The art of logo design, top tips

It's been very busy with logo and branding work, six on the go. It's been very important to keep referring to the research and managing my time to ensure they all thrive and develop as separate pieces. I wanted to share fifteen point that I keep in mind when I'm designing for you.

  1. Know who you up against. I'll always check on your competition so that we can think differently. Take Apple and Microsoft, each have recognisable but very different design approaches makes them stand apart in their branding and their logos. What makes you different to your competitor?
  2. What do you value the most and why do you do it? Simon Sineck (TedEx Talks) asks companies to identify their Why. This understanding is a factor in creating a logo that represents your values.
  3. Be prepared to change direction. During the process, another option may pop up that we were not expecting to see. Let's consider it's value.
  4. Understand the history. Classic logos and refreshing old logos from the archives is new take on retaining provenance. That all said, we should proceed with caution as not all retro works both in current and future design trends.
  5. The logo is only one part. A full brand will cover tone, perception, packaging, social media, it's a small piece in a very large jigsaw. Whilst you may only want a logo now, as you grow consider a branding strategy.
  6. Serif or sans? The right typeface matters. It's common to see sans logos, mostly following the trend for online legibility. As retina screens become more commonplace, so serifs are coming back into fashion as rendering is improved. The great thing about working together is that you don't have to conform to trend but what is right for your product. Imagine HSBC in a sans serif - it bucks a trend when it's competitors - Lloyds for one - have dropped serifs.
  7. Customise. Good designers will work responsibly with type to make it yours. That's not to say that the original font is wrong, but the spacing can be altered but beware of make false moves and asked for a weight that the font wasn't created for. Not only are the spaces and forms altered, so technically the font becomes unusual able. I have the full Linotype, Berthold and Typekit libraries to hand, so I'm sure we can find a suitable face!
  8. If you have the budget, you can ask a typography to create your own typeface for you and you can licence so nobody else can use it. Coca Cola's face is unique and the London Transport Company commissioned Johnson to provide their typography. 
  9. Monograms are cool if you have a unique set of initials such as YSL
  10. Takeaway the details. Stripping back the details can open up new possibilities. This also allows us to consider the negative shapes and use this area well. 
  11. Colours can compare or contrast. The colour wheel matters as IKEA demonstrate with opposites on the wheel. BP's logo, controversial for hinting at the environment in its use of green, uses an analogous scheme with just one dominant colour. 
  12. Think about the psychology of colour. As mentioned, green is used to depict environmental organisations, blue is often found in financial markets and dark purple is linked to Cadburys' Pantone 2685C.
  13. Monochrome can be stylish and effective, either alone or with one contrast colour. 
  14. Always mull it over. And run a poll on your social media if you like. You may want to do a poll that asks pertinent questions on the previous points above. This helps people voting for what they perceive as the best without thinking why. 
  15. Lead by example. We're used to seeing brands alter all the time, employing top agencies for lots of money. If you are a smaller startup, you may wish to spend wisely and invest carefully. Do this by creating something unique. A great logo and clear branding guidelines can lift your logo above the rest and add a great piece of collateral and create a story for your clients, showing how you value them and your products.