Wander around a Disney theme park, and you might come across hidden Mickeys: the company’s iconic three-circle mouse-head logo cleverly integrated into design elements like tiling, ironwork, and paving stones. Once you’ve seen one hidden Mickey, you’ll start to notice them everywhere.
A good logo works the same way. Once you see a good logo, it’s hard not to recognize it everywhere. That’s the immediate power of a great logo design. Logos grant instant brand recognition. Here are logo design ideas to help make your company emblem unforgettable to customers.
Why are logo designs important?
A good logo is a powerful tool to convey your business’s values, aesthetics, and character at a glance to a wide array of potential customers. Logos communicate across platforms and media and help distinguish your brand from others, setting you apart from the field and creating a lasting, recognizable impression for your customers.
Here are a few key benefits an inspiredbrand identity can provide:
- Brand recognition. Logos are memorable and help your customers spot your company, even amid a crowded industry. A consistent and striking logo, thus, is a foundation for brand recognition.
- Good first impression. Logos can give an immediate sense of your brand’s aesthetic, feel, and temperament.
- Trust and credibility. Logos give a sense of professionalism and a coherent, thoughtful approach to your company and its public presentation.
- Consistency. A great logo is versatile and can work everywhere, from a business card to an Instagram post to a storefront display. Logos help keep a clear identity throughout all manifestations of your brand.
Logo design ideas
- Try text-only logos
- Combine different typefaces
- Incorporate simple graphics
- Layer text over images
- Use a single image or icon
- Limit your color palette
Great logos are often simple, but many decisions go into creating even the most basic-looking designs. There are infinite ways to blend text and images, colors, and fonts to create an impactful, singular icon. Here are a few logo design ideas to help get you thinking about the right look for your own logo and brand identity:
Try text-only logos
Text-only logos—also called logotypes or wordmarks—are great opportunities to play with fonts—styles of characters. Each font conveys its own set of connotations. Think of the modernist grace of Futura and Helvetica, or the staid, journalistic weight of serifed type like Times New Roman. Hand-drawn fonts can give your logo a personal touch and show your unique style.
Stick with one or two typefaces, and have fun playing with type effects like repetition, motion blur, or three-dimensional shading.
Combine different typefaces
Combining distinct typefaces creates a hierarchy of meanings and can help convey different layers of information about your brand. Play with contrasting colors and line weights of typefaces to ensure each layer is readable. Type effects like pattern fills (using patterns or images to color in boldface type), drop shadows (adding a three-dimensional effect), and bevelling (another 3D effect often used in classic academic logos to mimic stone carving) can help further distinguish one font from another.
Secondhand clothing retailer Goodfair uses a bold script font for its company name and a subtler sans-serif font underneath for its motto.
Incorporate simple graphics
Incorporate simple graphics into a type-based logo to add another layer of meaning. You can modify letter shapes to represent objects related to your brand, or you might shape the company name into a recognizable image, silhouette, or even gesture. Legibility is key here, so make sure your brand name is clear.
Layer text over images
Layering text over images is a classic approach used in monograms and emblems. This technique can lend a time-honored sense of gravitas to your brand, or it can make your brand name pop when paired with a striking image. Make the text simple enough to be legible over the image beneath. A basic, solid-color background can help silhouette your brand name and make it pop.
For example, Kylie Cosmetics uses a logo that pairs an arresting image with the overlaid brand name.
Use a single image or icon
Some logos are as simple as a single image, a product icon, a brand mascot, or something abstract but gestural and significant to the company’s aesthetic sensibility and values.
An example of this is grooming products company Beardbrand, which incorporates an image of a beard into its minimalist logo.
Limit your color palette
Many successful logos use only one or two colors. These might become part of your brand's style guide and inform other design decisions like website graphics, social media post templates, and letterheads.
Some impactful logos are only one color—or even just black and white. This can help with scalability and versatility. A simple, clear, single-color design is easy to translate across many different platforms and even onto physical media and merchandise. Black-and-white designs lend themselves well to quick and easy branding opportunities like rubber stamps for packaging and cost-effective print jobs for one- or two-color t-shirts, stationery, or other swag.
Death Wish Coffee is an example of a brand that uses a straightforward black-and-white logo with a red accent to catch the eye.
Logo design tips
With so many different cool logo ideas to choose from, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Before starting a logo design journey, know your brand—not just your aesthetics and design sensibility but your values, mission, and overall vibe. Play with word clouds and mood boards; study your market for potential trends to follow or avoid; free-write or sketch potential logos, and ask for input from friends and coworkers.
Choose the right font
Typefaces can be wonderfully complex, with the slightest variations making powerful changes in meaning and appearance. Different types have different connotations, from the modernist simplicity of sans serifs to the academic heft of beveled type.
Pay attention to negative space
Some of the most recognizable logos use negative space to add layers of meaning. Think about the arrow in the FedEx logotype or the peacock silhouette in the NBC logo.
A good logo is a good logo anywhere—on an Instagram post, in an email signature, in a window display, or on a billboard. Think about how your logo will look in all sizes. Will it stay legible? Do the individual elements pop or blend together?
Great logos are simple and versatile and can tell your brand's story across a wide array of formats.
What are the best logo design tools?
Here are some of the top software options for creating your logo design:
- Shopify’s free logo maker. The logo maker is a free tool that guides you through the logodesign process with a series of questions about your aesthetic and design preferences, your business and audience, and the kinds of places you'll be using the logo.
- Canva. Canva has a collection of logo templates. Browse or use search terms to narrow the results and find a basic form to get you started. Once you choose a template, you can customize your text, logo colors, and shapes. Canva also makes it easy to collaborate on your project with friends, team members, and other designers.
- LogoMakr. LogoMakr starts with icons and graphics, not templates, and lets you mix and match different images and shapes to create your own custom logo.
- Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is a professional tool for more advanced users. Illustrator is the industry standard, allowing for total customization and ground-up, endlessly scalable vector designs.
Logo design FAQ
What makes a good logo?
A good logo should be simple but strategic in its messaging. Balance legibility with meaning. Great logos share these in common:
- Simplicity. Is it instantly recognizable?
- Scalability. Does it translate to different media and platforms?
- Story. Does it convey some larger truth about your brand?
- Staying power. Is it timeless or trendy?
Can you design a logo yourself?
Yes. Designing your logo involves self-reflection and creativity, but can be rewarding. Start by researching the current landscape. Consider what resonates with you and your customers. Sketch some potential ideas, and use an online logo design tool to refine your concepts.
What is the golden rule of logo design?
The golden rule of logo design is distinctiveness. You need a logo that sets your brand apart from the competition, catches your target consumer’s eye, and perfectly encapsulates your brand. Try starting with your company’s unique value proposition, and use it as a jumping off point for creating a logo that is just as unique.