Logo Design
February 28, 2021
Written by Scott Lancaster
Read Time 13 Minutes

How to design an iconic logo for your brand in 4 simple steps

Branding articles, how to build a brand, building a brand, starting a brand.

How to create an iconic logo

 

What does it take to create a memorable brand logo?

Well, we're going to learn exactly that in a few simple steps.

The average person comes across between 4,000 to 10,000 logos every single day. The vast majority of these logos are completely ignored and aren't powerful enough to capture customers attention, never mind keep it.

A logo can be defined as a symbol or other small design utilised by a business or person to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, and so on.

So why are some logos successful and others just completely ignored?

Why do some logos stick in our mind and why do some just seem to feel 'a little bit off' and 'not quite make sense'.

Why do I need a logo?

A logo can be defined as a symbol or other small design utilised by a business or person to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, and so on.

Everyone wants to have a logo which is simple, memorable and iconic

It simply makes it easier for us to notice everything related to the brand, whilst also making sure we don't mistake the company or person for someone they are not.

So in essence, you need a logo because for 3 main reasons:

  1. It helps your customers recognise it's you.
  2. It reduces the risk of you being mistaken for someone else.
  3. A good logo can communicate a message connected to your brand and what you offer.

We'll come to the third point later, but for now, we just need to make sure you're fully aware of why businesses like Symantec have paid upwards of $1,000,000 for brand identity creation.

Companies pay a great deal for logo design and brand identity creation because:

  • It's important to make the right first impression.
  • They need to ensure their customers can relate their branding to what the brand can offer.
  • It is important to stand out in the market they are competing within.

The question many people wonder is what makes one logo better than another?

Everyone wants to have a logo which is simple, memorable and iconic.

But how do you do it?

What makes a logo iconic?

In order to understand what makes a logo iconic, let's dive into one of the most well-known logos on earth.

You don’t have work too hard to understand the world-renowned logo of Amazon.

The logo is simple, to the point and communicates two very clever messages as part of it's brand identity.

Firstly, the logo is designed with an arrow starting at the letter “A” and ending at the letter ”Z”. This shows that the company sells everything you could want or need, by playfully stating that they sell everything from A to Z.

Clever, huh?

Secondly, the arrow also represents a smile with a little dimple on the right side, to communicate the customer-centric nature of the company and how they invest heavily in (essentially) making the customer as happy as possible.

So what makes the Amazon logo, among many other well-known brand marks, iconic?

Well, every iconic logo has these 4 things in common:

  1. It should be distinctive and simple enough to remember.
  2. So it can be easily noticed at a glance.
  3. The logo should work in any size, big or small.
  4. And it should ideally communicate a sense of feeling or story relevant to the brand's product offering.

These common traits can be found in almost every iconic brand logo in the world today. By understanding each trait fully, it will begin to make sense why so many other logos just don't make the cut.

Make it simple and different

Iconic logos are all very refined and simple.

This means taking away all the frills and extra details which are uneccisary. The goal should be to communicate the feeling or story of exactly what the company does in the simpliest way possible.

A prime example of a brand making it's logo simpler is Starbucks. This newly designed logo from their rebrand in 2011 takes the company's brand story and showcases it in a simple and distinctive way.

The Starbucks logo is one of the most famous and well-known brand marks in the world today. It's said that an early creative manager searched through old marine documents until he found the perfect image of a siren from the 16th century for the brand's logo design.

Many coffee shops would think about using a coffee bean or something similar to the visual element of their logo, but Starbucks understood the importance of thinking differently and becoming known for an original message.

The best way to realise if your logo is simple and different enough is to collect the logos from competing companies together and place your logo in the centre.

Does it stand out? Or does it just look the same as every other logo around?

Logos must be easy to notice

If you cover the simple and distinctive step correctly, this step should take care of itself.

The logo should be simple enough to notice from a glance, making it difficult to miss if a customer is just passing and not giving you their full attention.

The more complex something is, the less likely it is we'll remember (or want to put in the effort to do so).

This is important because it helps your brand mark to be easier to remember too.

The easier something is, the less energy and resources it takes for our minds to store an image or piece of information in our longterm memory.

The more complex something is, the less likely it is we'll remember (or want to put in the effort to do so).

The iconic Adidas logo was rebranded in 1997, still going strong to this day. You can see how the brand mark has been simplified over time, likely due to the development in our understanding of how logos can be used effectively to drive business, design trends and the new ways logos needed to be applied (such as the transition from printed communication to a more digital environment).

Our brains are very intentional with what we store in our memory.

So by making our logo as simple and distinctive as possible, we can make sure we're giving ourselves the best chance of customers memorising our brand mark and perhaps using it to guide future buying decisions.

It must work, big or small

This step is the simpliest of them all.

