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The basic principles of logo design

Although a logo might take up a limited amount of real estate on your client’s website, it still plays a key role in any online branding effort. Other than being an aesthetic visual that adds to the site’s overall appearance, a logo should reflect the essence of the company’s character. It will likely end up being used across all online and offline assets, from business cards to billboards (depending on your client), which is precisely why it’s such an important factor to get right.

While your speciality lies in web design, your clients may require you to design a logo for their site. Whether or not you have experience in this particular field, the same basic principles should be used in any logo design process. You can apply them to your favorite online logo generator, the Wix Logo Maker, or the many editing softwares available, if you’re creating one from scratch. Whichever path you choose, here are the 10 logo design principles to keep in mind.

01. Keep it simple

When it comes to logo design, simplicity is the name of the game - both in terms of style and concept. Once you have a clear image of your client’s brand and their key messaging, develop logo ideas that will communicate an immediate and accurate sense of the brand. You can achieve this by sticking to one concept that encapsulates and reflects the brand’s tone of voice. A clean design without too many intricate details will also help make the logo more memorable.

02. Take scalability into account

In this case, size really does matter. If you’ve stuck to the guidelines above on simplicity, there’s a high chance that your logo will work well in all dimensions, whether viewed on a desktop screen, mobile, canvas tote bag, or even on the side of a 20-story building. With an increasing amount of Internet traffic coming from smartphones, perfecting your mobile design is crucial. So, how can you cater to all these needs? Other than keeping the design simple, make sure to use a vector-based program. This way, you can easily adapt your logo to the required size and avoid the (somewhat trendy if done on purpose) pixelated look. If you’re using the Wix Logo Maker, you’ll get a preview of your logo on a website, on desktop and mobile. In addition, you’ll receive high quality SVG vector files of your completed logo, to print or apply anywhere, in any size.

03. Avoid being too literal

When it comes to actually finding which icon or visual to use in the logo, think outside the box. Instead of creating an icon or simplified image illustrating what your client’s brand does, your design should reflect the vibe they want to give off. You can achieve this by implementing a more conceptual approach and thinking of the logo as a symbol, rather than a picture. Consider Apple’s logo - although they’re a super high tech company, the logo doesn’t depict wires, code and other electronic components whose names we’re not aware of. Instead, it’s a clean, simple and approachable design that’s aligned with all their other (beloved) products.

04. Use a grid for spot-on composition

As a designer, it’s likely that your relationship with grids started a while back - which means that you’re probably well aware of the wonders that a simple grid can do for your composition. If you’re using the Wix Logo Maker, rest assured that the generated logos will be automatically aligned. However, when customizing them, or creating your own logo from scratch, work according to a grid. This will help you maintain equal spaces between the icon and the text, and add structure to your design - ultimately resulting in a more visually appealing and harmonic look. You should also use a grid when designing the icon itself. The grid can simply be constructed of a few horizontal and vertical lines, or basic geometric shapes, that act as guidelines. See how Wix user and logo designer George Bokhua sketches out grids beforehand, resulting in precise and meticulously crafted logos.

05. Use colors to evoke the right emotions

We all know the importance color plays in any design. But when it comes to logos, we often end up associating a specific brand with the colors used in their logo. How do the colors used in some of the world’s most iconic logo designs make you feel? Don’t underestimate the power of getting the hue just right. For example, LinkedIn, who has even named their specific shade of blue “LinkedIn blue,” uses color to successfully convey a sense of reliability and professionality. Although your client may have already provided you with a color scheme to match their brand, if you’re choosing the palette from scratch, take into account color psychology. While it differs from person-to-person, most of us make specific connections, like associating red with urgency or boldness, yellow with vitality and green with growth and development. Read more about color psychology here.

06. Incorporate a tagline

In the same way that you distill your brand’s look and feel into a simple image, do the same textually, by adding a tagline (a.k.a. slogan). It should be short and catchy, only a few words long, and provide some extra information on your client’s brand. When it comes to implementing the logo on your client’s website, a logo with a tagline may end up looking too busy in the header. However, you should create a few different versions that can be applied in various situations. Consider how a logo with more text could be highly valuable on a business card, while for a profile pic, your client may want to drop the extra text.

07. Balance your name and tagline

If you’re incorporating both the brand’s name and tagline in the logo, make sure that they work well with one another visually. They don’t necessarily have to be in the same font, but generally, they should both be aligned to the same direction: center, left or right. Otherwise, they’ll appear unbalanced and incohesive - which is the last thing you want your logo to be. Fortunately, the Wix Logo Maker gives you the option to add a tagline and customize its design, by editing its font, size, and kerning.

08. Play around with typography

As well as choosing a font that suits the brand’s character, why not take it a step further? Experiment with handwritten fonts that can give a personal touch and contrast with the website’s otherwise clean design, like on illustrator Miranda Sofroniou’s Wix website. You can also break the rules by placing individual letters at different levels, creating a clean and edgy look. Explore overlapping text, or layering text over shapes, while making sure to keep it legible. Another aspect to consider is whether you want to use caps or small letters and once again, decide this in accordance with the brand’s look and feel. See how Hints of Gray has used small letters in their Wix website’s logo to create a cute and quirky vibe.

09. Ensure readability

One of the main aims of a logo is to stand out and get noticed. That’s why it should always be readable, no matter if it’s seen on the header of your client’s website or at the bottom of an email. Make sure your text isn’t too small by checking the logo on various devices, as well as verifying that it works well as a profile picture on various social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook.

10. Give your background contrast

On a similar note, what good is a beautiful logo with legible text if it can’t be seen? Although you may prefer to go for a transparent background for your logo, if you choose a specific color, make sure to provide a high enough contrast to make it pop out. You can play around with predefined color palettes on the Wix Logo Maker, or create your own. If your background is transparent, consider how the color of the logo will work when placed on your client’s website. Art director and digital artist Daniel Aristizabal’s white logo really stands out on the homepage of his Wix website, thanks to the black background. The various colored backgrounds on some of his inner project pages means that the logo comes in and out of sight, adding a tasteful touch of playfulness.


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