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What Makes a Good Logo? 7 Top Logo Design Tips & Guidelines

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Read Time: 13 min

Good logos aren’t made in heaven. Though it would be nice if they were, and if they rained down on every newbie designer who sat scratching their head trying to figure out how to make a good logo. But that’s not how great logos are born. 

If you’re new to design and have the task of creating a logo for a business, a product or an organisation, this article will help you to identify what good logo design looks like, how to come up with a logo, and share some logo design tricks to help speed up the logo making process. In this tutorial, I'll share the logo guidelines along with examples of each guideline from Envato's Placeit Logo Maker.

Types of Logos

Before we get into what makes good logos, it’s worth taking some time to define what a logo is. A logo is essentially a symbol that helps identify and promote a business, product, organisation, etc.

Logos come in three basic forms:

  1. the abstract symbol, e.g. the Nike swoosh 
  2. the illustrative symbol that indicates exactly what the company does, e.g. a vacuum cleaner for a house-cleaning service 
  3. the font-based logo, e.g. Coca Cola 

Most companies that use an abstract or illustrative symbol tend to combine their chosen symbol with a font-based logo that makes their logo much easier to remember, especially in the early days before their logo becomes recognisable on its own. 

7 Tips for Creating a Logo

So now I’m going to kill two birds with one stone. I’m going to give you my best logo making tips with examples of good logo design from Placeit Logo Maker, so you’ll understand both theoretically and visually what makes good logos. 

By the way, these logo design tips apply to all types of logos and all types of businesses, products and organisations that would use logos. 

1. Keep It Simple 

Simplicity is everything when it comes to great logos. A simple logo is easy to recognise and remember, and easy to use on a variety of merchandise:

simple logo designsimple logo designsimple logo design
Coffee Brand Logo Maker

2. Make It Memorable

Your logo is an introduction to your brand, so it needs to identify and differentiate your brand from others, capture your audience’s attention, and leave a positive and lasting impression. This is why great logos are also quite memorable:

memorable logo designmemorable logo designmemorable logo design
Builders Logo Maker

3. Choose Your Colours Thoughtfully

Colour plays a big part in good logo design. It catches the eye, evokes emotions, and conveys messages. So, it’s important to think about what you want to communicate with selected colours when coming up with your logo design ideas. Here's an example of colours that work well together:

logo design colourslogo design colourslogo design colours
Gift Logo Maker

4. Approach Trends Cautiously

You want your logo to stand the test of time, so avoid being so trendy that your design looks dated 10 or 50 years after you’ve created it. Here's a timeless logo design example:

logo design trendslogo design trendslogo design trends
Men's Hair Salon Logo Maker

5. Make It Relevant

Use colours, fonts and graphics that reflect the image you want your company to convey. You ensure that your logo is relevant when it gives viewers a good idea of what your business is all about:

logo design relevancelogo design relevancelogo design relevance
Clothing Logo Maker for Kids

6. Make It Versatile

Logos need to work across a variety of media, so you should be able to scale them down or up and use them in print or on the web, without them losing their distinctive quality. Here's a good logo design that's also versatile:

versatile logo designversatile logo designversatile logo design
Logo Maker for Online Bookstore

7. Use Online Resources and Tools

You don’t have to break the bank or reinvent the wheel to create a great logo. There are useful online tools like Placeit’s Logo Maker to help you make great logos. Placeit’s Logo Maker is free and easy to use, though you’ll pay a small fee to download your high-quality logo creations: 

Placeits Logo MakerPlaceits Logo MakerPlaceits Logo Maker
Placeit’s Logo Maker has a ton of great logos.

7 Logo Design Guidelines

Now that we’ve covered the seven attributes of good logo design, let’s look at how to make a good logo. Bear in mind that this isn't an exhaustive list of tips for creating a logo, but I've found that these logo guidelines make it easier for novices to get into designing their own logos and moving from not knowing where to start to a finished design. 

1. Clarify Your Logo Design Ideas

The first step you need to take is to start generating logo ideas. 

Start with a clean sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. In the first column, write adjectives that describe your brand and the benefits it offers. Think of words like:

  • modern
  • fun
  • lively
  • healthy
  • calming
  • wholesome
  • reliable
  • funky
  • and so on

Let yourself free associate to come up with logo ideas.

Move on to the second column and write a list or sketch symbols you think best capture your brand and the benefits it offers. They could be abstract or literal, representing an idea or an object. Again, let yourself free associate. Nothing is off limits at this point.

