Please Note: This article was originally published in August, 2012. Occasionally we re-publish articles that we feel are still relevant, and interesting for our readers.
1. Use a Visual Double Entendre
Some of my favorite logos in the world utilize a technique that I like to call a visual double entendre, which is an overly fancy way to say that it has two pictures wrapped into one through clever interpretation of a concept or idea.
2. Color is Vitally Important
One of the most important considerations for logo design is the color palette. This is not a superficial decision, color carries meanings and communicates ideas.
The colors here grab you and pull you in, they bring life to the illustration and give further context to the shape of the landscape. That being said, remember that a good logo is versatile and will still function well in grayscale.
Beyond a grayscale version, I like to also provide clients with a true single color version, using only black and negative space. This would be a little tricky with the logo above, but definitely possible.
Always consider what it is that the logo will be used for and whether or not the various use cases require different versions.
3. Avoid the Cliché
Every few years or so, some new fads come along in logo design. I personally love to study design trends and you might even find me suggesting jumping onto a few bandwagons to keep up with the times, but with logos I just hate it when a bunch of designers use the same idea over and over.
The basic archetype above is being used again and again in logo design right now and it’s getting old fast. Why not use a design that you actually thought up yourself rather than ripping off what everyone else is doing?
4. Make it Ownable
I don’t believe that “ownable” is a real word, but you nevertheless hear it quite a bit in marketing (marketers love to make up words). The concept is definitely an important one that ties closely to the previous tip.
Rather than following the herd and using a cliché design, you should instead strive for something that is uniquely recognizable. I’ve always appreciated the Evernote logo in this regard.
It’s really just an elephant head, which doesn’t sound like a very unique concept. However, the way it’s drawn with the curled trunk and page fold in the ear makes it instantly recognizable.
As you’re designing logos, consider whether or not your design is generic or unique. Is it likely that others will produce something similar? Remember, your first idea is typically your most generic (it’s also everyone else’s first idea). Try filling a notebook page or two with some rough sketches before choosing which ideas to pursue further.
5. Everybody Loves Custom Type
While we’re on the subject of being unique, there’s almost nothing that can give your logo a unique feel quite like some awesome custom lettering.
Too often we see logo design as simply a trip to the font menu to see which typeface makes the company name look best. If someone is paying you to “design” their logo, they probably expect you to put a little more effort into it.
Custom type helps ensure that your unique logo will stay that way. Lowlife designers will rip off your work in a heartbeat if they discover which typeface you’re using, but it takes some real skill to mimic custom hand-drawn type!