Web Design: Designing a LogoYour logo plays a crucial role in defining the identity of your business or organization. It will appear on your website, social media accounts and will factor prominently in your advertising and marketing materials. How are good logos conceived, designed and refined?

Why Is A Good Logo So Important?

A logo is incredibly important to prominent individuals interested in personal branding, businesses and organizations. Logos are all around us, and although we may not consciously realize it, they play a large role in how we perceive brands. Some logos, such as the Nike “Swoosh” and the McDonald’s “Golden Arches” are instantly recognizable and even iconic to multiple generations of Americans. Children learn from a very young age to recognize the logos for their favorite television shows such as the Sesame Street street sign, toys brands such as LEGO, and entertainment brands such as Disney, Nintendo, and Nickelodeon.

Sports fans of all ages proudly display the distinctive logos of their favorite college athletic programs and professional clubs on clothing and memorabilia, and even politicians have begun to utilize logos, such as President Obama’s “O” logo used in the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Presidential elections. It is very likely that you could recognize and identify many prominent logos, even if you may not recall much else about the brands each logo represents.

The Meaning Behind The Logo

Given the incredible branding power of a logo, it is understandable that when an individual, business or organization needs a new logo, they want to make sure it properly conveys the right image and is well-received by the general public. Creating a good logo does not require the talents of an expensive design firm – the world-famous Nike “Swoosh” logo was created in 1971 by a graphic design student for $35! Sometimes spending an abundance of time, money and resources on a logo can backfire – multinational clothing retailer The Gap released a new logo in 2010 that proved to be a disaster, and it was retired in less than a week.

What Makes A Good Logo?

Like all good branding and marketing efforts, it is incredibly important that your logo represents who you are as an individual, business or organization. This point can’t be stressed enough – too often other considerations, such as a desire to be unique, trendy or influential, can lead to logo designs that are unsuccessful and even damaging to other marketing and branding efforts. To begin, focus on what you want to communicate to the public – is your business friendly and casual, or reserved and formal? It is important to determine what makes your brand unique, and at the same time recognize what elements your brand shares with your competitors.

Do Some Research

Next, it is important to study the logos used by other individuals, businesses or organizations within your industry. Are their common elements used by many of the same businesses, like similar imagery, fonts and colors? Although it is recommended that your logo share some common traits with others within the same industry, it is important that you do not create brand confusion or violate an existing trademark. Instead, consider the ways you can tweak these common elements and use them as inspiration to create your unique logo and differentiate yourself from the competition.

Consider Context

Good logos are often clean, versatile and functional. Consider all of the places your logo may appear – from your website to business cards to possibly even a massive billboard – and consider how the logo would appear in each of these contexts and how it may be perceived. Never include complex images or photographs. Your logo must distinct and memorable in a variety of formats, including black and white and against various backgrounds.

Get It Trademarked

Once you have created your logo, consider the benefits of registering it as a trademark. Although registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requires an investment of time and money, it can provide legal protections that may prove to be crucial to protecting your logo and branding if a third party uses a logo that is too similar to yours, either inadvertently or with a malicious intent to create brand confusion.