Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials for Great Logo Design

Although logo design is primarily a graphic designer’s job, web designers often find many clients who’s project description is somewhere along the lines of  “I need a web design, XHTML/CSS included, and a logo design for my business.”

As website designers, though, we may not have really ever studied logo design, or at least not extensively. Most of us know just enough to get by.

However, logo design is really a technical process, that requires quite a bit of design knowledge, and an effective use of design principles.

If we as web designers can “get by” though, why focus on bettering our logo design skills? Well for one, you can actually make a better living for your time:

How much should you charge for logo design?

“Hey, I’ve been in your same situation…

It depends a lot on your skill, and the process you will go through to design the logo. If you are following professional procedure and coming up with logo comps, then developing a few, and having them pick and finalize one you can charge more than if you just draw up a logo, make it vector and send it over.

If you’re good and going to go all out making a strong, brand-able logo for their company you can charge as much as $500 or more. Since you are fresh to the field you may want to charge $350-400.

If this is a quick job and they don’t care much for branding or following procedure, you’re probably looking at anything between $80-200 depending on how much you value your own work.

Never listen to the “This will be good for your resume, so do it for us cheap!” line.

Some good reading for freelance information is freelanceswitch.com (and no, I am not associated with them). It’s in my RSS reader and I’ve found it to be a very valuable resource when trying to figure out what to charge or how to handle different types of clients.

Good luck! Never undervalue your work.”

A great answer from a simple Yahoo question. You can read more of the discussion, and find more of the same advice by clicking on the question above. Hopefully I’ve convinced you to take a look at a few of these tips and resources below.

Logo Design: 101 – Link

Here is an older article I wrote on Webitect covering the basics of Logo design. If you’re just starting out, this is an excellent resource.

“Logo design is an essential skill for any web designer to know, whether you sell designs professionally or just maintain your own website. It’s a great branding tool, and a great way for visitors to remember your website, or your client’s website.

I always seem to find two flaws relating to logos when web designers are just starting out. The first (and the worst) is when an aspiring professional designer does not understand the importance of a logo. Any client is going to want a logo implemented into their design, and it’s important to understand a logo’s great impact nonetheless. The second is when a new web designer tries to make a logo, but it’s not really a logo. It’s a banner, a header, or just an image.”

I see since changing my theme awhile back that some of the images are misaligned and wrongly situated in the post. Until I eventually get that fixed, please ignore it and really take in the content at hand.

Some of the items the article discusses in terms of logo design are: simplicity, contrast, interesting and appropriate use of typography, how and when to use images appropriately, and finally, how to test a logo for effectiveness. Check out the article here.

If You Already Have Experience

So you already have some experience in logo design, whether it be through previous clients, your own brand, or you’ve just read the article above. However, I’m guessing your not the greatest logo designer yet. That’s acceptable, as any new type of design takes time to really perfect and learn correctly. Here are a few more tips:

Always Use a Vector Program, Like Illustrator

That’s really a piece of “Logo 101″ material, but I think I failed to mention it way back when. A logo should be easily alterable for reproduction. A logo may be used in many different sizes, in many different locations, and for both web and print. It is important to accommodate the logo design with it’s needs.

Don’t Be Afraid of a Bit of Polish

Logo Design 101 stresses simplicity, but keep in mind that that means to not add small detailed graphics and wacky fonts. A bit of polish, however, doesn’t have to be considered “busy” but can rather bring a logo to life. Try some subtle gradients, textures, shadows, or strokes. As long as it’s relatively subtle, and also compliments the identity’s goals, it can work out great.

Create Something Unique Out of Something Ordinary

One way to create added interest is to take a logo in it’s simplest form, and modify it. A great example of this is to spell out the company’s name, or initials, and recreate the font to add more detail.

IBM

For example, the IBM logo is simply the letters “IBM”. Because of it’s simplicity, it is one of the most effective logos there is. However, instead of leaving the letters as is, the designer chose to subtract horizontal lines evenly throughout the three letters for more interest.

Understand Logo Trends

While logos should essentially be timeless, following trends can both better sell a logo to a client, and make you more aware of the changing technologies and best practices.

A great showcase of logo design trends for this year is over at LogoOrange.com: Logo Design & Branding Trends 2009.

I love the intro for this article above , it really says it all:

“To stand out and be refreshingly different at whatever cost – that’s the message we’re getting from today’s logos. From an identity point of view, web 2.0 logos failed miserably. They may not be around for too long. Copycat websites may still work, but when it comes to identities, designers will have to roll up their sleeves and work much harder.

Designers have become far more aware and sensitive to design history movements and styles than they were in previous years. They are discovering ways to make logos reflect their roots.

Minimalism was a strong anchor for swooshes, sparkling little balls and other accidental manifestations. But we’re witnessing a fading out of minimalism, and this weakness is paving the way for spectacular remixes to take over.

A particular style can’t emerge and expect to stay at the top indefinitely. Developments in logo design indicate that trends have a short lifespan, going through a “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t” kind of roller coaster.

