Five Things to Consider Before Designing Your Logo

Forward View's new copywriter, Sarah Easley, interviewed our graphic designers for this article about logo development considerations.

A logo is a basic part of formulating a brand’s identity. As important as a logo is, choosing a design that fits your image, mission, and embraces the story behind it can be one of the most challenging tasks you face in starting up an organization. It needs to appeal to you, but it also needs to function as a strong, recognizable symbol to your clients.
Kerri Costello, one of Forward View Consulting’s graphic design consultants, has broken it down to one key factor: “The logo gives your whole business an identity.”
So, how do you figure out what it should be? Here, we give you five questions to kickstart the process of deciding on a direction for your logo.

1. What logos do you admire?

Some brands immediately pop out at you when you see their logos in magazines or on billboards. They stand out for a reason. Think about what attracts you to these logos – bright colors, an interesting font face, or perhaps the sense of purpose they exude.
Some of the most famous logos are also some of the most simplistic. Grace Wu, another graphic design consultant with Forward View Consulting, asserted that a logo design doesn’t need to be complex in order to be effective. “In my opinion, the most powerful logos include McDonald’s golden arches, Starbucks’ green mermaid, Apple’s a bite out of the apple … Each one of them has grasped the key factors to make them easy to remember, meaningful and timeless,” she explained.
Identifying logos that appeal to you and understanding why equips you to approach your own design with a keen eye for detail.

2. What’s your story?

The second and third questions you need to consider may take some time to mull over. It can feel like you’re getting bogged down as you work through these themes, but don’t be discouraged. Remember, the more you put into this process, the stronger and more meaningful the final product will be.
Start with the basics: what’s the story behind your brand? How did you get from just an idea to actually making it into a reality? Since your logo may well be the first representation of your brand a potential client comes across, it should communicate that there’s more to your organization than just a colorful picture.
People care about stories and yours is an important part of how you will form relationships with your clients, right from the beginning.

3. What message do you want to communicate?

Your logo should not only embrace your story, but also relay a message. One of the most vital aspects of doing business is communication and your logo needs to play a role in this. The easiest approach to take in figuring this out is to consider what your organization does. If you run an in-home care service, you may want your logo to emphasize a sense of compassion. Likewise, a cybersecurity firm might choose a logo that says, “You’re safe with us.”
Ultimately, you want someone who sees your logo to feel something. Wu explained, “A recognizable, meaningful logo not only helps customers remember a business’s brand, but also helps a business win customers’ attention and loyalty.”

4. What’s your long-term plan?

When asked how to approach designing a logo, members of the Forbes Communications Council offered advice, much of which agreed on a common concept. One of the keys to deciding on a logo design is to consider the future of your business. What are your goals for the brand over the next five years? How about 10? What will it look like in 35 years? Your logo should both compliment and support those aims, maintaining relevance, which will set your brand apart from the crowd. “Remember, your logo is who your company is and what it stands for moving forward,” emphasized Patrick Corcoran of Luxoft.

5. What style of logo should you choose?

There are a few different types of logos you and your graphic designer can work with.
Abstract designs, such as Nike’s swish, can be some of the most effective logos out there. Keep in mind, however, that it may take time for such a design to become recognizable as you build your reputation. Alternatively, you could think about how your logo might illustrate the services or products you provide.
A logo isn’t always a picture, however. Some of the most iconic brands in America are simply their names – think of FedEx, Sony, and Coca-Cola. It isn’t just the name, of course. The colors, size, and overall feel of the font go toward turning a brand name into a logo.

Designing a Logo that Succeeds

Once you’ve worked through these questions you’re ready to create a logo that is unique and powerful. The more you invest in this preliminary brainstorming, the better off you’ll be, whether you’re designing the logo yourself or are using the services of a graphic designer.
If you’re going to be working with a professional, Costello recommends open communication about what you’re looking for. As a graphic designer herself, she’s helped a number of clients through the creative process. Of her experience she said, “Some people have a very clear vision and others leave it up to the designer. Either way, if there is clear communication throughout everyone will be happy with the end results.”

One more good resource:

Nathan Yates

Nathan Yates has been fascinated by technology and finance since he was young. He was the kid devouring the business section of the newspaper (remember those?) while others read everything else. Nathan believes that the American economy is built from the bottom-up, meaning that small businesses and local nonprofits are the foundation of our nation's success. These organizations are the lifeblood of towns and cities across the U.S. Unfortunately, most consulting firms overlook companies or organizations that don't have eight-figure budgets. Nathan thought Forward View Consulting should be different. And we are. As Lead Consultant, Nathan works with each client to deliver only the best financial and/or website development services. Nathan's years of web design experience and his business degrees ensure that professional expertise is brought to each project. Our network of contacts can offer additional specialized guidance if needed. Before creating Forward View Consulting, Nathan worked for an independent equity research firm as a Research Associate covering the industrial and energy sectors. This work involved preparing quarterly 15-40 page reports on multi-billion dollar corporations along with timely analysis of M&A activity and industry-wide news. He also managed research distribution and the company's online presence. Nathan also spent a summer serving as a local financial adviser's Research Intern. Nathan earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Finance from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating summa cum laude. He then earned a Master's degree in Finance from Southern New Hampshire University, where he was named the Outstanding Student in his particular concentration. Now, Nathan is an adjunct professor teaching economics and finance for his alma mater. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys fishing, reading, time with family and serving as a volunteer webmaster for the Clintwood United Methodist Church.