Be honest with yourself and with us. If you are just starting a business, you probably don’t have the resources to hire a professional designer to create your logo. And that is O.K. 一 there are other ways to do so. The way we see it, if you want to make your own logo from scratch you have three options:
- google logo making tools and do it by using one of the logo makers,
- ask your designer friend to do it for you and
- do it all by yourself.
If you chose the first option and googled “make your own logo” then you know there are over 8 billion Google results. Understandably, you are not going to go through all of them! Instead, you are probably just going to check the first page.
Now, the results on the first page show tools that promise that you can create a logo “in just a few minutes”. How the hell can you create such a significant part of your brand identity in just a couple of minutes?!
You can’t. That is, if you want your logo to be well-designed, you can’t.
And the real problem doesn’t stop there.
Think about other companies. How are you going to make sure your logo doesn’t resemble some other companies’ logos (not just your competitors’)? And what if they used the same logo maker you did (a.k.a used the same templates)? You would be in big trouble.
So, for the love of God, please scratch the option of using a free logo maker.
Now, if we assume that you don’t have a designer friend that can give you a hand, you’ll end up doing it all by yourself.
Here’s an idea. Why don’t you let Themes Kingdom team be your friend? To be more precise, our designers Ivan and Marko have volunteered to give you some tips on how you can make your own logo from scratch.
Ivan is an illustrator and developer who lives by the KISS principle (you’ll find out more about this principle in the following text). When he isn’t sketching comics, murals and editorials, Ivan is coding and drawing all the evil away, like a true Knight of Themes Kingdom should.
Marko is a multidisciplinary designer with over ten years of industry experience in branding, web, graphic design and illustration. As a designer at Themes Kingdom, Marko proudly says he makes awesome WordPress themes.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
What is a logo?
In short, a logo is a visual representation of your brand. It can carry information about your company and evoke emotions.
Evoking emotions? Seems a bit odd? Well, try to think of Coca-Cola for a minute. When you see that combination of red background and white typography, you probably start thinking about the holiday (Christmas) season and sharing a meal with your loved ones. We bet there’s even Santa somewhere in the picture.
Wrong guess? Is it perhaps having brunch with your friends? In the end, it doesn’t matter what your association was. All that matters is that this dark, bubbly beverage made you feel a certain way ー sentimental, sad, anxious, angry, it doesn’t matter. And that is precisely what your company’s logo should do 一 evoke an emotion.
Evoking an emotion is the first thing you have to bear in mind if you decide to make your own logo from scratch.
Why is logo so important?
The reason is simple ー because a logo is a part of branding.
Branding, as you might have heard, consists of actions in which a company communicates with its consumers. The way a company decides to do so is what differentiates it from all the other competitors.
Without getting into too many details about the process of branding, we are just going to mention that one part of branding is creating a brand identity. Having a brand identity means that your company has tangible, physical resources which are going to help create a brand image. One of these resources is a logo.
As you can see, making a logo is more than “let me draw something quickly and if it ends up looking nice I’ll make it my company’s logo”.
A logo should represent your company’s ideas, values, and what the company does.
Now that you know that creating a logo is not a child’s play let’s get to how you can actually make your own logo from scratch.
Tip 1: Use the four Ws
No, we don’t think of the questions that are often mentioned in journalism. (Those are Five Ws 一 Who, What, When, Where, Why, by the way.)
If you want to make your own logo from scratch, the four W questions are the ones that will help you quickly determine what it is that you want to create.
These four questions are:
- What is the goal of creating a logo?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are you trying to represent with this logo (and which emotions are you trying to evoke)?
- What makes your company different from competitors?
If you already have a completed business plan then you should be able to answer the first two questions quickly, so we’ll leave that up to you. The third and the fourth one, however, can be a bit more challenging.
