How to Create Your Own Great Logo

by skFliehman

Logo design may be one of the most important first steps in the identity of your business, church, team, or organization. Do it right.

It is truly said that a picture is worth a thousand words. An image is elemental, simple, and pure. A logo is the corporate representation of image. In todays age, a logo is the embodiment of the entire organization. It is the frontrunner that goes before the organization. It is imperative that your logo is done right.

Logos I've Designed

Cinema Camera
Cinema Camera
Wow Church
Wow Church

What a Logo Needs to Incorperate

Your logo needs to represent your organization. It needs to incorporate your values, mission,vision, theme, message, many things. It's not always possible to share everything in a single image but it's important to try. A logo is not a master oil painting, a detailed graphic novel, or a highly detailed computer illustration. A logo needs to be dean, simple, strong and easily recognizable. It need to be made up of strong, clean lines, shapes, negative space, and one or two colors. Details are not good to use. Why is that? A logo needs to be versatile. It needs to be able to be blown up or scaled down. It needs to be able to be placed on, print, web, or video. If there is detail in the image then it's hard to make the image small because the details will be so tightly condensed that the logo will become a mess! Plus details add volume and again a logo should be clean, dimple but have strength. If you want to use details create them with your line art. Think of the Starbucks logo. It seems heavily detailed but it's actually just cleaver use of line art, shape and negative space. Lets review some popular logos and take a glance at what makes them great logos. 

Famous Logos

Now many of these have the test of time, and a great product behind them. But a truly great logo represents its company well even if people did not know who or what they were.

Apple. An apple is easily recognizable, solid, simple, and a nice singular unit. The line work is simple, elegant, but strong. The image is both able to stand as a unit or on a colored plane in negative space form. Clean, strong, simple; all elements of an Apple computer or device. Not to mention an apple is a symbol of health. Apple computers are strong, powerful and don't have as many virus's. 

Disney. The entire Disney empire is backed by this custom made typeface! Wow! Disney adds and takes away images, and colors over time but this typeface remains. Even in black and white it just bellows fun, animation, cartoons, excitement,giddiness, laughter and many more emotions. Even without the long history of quality filming and animation. Even if someone had not heard of Disney this logo already tells them something about the company. 

American Airlines. The use of color, shape, and negative space are all incorporated in this image. Instantaneously it looks like an eagle flying and an airplane and an "A". The new logo perfectly meshes the old logo together and creates something fresh and new. It's clean, strong, and well designed. 

Starbucks. As mentioned before the use of shape and negative space creates the highly detailed image without a lot of messy line work. The design is all inclusive in the circle and uses just one color. It's a simply complicated beautiful design. 

KFC. This at first seems to contradict my statements of not using detail in a logo. But look at it closely, it uses strong lines, negative space, and nice shapes. The line work is kept to a minimum there is no messy work, its all very clean. For example there is no cross hatching for shadows, or addition of any texture. Everything is created by simple shapes and strong but graceful line work. 

How to Design Your Logo

Sketch. Sketch, sketch, sketch and then when your done, sketch some more. Get all the ideas out on paper. Draw with pencil, pen, or sharpie; whatever just no computers until later. Be quick, fast, elemental and break those ideas out. What do you want to create? What message do you want to send? Who are you? What do you do? What do you believe? What's important? At the core when you strip everything away what is your organization about? 

Favorites. Now go back over and pick out your top 3-5 favorites. Now sketch out those images. Take more time and develop them. Why do you like them? What features stand out? Can any of them be meshed together? Go ahead and see if any new images can be made by doing that. Yes, then roll with it if you like it. No, then its time to move on. Start thinking about colors. What pallets would work for this? Pick out several different combinations.

Computer. Open your program to design your logo in. Start with the basic shapes. Then you can manipulate them. What is beginning to jump out? Out of your favorites what is the strongest? Have other people look at it. Find other designers or artistic people to look at your work. You may love your mom, but this might not be the time to get her opinion. Unless your mom is one of those who is brutally honest.

Similar example, I made a design once that was supposed to be a camera. When I showed it to my wife she said it was a hammer! This was a case where someone close to me was very honest. I went on to improve the design.  

Now start adding colors. Opaque things out. Play around with the colors. Walk away and come back to it., multiple times. Finally after several revisions and lots of honest eyes on it, then you are ready to make the final copy. You're done!

-http://understandingchurchmedia.com

Great Video on Logo Design.

Updated: 02/13/2015, skFliehman
 
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