New trends emerge only to be contradicted by others that go the opposite direction.

After the proliferation of “bastard” icons, the new logos are harder to reproduce given their solid sense of originality and craftsmanship.

2009 ushers in something new, something experimental, something outrageous. More will be the new less. Strong visibility and passion are the dictating themes.”

Learn from Tutorials

Besides studying trends, techniques and the science behind great logo design directly, there are also a number of tutorials for logo design. What’s great about these is one can learn to techniques in Illustrator and similar programs, but also learn new design processes for effective logo creation.

There is a popular post over at Smashing Magazine that showcases many logo design tutorials, as well as a large list of other logo design articles that are incredibly helpful. I strongly suggest everyone check some of them out: 60+ Beautiful Logo Design Tutorials And Resources

I’ve also included some below that I’ve gone through and are a few of my own favorites:

Logo Design Project Step by Step Walkthrough

“A personal project I’m currently working on with a developer friend is a website called myNiteLife. As part of the overall design process one of the first jobs of the project was to develop a logo and brand for the website, follow this step by step documentation of the whole process of the logo design from conception to completion.”

MyNiteLife

Design a Print-Ready Beer Label in Adobe Illustrator

“Alright folks, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get down to business with this full-featured Adobe illustrator CS3 tutorial. This one takes you from setup to production of a really cool beer label, although this could be useful for any bottled concoction of your choosing.

We get to cover all kinds of useful Tools like Type On A Path, Live Trace, and the Opacity Mask. My buddy brewed his own beer and I made him labels using this technique, and they were an instant hit! I’m very happy to show you how it’s done.”

Vector Tuts

Dache: Logo Design Process

“Last year, I was approached by a startup who required a logo in order to launch a business in the US. The WebMYnd team were 3 MIT and Cambridge University graduates who were very passionate about their product. They had acquired seed funding from ycombinator an outfit which picks enterprises to back and who have an excellent track record. WebMYnd have a product which is a plugin for your browser that turns your web browsing into an extension of your own memory. it allows you to keep a copy of everything you look at on the web, and then allows you to search actual page images and text when you need to remember something again.”

Dache

Logo Design Process Tutorial

“One of the main aspects of the branding process includes logo development. Your logo, or brand mark, in other words, needs to reflect your brand accurately, as it will play a huge role in your brand recognition. This however doesn’t mean that the branding process ends when you’ve developed your logo, branding takes a lot of time, commitment, managing skills and finally, the ability to reflect the image you want others to have of you and your business

This tutorial is intended to benefit both our potential clients, so they can have a fully comprehensive overview of our logo design process and methods; and many of our users, interested in the process of designing and developing a logo.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’re going to design and develop a logo for an imaginary company, called “LTD”, short from Logo Tutorial by DryIcons.”

Dry Icons

Step-by-step logo

“I don’t know about you but I love to see examples of how other designers work—they reveal better (or worse) ways of doing things and allow me to gauge whether my methods are mainstream or totally whacked-out. “If anyone finds out how I obsess about this stuff,” I tell myself, “they’ll stick me in a home.”

The problem is that step-by-step examples are rare. Why? Mainly because unless you are interested in sharing such information, there isn’t much reason for recording it. And even if you are, detailing the steps can get in the way of the process. If I’m ready to move to the next stage of an idea, I am normally not interested in recording what I’ve done to get there.”

Idea Book

Written By Kayla

Kayla Knight is a 20 year old college student, part-time web developer, freelancer, and blogger. Webitect is where she spends too much of her freetime, sharing interesting finds and valuable resources. Be sure to check out her portfolio.

10 Comments

  1. Ash Mashhadi (@inspirationguy)

    September 6th, 2009 at 04:28 pm

    Another great post, Kayla. Keep up the good work.

  2. Nick Parsons

    September 6th, 2009 at 07:12 pm

    Thanks so much, Kayla. This is one area I’m really looking to learn more about. I like the thought of the extra income opportunities from logo design, and I also think this is a skill that can make a web designer look more professional and accomplished. Thanks again for this great list of tips and tutorials!

  3. Giselle

    September 13th, 2009 at 08:11 pm

    Thanks for this article! I found it very useful :)

  4. imrozz . web design uk

    September 29th, 2010 at 01:00 am

    You have written a very informative post about logo design tips. I came across your blog via google.com by searching for logo design ideas and relevant information. I have bookmarked your site and sent the link to some of my colleagues are will also find that useful.

  5. mauritius holidays

    September 29th, 2010 at 01:02 am

    its a nice post about logo design. thank you.

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    January 27th, 2011 at 05:37 am

    I found this post very informative. Thanks for good work.

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    October 6th, 2011 at 06:09 am

    This is really a good article.Very useful an informative.Thank you for sharing.

  8. fd

    October 21st, 2011 at 06:47 am

    dsf

  9. Jitender Kumar

    October 21st, 2011 at 06:49 am

    This is really a good article.

  10. Alexander Romanovich

    September 8th, 2012 at 08:47 am

    Great post about what to think about when designing a logo design.

    Thanks :)

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