So, what are you trying to represent with your logo? Well, the logo should be insinuating what your company does. So, if you are, let’s say, trying to build an environmental non-profit organization, your logo probably won’t be a pink shoe with a bright red heart next to it. That doesn’t make any sense because it doesn’t represent your business in the light that it should be portrayed. (And yes, in case you are wondering, we just made that logo up.)
The fourth question is there to remind you that you should always be original. Your brand’s uniqueness comes from the thing that differentiates your company from all the other competitors.
Tip 2: Do the research
If you want to make your own logo from scratch, you definitely need some inspiration.
Do yourself a favor and check out all your competitors and their logos. That way you can get an idea of what not to do.
Another tip we can give you is to focus on the trends in your industry and especially on logos that stand out.
Once you complete the research, pick three to five logos you like the best and write down what you like about them. Colors, font, symbols? In this step, you also need to ask yourself whether you like the logo itself or, perhaps, the image the company in question portrays. Be sure not to mix these two things up.
Tip 3: Get some more inspiration
It’s always a good idea to do some more research. So, before you start drawing the logo, get some ideas from your friends and family. Two minds (or more) are always better than one.
You can also do a bit more research and google some ancient symbols. What the heck, you can even dig out some mythology symbols and creatures! Just remember, this step should expand your horizons when it comes to choosing a design for your logo, and not make your overthink it or go overboard.
Now that we named all the annoying steps you need to take if you want to make your own logo from scratch, let’s get to the more creative ones. In this part, we included Ivan and Marko’s tips.
We are sure you are going to love reading them! 🙂
Tip 4: Think about the form and not about symmetry
The first two things you see when you look at a logo are an icon and a text. A logo can consist of just a symbol, just a text or the two combined.
The good news is that when it comes to choosing the form of your company’s logo, there are no rules 一 it’s entirely up to you. Just be sure not to go overboard combining too many fonts and colors.
Now, if you get too much inside your head thinking about the form of the logo, you might start paying more attention to symmetry and the Golden Ratio than the form itself.
Let us stop you right there!
As Marko mentioned:
Symmetry generally isn’t something you should worry about. However, a proper form and readability of your logo are. Keep in mind that a distorted image doesn’t do favors to anyone.
As you can see, if you decide to make your own logo from scratch you shouldn’t worry about the logo being symmetrical. Instead, pay attention to how text and icon fit together.
Tip 5: Draw until your hand falls off
When it comes to drawing, Ivan mentioned:
Now that you have in mind what the form of your logo should be, you can move onto drawing it. Every time I get a task to do logo design, I start by drawing. I draw millions of versions of the logo. That way I can put all the ideas on paper and visualize what works the best and what doesn’t. So, my advice would be not to go digital in this phase. There is no need for you to use fancy designer tools if you just have an idea in mind.
So, when is the right time to stop drawing?
Ivan quickly mentioned: “When you run out of ideas.” As he further explained, this is the moment in which you should stop drawing and start analyzing. Check each logo and decide what you like and don’t like about them. That way, you can quickly eliminate the no-gos.
But, the journey doesn’t stop there.
Once you eliminate the ones you don’t like, you should focus on improving the ones that made the cut. Spend some time studying and developing the good ones. As Ivan suggests, you can even combine them to get an entirely new logo design. You have the world in your hands 一 use your imagination.
Tip 6: The KISS rule
Here’s another advice from Ivan:
When you are doing some creative work like logo designing is, you can easily start to overthink the whole process and get inside your head. From all that thinking you can get lost in shapes, lines, colors. In that situation, I stick to one rule ー KISS or Keep It Simple Stupid.
To help you fully understand this rule, we asked Ivan if there are some guidelines for this rule. He mentioned that using geometric shapes in logos can improve scalability and pureness of the logo. If you are still not sure what we mean, check out Gamemine‘s logo.
When Ivan was explaining how the KISS rule works, he thought of one more witty tip to share:
In this, almost all digital age, it’s better to have a simpler animated logo then a complex static logo.