Next, pull out your paints, coloured pencils or pens and in the third column on the same sheet of paper create some colour swatches that reflect the adjectives you used in the first column. For example, if you wrote fun and lively, then select colours you associate with being fun and lively. Likewise, if you wrote adjectives like calming and wholesome, select colours you associate with those adjectives.  

Take a 15-minute break and then return to your list. 

Circle up to three adjectives from the first column that you think best describe your brand. Circle up to three symbols from column two that you best feel represent your brand, and finally from column three circle two colours you believe best represent your brand.

Colour in design is a huge topic, but for now here’s how to think about using colour in good logo design. Whichever colour you’ve chosen as the main colour for your logo, your secondary colour should either be a complementary colour or an analogous colour. 

Note: Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are complementary colours, e.g. blue and orange, while colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel are analogous colours

Use complementary colours if you used adjectives like lively and vibrant to describe your brand, and use analogous colours if you used adjectives like serene, calm, or harmonious. Colours like black, white, grey and brown can work well with both complementary and analogous colours. 

2. Study Other Logos for Inspiration

Now, you’re going to learn your own logo design tips from observation. Look up the logos of successful brands that you like, and ask yourself:

  • What type of logo is it? An abstract symbol, an illustrative symbol, a font-based logo, or a combination of symbol and font?
  • If the logo is a combination of symbol and font, how do the two work together? Does one frame the other in some way? Are they overlapping, stacked, or adjacent?
  • Is the logo memorable? If so, what colours, fonts or graphics are used to make the logo stand out?
  • What do the combination of colours, fonts and/or graphics communicate about the brand? Fun, stability, innovation, or something else?
  • Is the logo relevant to what the organisation or company does?

What logo design tips have you learnt purely by observing great logos? How can you incorporate the best qualities or ideas from these brands into your own design?

3. Navigate to & Sign Up for FREE!

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. We’re going to play with the Logo Maker at Placeit. A logo maker is a fun, hands-on, low-stress way for design novices to try out various logo ideas, get familiar with making design decisions, and understand how a logo is put together. 

Placeit Logo MakerPlaceit Logo MakerPlaceit Logo Maker
The Logo Maker at Placeit is a great (and fun) way to design logos quickly.

4. Browse the Logo Templates 

Enter the name of the person, business, product or organisation you’re creating the logo for and search for the appropriate industry by clicking the dropdown menu in the search bar that says All Industries

Say you are creating a logo for a clothing company called The CoatHanger. Just type the name in the bar and select clothing brand from the drop-down menu. All the templates designed specifically for clothing companies will appear with the name The CoatHanger on them. 

Browse the templates and select the one that most appeals to you. Don’t worry about colours or fonts at this time—just look at overall design.

5. Open the Logo Maker 

When you click on your chosen template, it'll open up in the Logo Maker. For my example, I chose the Fashion Stylist Logo Maker (no longer available) template shown here:

Fashion Stylist Logo MakerFashion Stylist Logo MakerFashion Stylist Logo Maker
The Fashion Stylist Logo Maker is a good basis for us to create a logo for the purposes of this tutorial.

6. Customise Your Logo Template

You can now customise your logo template as much or as little as you like, based on the adjectives and colours your identified in Clarify Your Logo Design Ideas. The adjectives I’m using for this clothing business are ‘feminine’, ‘modern’, and ‘chic’. 

You can start anywhere, but let’s start with the controls on the right and work from the bottom up. First, we'll choose our background colour. Refer to Clarify Your Logo Design Ideas. What colours have you chosen for your logo? This is a good time to try them out to see which you like. You can use the colour picker to try different shades of your chosen colours until you find one that resonates. If the background isn’t going to be a part of your logo design, then make it white or transparent. For my example, I changed the colour of the background to a lavender hue that I consider quite feminine: 

Fashion Stylist Logo Maker lavendarFashion Stylist Logo Maker lavendarFashion Stylist Logo Maker lavendar
The Fashion Stylist Logo Maker with different colours.

Move up from the background setting, browse the graphics and looked for one that comes closest to your ideas from Clarify Your Logo Design Ideas. Bear in mind that you may find a graphic that's nothing like the ones you circled, but works even better than they do for your logo. That's what happened with my example—I was looking for a coat caught in the wind, but I found a great hanger graphic which I felt captured my adjective ‘chic’: 

logo design graphicslogo design graphicslogo design graphics
The Fashion Stylist Logo Maker with a different graphic.

The graphic came in quite small on my design, so I clicked on it and dragged it to a size I thought worked best. This brings me to another great feature of the Logo Maker—you can rearrange and resize any of the items, and if you don’t like what you’ve done, you can hit the reset layout button found on the upper right of your logo design and start again. 

