How to make a good logo: Tips and suitable software

The company logo is one of the most important components of corporate design. It’s the public image of a company or organisation. It is therefore vital to allocate ample time to perfecting the design, including the layout, colour scheme and font selection. When it comes to creating a business logo, it’s essential to have appropriate photo editing software that can facilitate its conversion to a digital format.

Why is designing a business logo important?

Many (aspiring) self-employed individuals wonder about how to create a logo for their business. And rightly so, because a logo determines how a brand is perceived. Not only does it serve as a concise element in advertising campaigns and brochures, it also plays a vital role in showcasing products and services. Furthermore, the logo can be incorporated into your email signature.

Tip

Find out how to optimise your email signature with helpful examples in our Digital Guide.

A brand’s logo has a significant impact on how the brand is perceived by the public. Those who have had positive experiences with a brand often associate those favourable feelings with the corresponding logo as part of emotional branding.

An appropriate logo holds significant value for every company. Designing a logo for a startup can present a unique challenge, as it’s essential to create a positive first impression. It’s crucial to consider the characteristics that your logo should embody and determine its final appearance. The logo must be created and ready for use before the brand launch to effectively carry out brand building.

In addition to a high-quality logo, a business also needs a website to showcase its products and services. If you lack the necessary expertise to build such a website, we recommend the IONOS Website Design Service.

Designing your corporate website and online presence is a complex process. Using a style guide can be incredibly helpful in ensuring that your website is both consistent and tailored to your target audience. A style guide is a valuable tool for building a website that is designed with your audience in mind. Creating a style guide for a website is as easy as 1-2-3 using our tips.

How to create your own logo in 6 steps

At its core, the principle of logo design is straightforward: a logo should convey the essence of what a brand represents. Regardless of whether you’re creating a logo for a large corporation, a small business or a product line, there are always distinctive characteristics that can be incorporated into the design. This can be achieved by combining letters and visual elements to create a unique image. A logo can consist of one or more alphabetical characters and/or various visual elements, with the colour scheme playing a critical role in establishing recognition value.

Tip

Start with your company name to come up with ideas for your logo. If you have yet to choose a company name, the linked guide can help you. Find out more about creative company names and how to check availability for your company name in our dedicated guides.

Remember to register your company name. This includes securing the right domain. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s best to check your domain and secure your company address.

Domain Check
  • .com
  • .co.uk
  • .org

Want to create a company logo? Our tips below will help you. We explain step by step what’s important when designing your logo.

Step 1: Do extensive brainstorming

If you have not yet considered the concept of corporate identity, it is crucial to do so, especially in the lead-up to designing your logo. Conducting a brainstorming session can be helpful in defining your company’s story, identifying its core values, and determining what sets it apart from competitors. All of these factors can be incorporated into your logo design, though some may require a more subtle approach or be perceptible only upon a closer examination.

Once you have a clear understanding of your company’s story and values, it’s essential to identify the terms that best describe your corporate identity. To accomplish this, it can be helpful to jot down buzzwords that come to mind. Additionally, you can use synonym dictionaries like Woxikon or Thesaurus for additional inspiration. You may be surprised at the number of synonymous terms that can be found using such platforms.

Step 2: Create first sketches

With a clear understanding of your company’s identity, you can begin sketching some initial logo ideas. It’s essential not to put too much pressure on yourself during this process, as few good ideas are created within just a few minutes. If your initial ideas don’t meet your expectations, don’t despair. Instead, use those drafts as a foundation for further ideas and iterations.

When working on your initial logo drafts, it is essential to consider the perspective of your target audience. Determine the priorities of the group of people you are targeting and tailor your design accordingly. Furthermore, remember the oft-quoted maxim that “less is more.” Simplicity is key when it comes to the form and individual elements of a logo design. It is not necessary to decide on the colour scheme for your logo at this stage, but it can be useful to jot down some initial ideas. Below, we provide some tips on selecting the colour scheme for a business logo.