Tip 7: Don’t stop at the first idea
If you ever think to yourself Here, I drew the first thing that popped to my mind and it’s perfect, think again.
Your first idea is most likely the one that 90% percent of all other people have. It’s probably not that original nor unique. So, please, remember that if you want to make your own logo from scratch, you need to do some serious drawing before making the final decision.
While we are on the subject of ideas, we have one more tip to share: stay away from stealing other people’s designs and ideas. Seems legit, right?
“Getting inspired” by drawing the same logo some other company has is not the way to go. Would you really want for your site visitors/future customers to say Oh, yeah, this is the company whose logo looks just like Amazon’s? Probably not.
Tip 8: Choosing the right font
This is a tough one.
If you want to make your own logo from scratch and are in the process of choosing the font, you need to know three things:
- First of all, a font has to match the style of the symbol (the icon) you chose to go with.
- Second, it shouldn’t be too matchy-matchy with the icon because it won’t stand out.
- Third, if it’s too different from the icon, it will become the first thing a viewer sees, which is not good either.
In other words, choosing the right font is a mystery. That is why we reached out to Ivan to help you solve it.
Without too much hassle, Ivan mentioned:
When you are choosing a font, it all comes down to your personal style and preference. There are no rules you have to follow to choose the perfect font. If you feel like it’s tasteful and goes well with the icon, then your job’s done. However, what you need to pay attention to is where you place the text and what typography size will match the icon. So, should you place the text over the logo or under it? It all depends on whether the logo is going to be square-shaped, in the form of a circle or some other geometric shape.
As you can see, in this step you have to listen to your gut.
Tip 9: Choosing the right color
According to Gareth Hardy, a graphic designer, in a post on Smashing Magazine, choosing the color of your logo should come last. Why? Because if you use color as your primary element, a logo can look completely different in another tone which means that if you decide to change color, you will most likely want to change the complete design.
To avoid all these unnecessary steps focus on lines, shapes, and text.
Which color should you choose?
One of the first rules you need to bear in mind when deciding to make your own logo from scratch is that the color of the logo has to ability to “bring your design to life” which makes it an essential element.
To help you choose the right color we asked Marko to explain this process a bit.
Marko mentioned that it’s not an easy task to do especially since “in recent years we have all seen a saturation of every possible color you can pick out from the color spectrum”. Marko, then, added that some shades have marked specific industry fields, emphasizing the fact that blue logos are the choice of major IT companies like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, Dropbox, and Vimeo.
So, how can you choose the right color? Marko had a straightforward answer to this question: every logo design should start in monochrome, the same it did when you sketched it on a piece of paper.
If you want to make your own logo from scratch my advice is to work out the concept/idea and form, including the style and usability. These elements will help you choose the right color. From that point on, try to think of the color as an element that can accent your brand’s field of work and push it closer to its target audience. For example, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when we make a green logo for a client that is an agricultural company. When a spectator sees a green leaf and text next to it, he/she will automatically assume that it’s something related to nature. That all being said, you have to know that the same color used for another field of work could make some wrongful assumptions in viewers’ minds which causes the confusion. If you are not sure what I mean, check out Syngenta and Cropp’s logos.
To make sure everything is clear when it comes to picking the right color, we asked Marko to explain what happens when the majority of the companies have logos in just one color (like the example he gave you with the IT companies). Should you choose a different color or should you try to “blend in”?
Marko’s answer was:
I believe it is all about how you brand your company. Let’s take previously mentioned companies as an example. As you probably know, these brands are all in the same industry but are recognizable enough so you won’t mix them up. If you are trying to build a strong brand (which you probably are), there is no need to differentiate through color. Color is an important element of logo design but keep in mind that you can change it at any time. In the past century, for example, there was a study that showed that people associated red color with red meat. Soon enough, this color was proclaimed as “the color of hunger”, and every major fast food chains switched to this in their logo designs. So, to answer your question: I believe that you should do what feels the most natural to you.
