It’s no small feat to capture the heart and soul of a brand in a single image, so when designing a logo for a company—be it your own or that of a client—you’ll want to go deep.
In this article, we’ll explore the 30 questions to ask when designing a logo. These questions will help you suss out what a company stands for, who it’s targeting and what makes it special before you so much as blink at the drawing board. Because a logo isn’t just a snazzy symbol, clever slogan or cute font. It’s a shining beacon of all that a business represents (and also because it’s a lot easier to tweak a promising concept than start over from scratch).
Logos are important because they have the power to build brand awareness, captivate an audience and keep customers coming back for more. It’s a vital marketing tool, both in advocating for a company and differentiating it from the competition. For a business of any size, a logo can foster trust and a loyal fan base. Once a customer has formed a positive association with a brand, its logo will jump out at them from the shop shelf, Google results or social media feed. Pick me!
As the golden arches (McDonalds, bitten apple (Apple) and bold swoosh (Nike) have shown us, a logo is how the world will meet, and swiftly judge, its offering.
Design elements such as the symbols, shapes, lines, typography and colors all work together to make a great logo. A great logo will be a winning combination of five core attributes. A great logo should be
It will look fabulous in black and white and at any size. It will be as striking on a business card as it is a billboard, and easily recognizable across print and digital platforms.
At its best, a great logo will trigger a mixture of emotional and physical reactions aligned with how a business is intended to make us feel. Colonel Sanders gets us salivating. The WWF panda makes us want to save the planet. We can almost smell the popcorn when the Netflix logo pops (or knocks) up.
When designing a logo, the challenge lies in evoking the desired reaction.
Whether you are a new start-up founder, a business owner keen to freshen up your current logo, or a graphic designer yourself wanting to create client-pleasing results, the key to designing a compelling logo is to do your research. Look to the relevant markets, look to the competition and ask lots of questions. Here are 30 to get you started:
The basics and backstory
Apple’s logo is synonyms with its products’ user-friendly simplicity. Eco-friendly beauty brand Sukin radiates nature by way of a leaf motif and earthy color palette.
Target audience, marketing and competitors
Hendrick’s Gin knows how to get the attention of discerning, yesteryear-appreciating drinkers, while the logo for Summa Dayze music festival could not scream fun-loving any louder.
Hot tip: If your brand is in any way digital, get the edge on your competitors by setting your logo in motion. TheCanva Pro Animator will get have your logo jumping, sliding and fading in a jiffy.
Instagram jumped on the sunset color gradient train with their 2016 logo redesign, while Mailchimp are know for their sunny yellow hue – tipped to be a logo color trend for 2020.
If you want a wordmark logo, customize a template like thePeach and Black Bold Real Estate Logo by incorporating your brand’s color palette, graphics and fonts. The same goes for combination mark templates, like theBlue and White Circle Kommune Logo, and badge or emblem templates like theBlue and Yellow Stars General’s Cafe Logo.
Eco-conscious toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap and kids’ skin-care range Gro-To have logos that flaunt their cheeky brand personas through customized fonts and playful colors.
Hot tip: Compile a mood board of logos and branded material you like on Pinterest. If you’re working for a client, advise them to get pinning and send you a link to their board.
If you’re working with a client, you’ll also want to ask questions around budget, timeline and general expectations. It will make for a much smoother ride if you find out how they’d like to work with you. Do they want their hand held throughout the entire design process? Do they want to collaborate on each stage, or do they already have a crystal-clear vision for a logo that they’d like you to expertly execute?
However you’re coming at designing a logo, put the essence of its brand behind every decision you make. As Paul Rand, the graphic designer who created logos for IBM, Westinghouse and NeXT, wisely said: “A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.”