In simple terms, your logo should be easy to recognise and relate back to your brand regardless of if it is as big a building or as small as an app icon on your phone.

The importance of scalability in logo design is essential.

Brand identity systems are used by many established brands to allow their distinctive mark to be easy to notice no matter how big the environment. Each logo is responsive and able to be used in any possible situation, whether it is on a billboard or a little bottle cap.

If your logo isn't scalable, you risk being restricted from being able to apply it in a number of useful ways in future.

So make sure you keep this in mind as you begin to have your logo developed. If it isn't as easy to put it side by side with other sizes and making it around 1 cm in height. If it is still clear and easy to notice, you should be good to move onto the last stage.

Iconic logos all communicate a feeling or story

So how does a logo communicate a feeling or tell a meaningful story?

It's actually not easy, which is why so few brand marks can pull it off well.

There are very few designers skilled and creative enough to come up with a brand mark which successfully tells a relevant yet captivating message about the company it's representing.

The FedEx logo has a little arrow hidden between the E and the X. A small detail which many miss on first glance, but once you see it, it is very hard to unsee.

This means you need to first decide what feeling your brand wants to evoke within your customer or what story you want to tell.

These can often be found within your brand's purpose, mission, vision statement or brand values.

By understanding the essence of your brand and what you stand for, you can begin to take that message and build a logo around it.

If you need some help with this tricky stage of the process, you can book a free brand discovery session here and we can help provide a solution to help you persoanlly.

Now you understand what makes a logo iconic, you'll likely want to know how to design one for yourself.

How do you design an iconic logo?

Now you know the main traits all iconic logos share, this can help you to understand and guide the development of your own logo design.

By keeping the key character traits in mind, you can manage the process of creating an impactful logo design if it begins to go off the rails.

If you're looking to create a truly great logo for your business, following these steps will give you a blueprint to follow from start to finish.

1. How to find a great logo designer

Unless you're designing the logo yourself, the first step is to find a logo designer who knows their stuff.

Finding a logo designer who understands the key fundamentals of iconic logo design can be difficult if you don't know what to look for.

But if you use this checklist whilst viewing their work, you can quickly separate the greats from the not so greats.

A trustworthy designer will always:

  • Share their process and explain clearly why their work was developed the way it was.
  • Showcase their logo designs applied in a range of different environments.
  • Have a range of different projects to share with you, to show different design challenges they have experience in.
  • Will often supply a set of brand guidelines to make sure the logo, colours and fonts are all used properly.
  • They will be able to share their design process with you in a simple and easy to digest manner.

Using this checklist should help you highlight which logo designer is going to be the best fit for you and your particular project.

I personally only work with a select number of clients every month, but if you'd like to work directly with me to help you develop your brand's logo and visual identity, you can get in touch by booking a discovery session here.

2. How to brief a logo designer

Now you've found the right logo designer, it's time to brief them properly.

This stage of the process is very important, as you need to explain exactly what you want to achieve with your logo so your designer can do what they do best.

Most quality designers will have a set process they follow for logo design. So they will likely ask all the right questions without being prompted (if you've found someone good).

Here are some key things to remember when briefing a logo designer to make sure you get the best possible results:

  • Make sure you tell them if you have any pre-set expectations about what your logo should look like.
  • Tell them everything about your business and what you are planning for your business in future.
  • Be clear about the feeling or brand story you want to communicate from the beginning of the process.
  • Don't expect them to be mind readers and then ask for a million revisions. Quality designers value their time so try and be as upfront as possible to get the best result possible.
  • Ask your designer to ask questions, if they don't ask upfront. Make sure they have all the information they need. It is in your best interest.

3. Make sure the logo design ticks all the boxes

We've already covered this step, but when reviewing the initial logo designs, make sure the designs meet the criteria we covered earlier.

In order to make sure your logo has the potential to share the same traits as other iconic logos in the world today, it is essential you even share the list above with your designer.

This way, they can understand exactly what you're expecting. Whilst also understanding that you know your stuff and won't be misled by design jargon and misdirection (just in case they try and pull the wool over your eyes).

4. Can it be made simpler?

So you've finally refined your designs and you have a logo you like and that seems to tick all the boxes.

What's next?

Well, a simple but effective question I always ask myself when designing logos for clients is "could this be any simpler?"

It's a simple question, but one which really helps you chisel away at the design until there is nothing left but the true essence of your brand. The message that truly matters.

Less is more.

But don't take away too much, or you'll be left with just another graphic with no substance.

Need additional help in developing an iconic brand identity?

I and my team at Clementine House Branding Agency socialise in working with startup and medium-sized businesses to help them grow through the power of branding. If you've like to check out our work or get in touch, feel free. You can also book a call with me here to discuss your project in depth.


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