In today’s highly visual online social world, it’s all about the identity you create for yourself for those who don’t know you. It's true that we all create a persona by the images we choose to post on social media platforms. Where we go, where we eat, and what we wear all seem to paint a picture of who we are, even if it’s not true. A big part of that is due to branding. Like it or not, the brands we surround ourselves say a lot about the kind of person we are. The brand of car we drive, the brand of clothes we wear, and even the brand of restaurants we go to all contribute to that picture. You might even say, we brand ourselves by using other brands.
But why do we like brands so much? Believe me, millions of research dollars have been spent trying to answer this question, some by human behaviorist, but mostly by marketing firms. In short, we like branding because it sets us apart from the rest, while also making us feel like we belong to a group or club. It makes us feel comfortable and secure. Yes, this is what branding does and at the heart of it is the logo.
We wear them on our clothes. They appear on our phones. They even show up on the food we eat. Logos are an important part of the experience and emotions we get from branding. Just ask any sports fan or fashionista. But aside from the big companies, branding, and more specifically logos, can help anyone who wants buy-in from people and loyalty for their organization.
Lets take any high school club or team. For the teenagers that inhabit them, their whole world is centered around the image, colors, and shape of their club or team logo. However, it doesn’t have to stop there. Basically anything can be branded and have a logo. From school events, to yearly classroom projects, they all can benefit from the loyalty and buy-in big brands get.
So where do we begin, the logo? Sure, let’s begin there! You don’t need to hire anyone with graphic skills. Today virtually anyone can make their own logo easily. You can use any free online graphics app like Canva and some simple how-to tips for crafting your logo.
Keep in mind when you’re designing that a good logo should:
I have broken down the process of making a logo into 5 easy steps. It’s not how every graphic artist does it, but it’s a good guide for any novice. Any logo can be made using the 5 elements of SHAPE, FONT, ICON, COLOR, and SIZE. You can begin with any of these first, especially if you already have an idea for any of these elements. Let’s discuss each element and build a logo while we’re at it.
Let’s start with SHAPE. The shape of a logo is important because it determines many of the other elements that follow. You can choose to have a round, square, rectangle, or even a triangle as the basic shape of your logo. It basically gives all the other elements, like the text and image, a background. Sometimes the text and image will determine the shape, and many people begin with those first if they have one in mind already. In any event, if you don’t, start with a shape and change it later if you need to. It's a good place to start.
Next, is the FONT. Now, assuming you already
know the name of the organization or
product you're promoting, choosing a font is just a matter of picking something appropriate. With thousands of fonts to choose from, this is probably the most time consuming part of making a logo. You can do this by going to any free online font site and testing as many as you want. I like 1001 Free Fonts, but there are many others. Keep in mind, the feeling you want your logo to have depends on what it’s for. After all, you wouldn’t use a comical font for the debate team’s logo.
Let’s select an ICON next. Not every logo needs an image or symbol. Sometimes the
font is all the image it needs. But if you want one for your logo, the simpler and more graphic, the better. The image should be easily recognizable and preferably with one or two colors only.
The use of COLOR as a whole, should also be simple. The more restraint you use with color, the more successful your logo will be. Remember, the same logo should look good when seen in color or black and white. I like using no more than two colors for most of the logos I create.
Lastly, we need to consider SIZE. I don’t mean the overall size of the logo, that will change depending on what it will be used on. After all, it can be small as in a letterhead, or very large as in a banner. In this case, size means the size of each element. The size of each element is relative to every other element of the logo. Consider the size of the shape, font, and image and how they relate to one another. As you build your logo, one might change to benefit another.
Here's a chart I created to show the 5 steps in action. Using a fictional school flower show as the event, I created the logo using the 5 elements. Below the graphic is my thought process of how I created the logo.
1. I picked a flower shape as the shape of the logo
2. I then picked the fonts for the title. I like to choose at least 2 fonts that will compliment each other, such as a script and a block font.
3. After that, I chose another flower shape as the icon to give it depth. It was originally red and I kept it that color cause I thought it worked well.
4. I chose yellow for the main title and a lighter red for the shape. For the most part, color is subjective, but I chose these instead of blue or green because I thought they were lively and fit the theme of the event more appropriately.
5. Lastly, I played with the sizes of the elements so they can be in harmony with each other.