1. Identify Your Target Market
“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.” – Paula Scher
This is probably the most important consideration when conceptualising a solid logo idea. Your logo needs to appeal to your target market. It cannot appeal to everybody, this is not possible in the world of logo’s, even the most famous brands in the world still have logo haters.
Think of your ideal customer. What does he/she like? What appeals to him? Where does he go? Where does he work? What would make him take notice of your logo? Once you understand your ideal customer, you can continue conceptualising with him or her in mind.
2. SWOT Analysis
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. This is a simple tool to analyze any business at a glance. Consider each of the aforementioned aspects of your business and bear them in mind when designing your logo.
Ideally you want your logo to highlight your strengths, conceal your weaknesses, advance your opportunities and respond to the threats to your business.
3. Determine your Brand Presence
Another crucial step in determining the direction of your logo design. Spend 15-20 minutes listing keywords that you think represent your business, or you would like your business to reflect. Some examples are: Clean, Classy, Smart, Quirky, Mainstream, Exciting, Vibrant
You need to create your logo so that it reflects those keywords. If you have a long list, select 3-5 of the most important ones and use those.
4. Know your Competitors
Whenever we look for inspiration, we always take a peek at competitors logos and logos within our industry, perhaps from other parts in the world, this can sometimes invigorate ideas, it can also have a detrimental effect if your logo is too close to your competitors.
After spying on your competition, what do you like about their logos? What do you dislike? You can incorporate ideas that you have picked up on, and avoid the pitfalls of the logos which you have seen.
Think out of the box by using the inspiration from your competition and creating something that is better!
5. Adaptations of your Business Name
One of the primary techniques when creating logos is to create a unique symbol which reflects your business name or initials thereof. This way, you end up with something unique and it is representative of your business.
Doing this is not as easy as just throwing some letters together and BAM! you have a logo, it doesn’t work like that, it will take careful consideration of typography design etc to come up with an original idea to match your business.
6. Unique Symbols
A prime example of this type of logo design is the Apple Logo.
Another technique in logo design, and probably the best technique, is to create a unique symbol/icon to represent your business. This symbol would derive from your keywords as well as your business location, purpose, services etc.
This is probably the most difficult type of logo to create, but if you get it right, it’s a winner! The symbol should be simple enough to make it recognisable and have influence with your target market.
7. Hidden Symbolism
Logos with hidden symbolism are difficult to conceptualise yet hugely rewarding and provoke an awesome response from viewers who have just “caught on” to the hidden meaning of the logo.
Hidden symbolism usually involves playing around with the typography/letters in your business name or using your symbol/icon and typography to get the hidden message across.
The easily recognisable FedEx logo sports a “hidden” arrow symbolising their core business (exports). Had you picked up on this before?
The Amazon logo, in all it’s simplicity, is one of my favourites. The yellow “smile” which symbolizes a satisfied customer doubles up as an arrow from the “A” to the “Z” in the word Amazon, representing their supply of products from A to Z! Clever, yes?
8. Using a Unique Character
The option is to create a character to represent your brand and business can also be extremely rewarding. This character should be representative of the descriptive words you created and should appeal to your ideal customer. You want to make sure the character is also easily recognisable and unique!
Example of logos in this category is KFC’s Colonel.
9. General Colour Scheme
The last thing to consider when conceptualising a logo is the general colour scheme of your logo. I suggest no more than 3 main colours (though there are exceptions). In case you didn’t know, different colours tend to have different effects on the subconscious of the viewer.
“Never fall in love with an idea. They’re whores. If the one you’re with isn’t doing the job, there’s always, always, always another.” – Chip Kidd