Step 3: Get initial feedback and optimise your sketches

Once you have several sketches that you’re relatively satisfied with, it’s essential to gather feedback from trusted colleagues, friends and other individuals within your circle. Select your top five sketches and share them, requesting honest and, if necessary, critical feedback. Use this feedback to continue optimising your logo designs until you arrive at the final design that best represents your company’s identity.

Step 4: Design a catchy logo

After creating your initial sketches, it’s time to explore and identify a suitable layout for your logo. However, designing a catchy company logo that effectively conveys your brand’s story can be a challenging task. To overcome initial difficulties, it can be helpful to consider the logo designs of style icons and those of your competitors. This can provide inspiration while also helping you to avoid creating a logo that is too similar to that of a competitor.

Note

Did you know that you can legally protect your logo with a design patent? Similar to a patent, this protects your logo against improper use or imitation by third parties.

When creating a logo, it’s important not to solely focus on the aesthetic appeal of the design. In addition to pure aesthetics, there are other crucial aspects of logo design to consider. For example, it’s essential to avoid a cluttered appearance. While small details that are visible only upon closer examination may be appropriate in some cases, it’s crucial to limit their use.

Ideally, a logo should be:

  • relatable (the connection to the product, brand or company is comprehensible)
  • distinctive (the brand should be associated with the logo)
  • memorable (a basic minimalist design is usually better than one that’s too detailed)
  • reproducible (a digital logo with a high resolution can be used across various industries and the logo size can be adjusted quickly)

Symbols and stylised objects can play an important role in logo design. Examples include the Microsoft Windows window, the WWF’s panda bear, and Nike’s iconic swoosh. Some logos do not incorporate any letters or the brand name, such as Apple’s eponymous apple symbol. However, not all brands rely on figurative elements to convey their name or industry, as in the case of Apple.

Tip

The article “Branding: How effective are the best-known logos” presents valuable research and inspiration on the key elements of a successful logo design. For further insights on the characteristics of logos, colour schemes and corporate designs in general, we recommend our article on how design and colour scheme impact web design.

Step 5: Choose your logo colours carefully

The colour of a logo can be used to evoke associations to a brand. Some companies have successfully established a strong connection between their brand or products and specific colour combinations. For instance, the Google Chrome logo utilises red, yellow, green, and blue, while Microsoft incorporates a similar colour scheme but with different shapes (squares versus circles).

Many brands rely on classic colours to establish a strong visual identity. For example, Facebook’s logo is dominated by blue, while YouTube’s logo is primarily red. These colours are often utilised across their respective web presences and marketing efforts. While the colour choice for some logos may appear arbitrary at first glance, it’s not always as straightforward as the fire department using red or Greenpeace incorporating green in their logo designs.

In many cases, obvious associations between a particular colour and industry are not possible or necessary. When selecting colours for a logo, there are a variety of options available. However, it is crucial to ensure that the colour scheme aligns with the overall image and identity of the brand. Additionally, it may be helpful to consider current colour trends as part of your decision-making process.

When using multiple colours in a logo design, it’s important to consider the effect that the combination will have. Utilising the classic colour wheel can provide clarity on the resulting impact of colour combinations. Complementary colours, which are located opposite each other on the colour wheel, create a dynamic effect. Analogous colours, which are located adjacent or near each other on the colour wheel, create a harmonious effect.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that selecting a colour for your logo is a long-term decision. It’s uncommon to make changes to the colour scheme of a logo, except under exceptional circumstances. Your target audience tends to associate a brand with a particular colour scheme, and rebranding is typically a costly and time-consuming process.

Examples of known logos
Many logos of well-known brands are simple but have a high recognition value.

Step 6: Decide on a font

While image elements are an essential aspect of logo design, typography can also play a crucial role in creating a distinctive logo. The selection of fonts, including font size, character and line spacing, and arrangement of characters, is crucial in creating a successful logo. It is essential to keep in mind that your logo will be utilised in a variety of sizes, and the chosen font should be easily recognisable at all sizes. For more guidance on responsive web design and fonts, see our article on the topic.

Note

To use web fonts or other free fonts, you’ll first need to find out whether they’re actually free to use commercially. Consider whether widely used fonts fit your brand message or whether you might need a custom font.

You can combine characters with structuring image elements such as frames or shading. This can help accentuate certain areas and personalise the design further. Examples of successful logos that utilise image elements include the Samsung logo, which has been in use since 1993 and frames the brand name with an ellipse, and Volkswagen’s trademark, which utilises a circle to frame the company abbreviation “VW”.

Food manufacturer logos often do not directly illustrate their products due to the diversity of their product ranges. Instead, they visually support the brand name, as seen with Nestle. The font selection alone can reflect brand characteristics and convey strong branding. For example, until 1985, Walt Disney Pictures utilised a simple typeface with playful typography that evoked the studio’s animated films.

Tip

A favicon (a combination of “favourite” and “icon”) is a valuable asset for enhancing the recognition value of a business. This is a small logo typically measuring 16 × 16 or 32 × 32 pixels that’s displayed in the browser window next to the tab bar and within the bookmarks list. Using the IONOS Favicon Generator, you can easily create your own miniature icons.

Premium tool recommendations and tips for designing a logo

Various graphics programs are suitable for creating a logo. However, one important question when choosing the right software should be clarified in advance, namely, whether the desired logo format can be generated with the corresponding tool and whether the logo should be created as a vector graphic or as a pixel or raster graphic.

Vector graphics are generally quicker and easier to edit than raster graphics. Raster graphics are not easily scalable and are only appropriate for small formats. However, raster graphics are useful for displaying complex image content.

Tip

Our comparison on pixel graphics vs. vector graphics can be a helpful reference when deciding between the two formats.

Below we introduce four premium solutions. Free programs and a detailed comparison are available in our article on logo design software.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a well-known and classic raster graphics program. Extensive training is required to use the numerous and sometimes complex features effectively. However, once users become familiar with the tool, they can benefit from its wide range of features. Photoshop’s extensive range of drawing tools is ideal for creating detailed designs.

Costs:

  • Annual subscription approx. £248.88 or £19.97 per month
  • Free trial version for 7 days
Tip

Find out all about Adobe Photoshop alternatives in our Digital Guide.

Adobe Illustrator

If you prefer to create your logo as a vector graphic, Adobe Illustrator is an excellent solution. The tool includes a full suite of drawing and editing tools and is compatible with all major logo formats, including PDF, SVG, and EPS. If you haven’t worked with Illustrator before, you’ll need to invest some time in learning how to use it.

Costs:

  • Annual subscription approx. £248.88 or £19.97 per month
  • Approx. £31.49 per month (without subscription)
  • Free trial version for 7 days

CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW boasts a large selection of features and effects, which you can use to create visually appealing logos. Previous knowledge of graphic design is a must when using this software. With the LiveSketch tool, manual sketches can be converted into vector graphics and used for logo development. Unfortunately, the tool isn’t compatible with all the common industry standard formats.

Costs:

  • Graphics Suite: One-time purchase approx. £659.00 (version 2023)
  • Starter offer Graphics Suite 2022: £319.00 annually or around £26.58 monthly
  • Free trial version for 15 days

Looka

Wondering how to make a logo without prior design knowledge? Looka may be the answer. The platform is comparatively cheap but offers auser-friendly design. You can easily create your vector-based logo using a questionnaire and AI features. Advanced graphic design skills aren’t necessary. This means less effort is required. However, automated processes may result in designs lacking originality.

Costs:

  • Brand Kit with licensing rights to logos: approx. £84.00 annually
  • Brand Kit Web with licensing rights and AI-generated website: approx. £156.00 annually
  • Logo Basic only: one-time purchase approx. £15.00 (1 low-resolution file)
  • Logo Premium only: one-time purchase approx. £50.00 (several file types possible)
  • Logo design for testing: free of charge (download of logo file with costs)
Tip

Trying to figure out how to make a logo for free without programming knowledge? With the Logo Generator from IONOS, you can create your logo in just a few steps. Give it a go!

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