Tip 10: Logo visibility
There’s more to creating an icon than just choosing the right font or color. You must think of multiple ways you will use it.
Ivan mentioned that you are probably not going to use it just as a logo on your site. Potentially, you’ll also need to make it work as a favicon (a shortcut icon, bookmark icon, tab icon or an URL icon), an avatar or even as an app icon. In some cases, your logo might end up printed on a truck or a pen. Who knows?
No matter the case, you have to think about all the ways you are going to want to use your logo when you are designing it.
Tip 11: It’s time to get digital
Once you have a few logos drawn, choose up to five and start sketching them in software.
To do so, we would advise you to use professionals tools, like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Boxy SVG or Inkscape. Before you jump on your feet, keep in mind that we are aware that these tools are not that easy to use but bear with us for just a minute.
Disclaimer: Themes Kingdom team is not affiliated with any of the mentioned software nor do we make a commission if you end up purchasing mentioned tools through referral links in this blog post. We simply wanted to name some tools we consider you can get a benefit from if you decide to make your own logo from scratch.
The reason why we advised you to use the previously mentioned tools is vector graphic. Unlike raster graphic, a vector graphic is the one element that ensures your logo is consistent across multiple mediums. Why is this so important? Because once you zoom in your logo, you won’t be able to see pixels, just straight lines. As Ivan mentioned, if you are going to use the logo in just one form (on a T-shirt, on a pen) you can use raster (bitmap) editors (like Adobe Photoshop), but if you are looking to use it in print and web you have to do it right and that’s what vector logo is for.
We are not gonna lie ー these there is definitely a learning curve to all these tools, but, in the end, using them will definitely pay off.
Tip 12: Do a t-shirt test
We are stepping from the digital world into the real one.
As Marko mentioned, one of the best tips when creating a logo design is always to do a t-shirt test.
When it comes to designing a visual identity such as logo, you should always consider making a t-shirt test. During the past 15 years I’ve worked as a designer, I made sure that every logo I designed passed this test. The logic behind it is that if it looks good on a t-shirt, the logo will “age well” and therefore last longer (without the need to do a redesign),
Tip 13: If you want to make your own logo from scratch, remember there is no such thing as perfection
In the end, Marko added that you shouldn’t wait until you have “the perfect logo” because the truth is that in your eyes it will never be perfect.
As we mentioned before, when you decide to make your own logo from scratch, you can really get inside your head. To avoid this, Marko suggested:
There’s always plenty of room to make adjustments. In the end, you’ll wind up going through the same stuff all over again. It’s exhausting and unnecessary.
So, the last tip our designers can give you is: don’t strive for perfection. There is no such thing.
Tip 14: Evaluation
Aaaand, this is the last step of your journey how to make your own logo from scratch.
All that is left to do is to evaluate your work.
As we mentioned before, two minds are always better than one. So, let your judges be your friends and family.
Now, before you run off to show them your work, remember one more thing. Your friends and family are only there to point out some obvious “mistakes” like a typo or the icon and text ratio not being optimal. Nothing else. So, if you get a dozen suggestions to change some parts “just a little bit” ignore them entirely and listen to your gut. Unfortunately, people can get very opinionated especially when it comes to things they don’t have a clue about.
Are you ready to make your own logo from scratch?
Well, after all these tips, you better be!
Let’s sum up all the previously mentioned tips:
- Use the Four Ws.
- Do some thorough research.
- Decide what your logo form is going to be.
- Draw until your hands fall off.
- Stick to the KISS rule.
- Don’t stop at the first idea that pops to your head and don’t steal other people’s designs.
- Choose the right font and color.
- Use professional tools to create a logo and keep in mind that a logo has to look good as a favicon, app icon, etc.
- Do a t-shirt test.
- Remember there is no such thing as “the perfect logo”.
- Evaluate your work.
What tip did you like the most? Is there any tip you would like to add? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section down below.