Logo is the symbol for the company and the brand. It's used to remind customers and grab attention in competitive environments. Logos are important in branding but note that they are not even remotely the most important things in branding.
Logo needs to be simple so a person can draw it with a pencil. If the logo is not simple, people will have hard time remembering it. Aim to make it memorisable even without the brand name. If you cannot get this done, include part of the company name in the logo like Virgin or IBM logo.
Logo needs to look good in huge and tiny sizes. Using vectors when making logos is a must. Logo may be used on web pages, forms even or even building wide advertisements.
Logo needs to look good on screen and on paper. It will be used on both.
Logos use colors mainly to capture attention, but consider what kind of vibe your color decisions will cause. The logo also needs to look good in both color and black-and-white. Usually printed only using black and white.
Logo should have symbolism or a catch that can be taken away from it, implemented in new context and people still recognize it as the brand.
Logo needs to be similar but still different. Whiskey logo needs to look like a whiskey logo and not like drain cleaner, but the logo still needs to look different from the other whiskey logos.
Logo must have context. Logo itself is not always enough, it is also how you use it. You need to specify guidelines for using the logo.
Coca-Cola logo looks rather horrible but the context in which it is used, e.g. dominant red background, make it look good and memorisable.
Logos aren't meant to be pretty. Ugly logos are preferable in some trades and situations. Most notably business-to-business companies favor "ugly" but more conservative logos, they make the company feel like more reliable.
Aim for timeless design. Never follow popular graphical trends currently in use because those logos are not truly timeless. Rebranding after each new graphical trend will cost a fortune.
Creating a Logo
To create initial logo prototypes:
- Take a product that the company is providing and make it a symbol. Include hints of the company name if can be expressed visually.
- Write company or product name, try different fonts and draw vectors over the text. Include hints of symbolism.
- Express company or product name visually.
After initial logo prototypes, ensure that the designs are unique. Use Google Image Search and search by words that describe the logo.
How to create variants from an existing logo:
- Transform dimensions e.g. from 2D to 3D.
- Increase contrast between elements e.g. color, size or distance.
- Add subtle symbols e.g. wave, dove, arrow.
- Use whitespace to add symbolism e.g. two bird symbols form a whitespace between them that is a star.
- Change the typeface. Draw vectors over the typeface and tweak them a bit.
- Create personalized versions of the logo e.g. Adobe logos.
- Write company, brand or product name in another typeface. Cut a few corners away and see how it looks. Add a related symbol near the text.
Always provide logo in various formats:
- Big PNG, small PNG, big JPG, small JPG, PDF, TIF (300 DPI) and whatever is requested.
- Grayscale and full color of each one.