What Are the Most Important Elements of a Logo?
As basic as it sounds, understanding the different elements in a logo design can help you craft or get a better identity for your brand. Here are a brief guide.
Creating a logo may seem like an overwhelming task if you don’t have a lot of experience with it. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be impossible, or even difficult. You just have to take it one step at a time.
Most professional designers recommend taking the time to break down the personality behind the logo. Analyze the brand, including values, goals, and audience. Be ready to sketch out some potential logo designs for further development.
When you’ve got your groundwork all ready, then it’s time to tackle the task of designing a logo, step by step.
The first element that needs attention in logo design is the accuracy of brand messaging. This requires that the designer take the logo as a whole, after considering each individual element and weigh it against the personality of the brand to ensure that it is a good representation of the company behind the name.
This particular element is more difficult to pinpoint. Sub-factors, such as a consideration of emotions in logo design, brand image, and message, play into the whole as well.
The best way to ensure that this most important element is well cared for is to know the brand well. As mentioned at the outset, it’s a designer’s responsibility to analyze the brand, including values and audience, and match the design accordingly.
Other than the brand message, here are the five main elements of logo design that designers must take care of.
The actual style of your logo is a good place to start when putting the design together, because it gives you a direction to go in.
The exact number of logotypes depends on who you ask and how you count. Depending on your source, you can find anywhere from three to nine different classifications of logos. But here are the main ones:
Lettermark, wordmark, or monogram. This sort of logo relies heavily on font choice for effectiveness. Wordmarks use the name of the company as the logo; lettermarks and monograms use one or more letters, usually the initials of the company name.
Mascot. A mascot logo uses a character — usually a person or an animal — as the “face” that represents the company, such as Colonel Sanders for KFC.
Pictorial. A pictorial mark can represent products that the company provides or symbolize the values or traits of the company. For example, Apple’s logo obviously isn’t a literal representation of what the company sells, since last we checked, Steve Jobs was never in the orchard business. Rather, it’s a symbolic representation of the search for and achievement of knowledge, harkening back to Adam and Eve eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden.
Emblematic. This type of logo uses an emblem such as a shield or banner.
Combination. Combination marks usually combine a graphic with a letter mark, wordmark, or monogram. These are the most common types of logos, and are among the most effective for helping a new brand to become established.
The type of logo that you choose is the fundamental element of the finished product. It’s a blueprint for the rest of the design choices.
Your choice of a font, or whether you use a font at all, will be heavily influenced by the type of logo that you decide to design. The font could be the focus of the logo, or it could be a supporting player — or you may not even need one.
Fonts are important not just because they are used to convey written content, but because the type of font you choose promotes a tone as well.
Serif fonts are traditional, respectable, and trustworthy.
Sans serif fonts are edgy, clean, and efficient.
Script fonts are artistic, unique, and elegant.
Modern fonts are dramatic, bold, and impactful.
Even after you choose a font style that fits the brand you’re working with, there are thousands upon thousands of different fonts. It’s helpful to keep track of a few go-tos as you proceed with your different designs.
Color choice is arguably one of the most impactful elements of a logo. This is less because of the importance to the overall aesthetics of the design, and more because of the potential impact that your color palette may have on the viewer.
The psychology of color design helps us to choose colors that are more likely to appeal to our target audience. It also helps us to avoid colors that are likely to be rejected as unappealing, or which have negative connotations because of background or culture.
And then, of course, there’s the issue of user friendliness. Color choice goes a long way to ensuring the creation of a logo design that is easy to understand, with the individual elements clearly standing out from each other and the background. Too low a contrast in the colors, and everything looks the same. Too high a contrast, and the viewer might have to shield her eyes from the garish colors.
Make no mistake about it, color choice is a very important element in logo design.
The overall style of the graphic — and of the logo as a whole, as logos should be harmonious — can also heavily impact the tone that is sent. A hand-drawn graphic with unique elements makes a logo stand out as quirky and unusual; a generic, simple shape graphic without any distinguishing elements doesn’t make a logo stand out at all.
Graphics can also be trendy, edgy, clean, grungy, odd, cute, intelligent — there’s really no limit to what a simple choice of graphic can say about the logo and the brand behind it. So it’s vital to choose this particular element wisely.
With care given to each of these important elements, logo design doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be just another part of a successful journey in design.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor