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How to develop a Logo

By: Avinash Narula

Let’s first discuss how one can get good logos designed. Before I go into the steps that we follow for designing logos, I must say that you need to hire a professional designer to do so. It could be your advertising agency or a professional specializing in designing of logos. Let’s assume that you have hired one. Now let me list some of the steps that we take while designing of logos which is what you can try and get done with your designer.

1. Brainstorm with the agency/designer as to what the logo should represent.
2. Ask the agency to prepare different logo design options. Logo design options can be prepared based on the following:

(a) The business of the company
(b) The initials of the company or brand name
(c) The complete name of the brand or company
(d) The benefit(s) to the customer from the brand or products of the company
(e) The meaning of the brand or the company name
(f) Unrelated symbol

3. Also, ask the designer to give the different design options in different color combinations. This step will allow you to see a wide range of options both in design and color combinations. You can select one or two or you can ask the agency to prepare a logo by combining part of one logo with a part or whole of another. Or you can ask them to design some more. In any case, you will have to ultimately zero in on one or two designs.

4. After you have zeroed in on one or two designs, ask your designer to show you the design in some different color combinations. If you have liked some color combination(s) that the designer has shown you before, let him know. You can also suggest additional color combinations that you prefer. The selection of the color(s) can sometimes be determined by the nature of business you are in. For instance, we designed a logo for a company dealing in blood purifying equipment. The color preferred by the client was blood red. Another one of our clients was dealing in safety equipment. We were told that one of the colors had to be green which symbolizes safety.

5. Now you have to finally decide which logo with which color combination to go for. However, before you finally make your decision you should consider the following factors:

(a) The color scheme of your logo should not have a light and a dark color. Such a combination creates a problem while designing other advertising and promotional materials. For instance, if you choose a dark background, say for an advertisement, the dark color of your logo will not stand out. If you choose a light colored background then the light color of the logo will have poor visibility. We have come across a few such logos which are a designer’s nightmare. Of course, this is not to say that logos can’t be designed with a light and dark color. However, the logo has to be designed in a manner that both colors standout without restricting your choice of background colors too much.

(b) The proportion of the logo should be such that when the size is reduced, the written matter is readable. I have come across logos (one of them for a very well known multinational company) which when reduced in size made the brand and the written matter very small and illegible.

(c) The logo should also be designed in a manner that it can be reduced to a small size and still be visible, distinctive, legible and recognizable. Logos are used in all kinds of places and in different sizes. The relative horizontal and vertical proportion is very important. Logos should not be disproportionately vertical or horizontal. Remember logos will have to be reduced or increased in size diagonally. This means that when you increase or decrease the size of the logo, both the width and height of the logo will be affected. As such, if the logo’s width or the height is disproportionate, you will face a problem in using the logo in some circumstances or it will take up a lot of space resulting in higher costs. Also, in certain applications you may not be able to use the logo at all. The logo of the multinational company that I talked about earlier could not be effectively used in a classified advertisement because it was horizontally disproportionate. When we reduced it in size to fit in one newspaper column, it was as good as not having it there because the matter in the logo was not legible.

6. It may not be a bad idea that before finally deciding on the logo design to ask your advertising agency to design some stationary items like letterheads and visiting cards using the logo that you have zeroed on. I have observed that for some reason most of my clients for whom I have designed a logo feel more comfortable in deciding upon the logo design once they have seen it used in office stationary items. I think they feel that if the letterheads and visiting cards look good with the logo, then the logo will look good everywhere. My experience suggests that they are probably right.

Once the logo is finalized, its design, proportion and colors should be standardized so that wherever the logo is printed, it appears in the same color and proportion worldwide. The CMYK color combination of the logo is also specified. Since a logo is one of the most important elements in building up the brand image and recognition, some companies even specify how much white space needs to be left around the logo. Even the placement of the logo in different types of printed material of the company can be specified as some companies do. This information becomes part of the corporate identification program.

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