" is in branding. Despite this, many businesses still don't go to the trouble of defining their culture or purpose as a company.

You need to ask yourself:

  • Why do we do what we do?
  • What makes us unique?
  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What characteristics are consistent with our company?
  • Why should people trust us?
  • What values do we hold at our core?

Learn about your audience

Before you burrow too far down the rabbit hole of branding, you need to make sure your company appeals to real people. Your logo should attract the audience you are aiming for.

In order to do this, you can't assume you understand your audience. Take a good, hard look at who is going to be buying from your company. Do the research so you really understand what moves and drives them. Learn about what causes them pain and what are turn-offs for them. This research should help further clarify your brand purpose and culture.

Look at what the competition is doing

You never, ever want to copy the competition. Researching your competitors helps you know where the market is already saturated. As you get to know specific competitors in your local area or industry niche, you should take note of their logos and design choices.

You will want to avoid using the same colour schemes or logo style as the brands you are competing with. While some brands do create similar looks in an obvious attempt to create similarities (think RBX becoming a lookalike to Reebok), they will always be the "knock-off" brand. You will want to come up with your own branding and logo style to create your own place in the market.

Find the gaps in the market

As you examine the competition and potential audiences, you may notice that certain audiences aren't currently targeted. If you can find a place in the market that is unique to your brand, you will have an even clearer picture of the logo style that is right for your brand. You will want to go with a look that clearly appeals to the audience you are primarily targeting.

Even if you can't find an underserved part of the audience to target, you can still determine what gaps are in the current market for options. For example, if the current brands offer speed, you might take the approach of personalized care and quality customer service. Finding a unique aspect of your company culture and purpose can help you find the right characteristic to really emphasise through your logo style.

Take time to outline your brand style

Your logo should reflect your overall brand aesthetic, so take time to define that style. This step will include choosing the feelings and emotions you want to convey.

Before you get into any colour choices, font selections or imagery, you want to choose an overall style. For example, will your brand be youthful and cool? Family friendly? Timeless and classic? Highly professional? Technical? These are examples of overall style goals you might be aiming for.

This overall style should be determined largely through the previous steps in this process. Who are you trying to serve, and what gaps do you see in the market? What sets you apart and should be emphasised through your design? The answers to these questions will drive the specifics in your final logo design and style guide.

Take logo use into consideration

How you use your logo will change the style of logo you will need. For example, while an icon is typically used for an app, a logotype might work better on a tag. You may have several ways you plan to use your logo, and you should consider what styles will work best for those uses. Examples of ways your logo may be used includes:

  • Building signage and banners
  • Website design element
  • Social media profile picture (or banner)
  • Letterhead and business cards
  • Product tags and packaging
  • Advertisements
  • Brand app

Create a mood board

Now that you have these design elements, but still no design details, it's time to start narrowing down the style. A mood board tool is a great way to pull all of your research into a visual compilation. These elements are NOT meant to end up in the final design, but the board should illustrate your overall brand aesthetic.

To create a mood board, collect visual representations of what defines your brand in imagery. This includes:

  • Words or phrases that sum up key characteristics of your brand
  • Colours or colour palettes that align with the emotions your brand conveys
  • Textures, fabrics, or patterns that align with your brand aesthetic
  • Illustrations of objects, animals, people, or places that encompass an aspect of your brand

When you get the board pulled together, you will have a launching point to help determine your logo style.

How to actually design your logo

Once you've put in the work to find the right logo style for your brand, it's time to actually design the logo. You can make a list of the elements that could help represent your brand. This list could include:

Shapes: Each shape holds meaning that will impact your design. For example, circles represent unity and clarity, while squares represent stability and order. Lines can be used to show motion or represent elements of nature.

Colours: The colour blue is calming and reassuring, while red depicts action and passion. Yellow is optimistic, and green symbolizes growth. Within each colour, the hue and vibrancy will also alter the implied meaning.

Fonts: Fonts will impact the subconscious assumptions people make about your brand when they see your logo. Handwritten fonts look crafty and artisanal. Modern fonts include San Serif and slab fonts. Serif fonts, like Times New Roman, are considered timeless classics. Decorative fonts can be eye-catching, but they can also be hard to read on a logo. Most logos should not use more than two fonts.

Imagery: Realistic, silhouette, abstract, outlined - there are many ways you can incorporate an illustrative element into your logo. Make a list of the animals, objects, scenes, or shapes that represent your brand and consider the options for how they can be incorporated.

Layouts: There are many different layouts that can be used for your logo style. Horizontal layouts might work best for letterheads, ads, and business cards. Vertically stacked logos may work better for devices screens, social media, or brochures. Emblems and icons work best for social media profile pictures, apps, and thumbnails. Many logos will have two or more variations that can be used for different things.

Patterns or textures: Consider how a simple pattern or texture can help create contrast for design hierarchy, making one element of the design a focal point.

Each of these elements will hold meaning, so list any elements that align with the characteristics and aesthetic you have established. You do not need to incorporate all elements into your design.

Another neat trick you can use at this stage is a logo design tool called a logo maker. These are AI powered logo tools. They are cool because you design a logo for free and get multiple versions, they are a great way to kick-start your inspiration.

Make your logo a reality!

You can now hire a graphic designer or start creating logo drafts yourself if you have any design experience. Brands on a budget might use a logo maker to generate logos based on their compiled design preferences to save time and money.

Your logo should be a professional graphic that appeals to your audience at any size and translates well for any use. The right logo will be quickly recognisable and memorable. Work to achieve a design that clearly represents your brand without explanation.

Copyright 2022. The article was made possible by site supporter Andrea Clausen.

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