Strategizing the logo design and branding for your business is one of the most exciting phases of business development! You get to embark on a creative journey that will solidify your brand style guide and form your brand’s signature look, feel, and mood. You want to invest in a logo, brand colors, and fonts that are going to stand the test of time, help customers recognize and remember your business, and differentiate you from your competition. But how do you get started? You have a solid idea of how you want your brand to appear to the world. How can you translate the branding ideas floating around in your head into amazing website design, social media, and product packaging?

To get the creative juices flowing, check out our 15 best tips for great logo design and branding.

1. Logo Design shouldn’t be Overly Complicated

Remember that your logo exists to express your brand’s personality and hint at what you do. When your logo flashes across a screen, people should “get it” instantly. Simple designs trump fancy ones by being memorable and easy to place and resize on any medium.

2. Stay True to Your Company, Audience, and Mission

Whenever you design a logo, it’s super important to keep your brand identity consistent. Don’t choose a logo that has nothing to do with your target audience just because it looks cool! What’s “in” now could be completely dated in 5 years. Your logo should be a little black dress. Something classic, sleek, and fresh for years to come.

3. Scope out Your Competitors Logo Design and Branding

This is an important step in your research stage for a few reasons. First off, you want to make sure you are not too closely copying the brand aesthetic of another business. Secondly, customers might already expect to see familiar branding elements in certain industries. For instance, solar power companies typically incorporate earthy or “green” color palettes. This is because market research reveals that customers respond well to these colors when choosing a provider for environmentally-friendly energy. You should design your logo to stand out, but also keep these types of industry-led conventions in mind.

4. Decide Which Logo Format Best Fits Your Brand

Does your brand plan on using its name as the logotype? Or, will you use a symbol or abbreviation to illustrate your company name? Much of this will depend on the length of your business name, your industry, and your overall marketing strategy. If your company is brand new and needs to raise brand awareness, it’s wise to include your full name in your logo. Starbucks, for instance, previously chose to have its name incorporated into the company logo. However, once the iconic coffee chain became known for its mermaid symbol, it no longer needed typography in the logo. Our point? It’s always better to be specific and recognizable than to be vague for the sake of a cool-looking design. A neat logo icon does you no good if it doesn’t instantly make customers remember your business name and what you offer.

5. Make a Mood Board

Feeling stuck? Not sure what design style you like? Sometimes it’s easiest to start your logo design process by compiling brand elements you like from other websites and designers. This is called a mood board, and it helps narrow down the vibe and creative direction your logo design and branding should take. Pinterest boards can be a great tool for his type of initial research!

6. Choose Colors and Fonts Strategically

Studies show that customers make up their minds about products and brands in under 2 minutes. In fact, consumers will base about 62‐90 percent of their judgments on your brand colors alone! To help your brand succeed, you need to be strategic. A designer can help you choose the right colors to stand out and project the right mood and feel to your audience.

The typography you use also influences customers’ attitudes toward your brand. Lawyers wouldn’t want to use a flamboyant typeface, because their clientele is looking for reliable, mature, and knowledgeable counsel. Most iconic brands use only one or two fonts, so keep it simple and don’t sacrifice readability for flashy appeal.

7. Great Logos Stand on Their Own

Will your logo possess the same impact in black and white as it does in full color? Keep in mind that you may need to make your logo monochromatic to help it stand out for web design and print applications. When you overlay your logo over photos, other graphics, and marketing materials, it needs to be visible!

8. Don’t Forget that branding is a Process

Your first ideas will probably be a little generic but your branding is an evolution. You can put your own unique spin on simple ideas—you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Think about Evernote’s iconic elephant logo. An elephant may seem commonplace enough, but the way they designed the ear to be reminiscent of paper speaks volumes about their brand. A talented designer will guide you through the process and help steer you toward the perfect, simple concept.

9. Think Long Term

Logos typically cost anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars. Invest wisely by choosing a design that will evolve with your brand, stay relevant, and stand the test of time. Most brands at least consider refreshing logos and branding every 5 years. While it depends on your budget, goals, and audience demographics, choosing a logo that has longevity means you can avoid frequent rebranding.

10. Keep and Open Mind

You may have a rigid idea fo what your brand means and how you want it to be represented, but creative brainstorms should include a variety of concepts. That’s how you whittle down your preferences to find the perfect logo. Choose a logo designer who offers at least three to ten logo variations to start out with. Of course, if you want more and have the budget, you can ask for that, too. However, too many options is also a potential problem as it might overwhelm you and cause disagreements on your team.

11. Make Sure Your Finished Logo is High Resolution

Make sure your artist designs and delivers your logo in vector format. This allows you to size it up to the large dimensions of a billboard and down to the tiny size of a website favicon without pixelation. Any good graphic designer, branding agency, or logo designer will do this by default. But if you’re taking the DIY approach, don’t forget or you’ll end up having to pay to remake your logo in a professional format.

12. If it Aint Broke…

Do you really need to redesign your logo? Are you relaunching your branding on a whim? Unless you’re starting a business from scratch, your branding is dated, or the audience or product of your business has changed, analyze why you’re rebranding your logo before you start the process. We’ve all heard about catastrophic attempts to rebrand that ended in public ridicule. Don’t let it happen to your company!

13. You Get the Logo You Pay For

How much does branding cost? While there’s a logo for every budget, your branding is not a place you want to cheap out. To determine how much you should spend on your logo, ask yourself how important your branding is to your marketing. If you are a small family business with local clients, you may not feel the need to pay big bucks for a logo. But if your business sells online or is projected to grow in future years, it’s always easier to pay upfront for great branding than to rebrand after your business has become profitable and gained loyal customers. They’ll likely forever associate a sub-par logo with your business, and you might struggle to regain that recognition when you rebrand to appeal to a wider market.

14. Only Loop In Key Decision Makers

When it’s time to select a logo, narrow down your decision-makers to the most important people in your business. It’s okay to do a poll with employees, but the ultimate choice should be up to you. Too many cooks in the kitchen often make for chaos and indecision.

15. Get Unbiased Opinions

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, consider creating a focus group to give you feedback on your new branding. We’ve seen people put their designs on LinkedIn and solicit great feedback from their network. This feedback should tell you if customers “get” your branding and which design concepts they’re drawn to most.

We hope these tips for logo design and branding pumped you up for this crucial phase in your business development! Whether you decide to hire a freelance designer or agency or whip up your own logo on Canva, it’s important to understand basic brand and logo strategy to land on a logo that you’re psyched about. If reading this article has made you sure you don’t want to tackle this important process alone, Witty Kitty is always here to discuss your options!