Finally, choose a colour for your icon. If you’ve chosen to go with a white or transparent background, now is the time to choose your main colour for your graphic. I chose white because I wanted my graphic to stand out against the lavender background:

white logo graphicwhite logo graphicwhite logo graphic
As you can see, a white graphic stands out against the lavender background.

Now move to the controls on the left and work from top to bottom. Here you can add text and change the font style and colour. Experiment with the fonts available until you find one you believe best represents your adjectives from Clarify Your Logo Ideas. In my example, I decided to keep the existing font that came with this template because I thought it represented my adjective ‘modern’ without being too cold, but I changed the colours. Next, I added the tagline “Fashion and Style” under the name of the business and changed the font and its colour:

logo colour and tagline changeslogo colour and tagline changeslogo colour and tagline changes
Experimenting with font colour and the tagline.

Many novices think that experienced designers sit down and come up with tons of logo design ideas and hit the right design in one sitting. This just isn't the case. Good designs evolve from experimentation, patience, and practice. So don’t get frustrated if your design doesn’t quite work the first time. The beauty of a logo maker and these logo guidelines is that you can play around as much as you like until you come up with a good design that works for you. Just hit reset and start again when you get stuck. This is an alternative design I came up with by moving things around and changing the background colours: 

alternative logo design ideaalternative logo design ideaalternative logo design idea
Here's another logo variation based on the Fashion Stylist Logo Maker.

Here’s an important logo design trick. If you get really frustrated and your design is going nowhere, move on. If you scroll down the page, you’ll see more logo ideas. You’ll see your selected colours and fonts applied to different logo styles, or you can try one of the terrific presets that offer even more logo design ideas: 

Fashion Stylist Logo Make presetsFashion Stylist Logo Make presetsFashion Stylist Logo Make presets
The logo templates come with presets to help you with your design.

Here's another option I tried. 

other good logo design optionsother good logo design optionsother good logo design options
Seamstress Logo Design Template

Best of all, as you design your logo, you can make use of the state-of-the-art mockup tool at the bottom of the page, that shows your logo in a range of real-life scenarios.  

logo design visualisation baglogo design visualisation baglogo design visualisation bag
Paper Bag Mockup of a Woman Holding a Shopping Bag

7. Review & Download 

Once you’ve completed your customisations and are satisfied with your design, hit the download button at the top of the screen and download your design for a small fee. If you want to get into logo design long-term, then the monthly plan may be the best deal for you. With it you can create and download as many designs as you like, print them, and live with them a bit before you decide which one really works for you.  

logo design visualisation signlogo design visualisation signlogo design visualisation sign
Round Sign Mockup Hanging from Outside a Store

How to Make a Good Logo With Envato Elements

We’re not quite done with the logo making tips yet. As terrific as the Placeit’s logo maker is, it isn’t the only option for creating great logos. If you've got a bit of experience working with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, then Envato Elements has tons of great templates to help you create logos as well. 

How to Make a Good Logo With Envato ElementsHow to Make a Good Logo With Envato ElementsHow to Make a Good Logo With Envato Elements
Envato Elements has thousands of logo templates available.

Now, let's take a closer look at some log design templates on Envato Elements:

1. Fashion Logo Template

For example, I found this logo template which could be used as an alternative to the logo I designed for the clothing business example mentioned above. It has a clean, modern design, and the files are .eps and easy to edit with your own details.

Fashion Logo Template

2. Ateh: Negative Space Plane Logo

This is a beautiful logo for a company in the airline or travel industries. The template is a customisable eps file, which uses organised layers to make it easy to change colours, shapes, texts, font types, positions and sizes easily without decreasing the resolution quality.

Ateh : Negative Space Plane Logo

3. Datawave Logo Template

This template is versatile enough to be used for a variety of businesses or organisations. The template comes in five colour variations packaged in ai and eps files, both of which are completely customisable.

Datawave Logo Template

These are just a few of the many great logo templates available at Envato Elements, and you can download as many as you want for one low monthly price. 

Design Your Own Logo Today

Learning how to make a logo from scratch is quite challenging, but with the help of these logo guidelines and the tools at your disposal like the logo maker from Placeit and the ready-made templates at Envato Elements, you’ll never need to ponder how to come up with a good logo design again. 

Follow these logo making tips, check out the templates, and let us know in the comments below when you’ve made the perfect logo for your needs and which of the tools you used. We’d love to hear from you.

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