So, you’ve got a compelling and authentic Brand Story, but how do you make your brand visually arresting, beautiful, consistent and recognisable ?
Firstly, you want your brand to be distinctive. Think about distinctiveness as the muscle memory of your brand. It’s the step and repeat STAND OUT elements that make your brand instantly recognisable.
Your customised selection of colors, fonts, and graphics will all eventually unify to achieve this, as you develop your full brand identity. One of the first creative projects where these elements will already start coming together, is designing your logo.
Your logo is something entirely unique to your brand. It becomes its signature, its flag, and – if done right – it can create an instant impression of what your brand is all about.
As soon as you start seeing your logo on your social designs, website, business cards, products, or even signage, it all starts to feel much more real. Considering that your logo always needs to feel perfectly relevant in any design you create, it does in many ways become the sun in your design solar system.
Over’s Senior UX Designer, Daniel, reckons there are four key principles to which your logo should adhere. Throughout the design process, keep asking yourself if your logo is moving towards being:
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Creating a logo can take on huge significance, and become a very daunting job. Sure, you could pay your cousin’s friend to do it for you, or rustle up some marketing dollars and hire a design agency. But we’d like to show you how easy it is to create your brand’s logo, by yourself, with Over. It’s a very satisfying thing to get right, too!
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to easily combine fonts, graphics, and shapes into a logo design in Over.
Don't forget that all the designs you see here are available in the app, for you to customize your own logo.
Inspiration is your starting point. Over’s Senior UX Designer, Daniel, suggests looking around at which popular logos inspire you, in order to get some logo design ideas: “Analyze their characteristics. Decide what you’d like to capture in your new logo and take the findings into your creative process.”
“Definitely don't copy someone else!” is the caveat here from Kaeli, our Brand Designer at Over. “Finding inspiration is natural, but you want your logo to be uniquely you,” she says. You should have your brand’s story defined before you commit to a logo design. Through this process you would have worked out some ideas about the personality of your brand, so try to deepen this understanding.
Kaeli likes to think of a brand as a living entity: “Question 'who' the brand would be if they were a person. Make notes of a few adjectives which describe that person. Hold this imaginary person in your mind. As you design your logo, ask yourself if the font you are using matches that description.” You’ll quickly find that human traits like ‘playful’, ‘unconventional’, or ‘elegant’ are equally applicable to fonts and graphics.
Fonts in particular come baked in with cultural meaning and expectations. Here are a few examples.
Serif fonts tend to represent tradition, respectability and discernment.
Sans-Serif fonts signal modernity, objectivity and even innovation.
Modern fonts are progressive, strong and stylish
Display fonts are friendly, expressive and amusing.
If you’re really intimidated by the idea of making a logo, don’t forget that you can always just find the perfect font, and go minimalist with text only – referred to as a ‘wordmark’ in design circles. Many brands, even some of the world’s biggest, opt for this no-nonsense route. It’s a pretty confident move, in fact.
In Daniel’s view, this is an important upfront decision to make: “Decide if your logo is just a word, or a combination of a logomark and a wordmark. The best approach is to start simple.”
It’s quite common to have both a wordmark and a logomark in your design kit. They can live together, or separately in certain situations. Bear in mind that it could take some time for your logo to be recognised on its own, without the brand name visible.
If you’re going the text only route for your logo design, don’t settle for the default. “Over allows you to control the spacing between letters (‘tracking’), as well as the curvature,” explains Aqeela S, our Brand & Product Designer: “Play around and see how tracking and curving makes your logo that much more unique.”
If you're looking for a starting point to try out some fonts for your logo, we recommend the 'Logotype' collection in our Fonts library.
Alongside the perfect font, the perfect graphic is the other vital ingredient for a great logo design. This will essentially be the icon of your brand, and there are are a few different approaches when it comes to thinking about this:
A universally understood object associated with your industry i.e. a wave for a surf brand, or spectacles for an optometrist.
An icon that alludes to your story or your point of difference: a sunrise representing a new dawn in your industry, or a tree to stir up associations with growth.
A key figure, place, or object in in the story of your brand e.g. The Dalmatian your doggy treat brand is named after, or the historic homestead on your farm.
A brand new symbol or shape that have never existed so that you can build a brand free of cultural or category baggage. In these instances, story is perhaps less important than an impactful design.
Another graphic approach is to use the first letter(s) of your brand’s name as a logo, with the full name underneath it. If you go this route, a basic font won’t cut it – you’ll want to look for something more elaborate or decorative. And don’t worry about finding an affordable calligrapher, because we have a whole stack of ornamental alphabet graphics to choose from in Over.
The best part about Over is that you don’t have to create these illustrations from scratch, or have them commissioned. Whether it’s something simplified, or realistic, we have thousands of illustrated graphics to choose from in our library – the perfect foundation for a logo design.
Shapes can be great holding devices for your logo, to give it some precise parameters for application. It's also easier to use color if your logo is contained within a shape. An abstract shape can also function as a playful graphic behind your wordmark.
A circle is one of the most commonly used shapes for a logo, with the wordmark or logomark often appearing within the circle. Aside from being perfectly balanced, it’s a great device for creating a boundary for your logo. This can make it much easier to add to a design, almost like placing a sticker.
Size is the other crucial aspect to consider when designing your own logo. Your logo needs to be scalable – in other words, it has to be legible and look good at any size. Hopefully it ends up on the side of a building one day… but it also needs to be visible as a thumbnail on a website, or a tiny little tag in a T-shirt.
“Contrast is something you really need to think about,” according to Over’s UX Designer, Aqeela V. “Fine details, or similar colors next to each other, will be very hard for the eye to make out at small sizes.”
In this regard, it’s also important to export your logo design in a file format that will allow scaling, and placement. “Always export your logo on a transparent background, as a hi-res PNG or PDF file,” Aqeela S suggests. “This will enable you to resize it later, and use it in almost any context.”
When it comes to color, less is always more. “Use color sparingly,” Daniel advises. “Only introduce colors to your logo once you’ve established it working in black and white. Make sure it works in its simplest form first.”
Almost all brands (including us) will have color and monochrome options for their logo, and we suggest you do too. “Only apply color if it’s on neutral backgrounds, or its a complimentary color to your brand colors,” is Daniel’s advice.
A color logo might look great on your business card, but it could blend in and disappear on a photographic image, for example. Single color logo options are also really useful when it comes to printing things like business cards, t-shirts, or stickers, since it’ll lower the cost.
A single color logo is also very useful for seasonal, campaign, or collab applications. You can easily create unique color variations (rainbow during Pride month, or green on St. Patrick’s Day), and use different graphic backgrounds to keep your brand identity fresh and dynamic.
Saving & using your logo
Once you’ve arrived at a design you’re happy with (including some variations) don’t forget to save them as hi-res PNG files, and then upload them to your Logos folder. They’ll remain saved here, so you can add them to any of your designs in an instant.
The final step in the logo design process is to see how it lives in the wild, so to speak.
“Test your new logo on everything,” is Daniel’s advice: “Use the mockups in our Graphic collections and test your logo on everything from coffee mugs to stationery assets. A good logo is adaptable.”
Remember – it’s a process. Play around, and feel free to make some mistakes. Go for a walk around the block, and come back to it. You’re unlikely to get it perfectly right on the first go, so commit to ongoing refinement.
“Know that even the most experienced designers go through dozens of iterations,” is Kaeli’s final nugget of advice: ”keep going until it feels exactly right.”
Because it will. And when it does… well then, we’re just getting started.