Have you ever wanted a logo, but thought it was only for larger companies with bigger budgets? What if I told you it is easier and less expensive than you think to develop one? I’ll show you how to get a professional logo designed for $129 or less and develop your brand identity.
Why do you need one?
A logo and consistent use of colors and typeface will help your audience recognize and remember your brand, you you’ll stand out. It reinforces the image you want to project and helps you gain credibility through a consistent, professional look.
What’s in a brand identity packet?
The brand identity packet consists of A color palette, typography, logo and visual design elements. We’ll go through each in this post.
Once you’ve selected all of these pieces you can use them in everything you use to identify you and your business like business cards, stationery or letterhead, brochures, your website design or Facebook cover image.
What image do you want to project?
First, let’s start with some of the qualities you want your brand to project. Write down everything that comes to mind that you want someone to associate you with: fun, whimsical, serious, corporate, relaxed, wild, feminine, masculine, modern, traditional, creative, trustworthy, cutting edge, reliable, etc.
What qualities are important or appeal to your target audience?
Select fonts or typeface (I use these words interchangeably, but they mean the same thing) that evoke these qualities.
I like to use the GoogleFonts tool. It’s free.
You can browse by categories according to your style and preview them using your name or even a paragraph of text that your website. You can see what they look like in bold and caps. I love this tool because they are web friendly fonts. A web designer can access these fonts and use them on on your website.
Serif fonts are fonts embellished with a small decorative line; Times Roman is an example. Whereas San Serif (without serifs) does not have the embellishment; Helvetica is an example of a San Serif font. San Serif typeface tend to look modern, some Serif fonts more traditional. Script styles can project various images; romantic, whimsical, funny, personable, depending on the font style. Keep in mind that many script fonts can be a little harder to read, so use them judiciously. For instance, don’t write paragraphs in script font. You may want to experiment with combining different font styles, maybe highlighting some words in bold.
Canva offers free tutorials on how different typefaces work together. Canva is a free design tool that helps you create high quality, professional, interesting images without having to learn PhotoShop or hire a designer to do small, simple design tasks.
Next, choose a color pallet. There’s an art and science to this.
Find color combinations that work well together, with hue and saturation levels that compliment each other. I use a free tool at Adobe Color. You can find hundreds of pre-selected color pallets to give you ideas for color combos.
Your pallet should include one or two bold colors you can use to make text stand out and one or two lighter colors to contrast or use as background colors.
Another major benefit of using Adobe Color is that if you hover your mouse over the color it will display the hexadecimal value of the color. In layman’s terms, this is the color that is communicated to a web browser to display a specific color. It’s like the name of that color.
For instance, If you tell a graphic designer you want to use the color blue, which blue are you talking about? Royal blue, navy, teal? By locating the color and providing her with the hexadecimal value of the color, you can get exactly what you want.
Canva also has free tool to help you select a color palette.
Your logo can be as simple as your name in a specific font. With the GoogleFonts tool you can see a preview of your name, a word, a sentence or even an entire paragraph in any of their fonts.
If you want to include a symbol or image, a very inexpensive way to get a lot of logo concepts is through 48 Hours Logo or 99 Designs. This service posts your project as a contest so graphic designers enter their designs for a chance to win a cash prize. 48 Hours Logo charges $99 as the minimum prize (plus a 29 listing fee), whereas 99 Designs starts at $299. 99 Designs promises a minimum participation of about 30 designers, and I’ve heard the quality level of designers is a little better, but in my experience, I was impressed with the results I received from my 48 Hours Logo projects.
How to start a logo design project contest.
These contest sites operate similarly, so I’ll take you through my process when I used 48 Hours Logo to create my personal brand logo. 99 Designs is even easier.
- Click “Start A Project,” enter your business name and info, then select a logo style.
- Then choose examples of logos you like that are similar to the look and feel you’re trying to achieve.
- Select your industry and colors. If you have the hexadecimal name of your colors, enter them in the “Ideas and Concepts” field. In “Ideas and Concepts,” explain the look and feel you want to project. Corporate, creative, bold, feminine, funny, etc. I tend not to be too specific or give an example at this stage because you want to get as many different ideas as possible. Sometimes what I end up choosing is very different than what I thought I wanted. Designers are very creative, so allow them the freedom to use their imagination.
- Select the prize amount and any other add-ons. I like to guarantee the prize because you’ll get better entries.
- You should start to see logo concepts in just a few hours. Wait till you have at least a dozen or more designs before commenting and providing feedback. Don’t rate designs until you’re near the end of the contest. You want the designers to provide you with as much variety as possible. To keep designers motivated and get a logo design you’re happy with, you need to provide continuous feedback throughout the contest period. Plan to check in at least a couple times a day to add comments.
- The feedback you provide will either motivate or bum these designers out. Always focus on the positive and what you want to see more of. No one likes negative criticism, so keep your comments constructive and positive. Start all comments off with a positive statement: “Thank you,” “great job on these initial concepts,” or “very impressed with your work so far.”Then call out a few designs you like and what you like about them. For example, “I like the modern look of #5,” “I like the image and use of color in #2,” or “#12 is very close to the look and feel I’m trying to achieve.” Don’t point out designs you don’t like. These designers are volunteering their time for free for you. Don’t subject them to judgement and criticism.At this stage, your goal is simply to get as many options you like as possible. At the end of the contest, when you select a winner, you can work with the designer to fine tune the elements of the design.
- At the end of the contest, select a winner and thank everyone for participating. If a designer didn’t win, but went the extra mile during the contest, it’s nice to gift them a $5 tip. You can do this on the contest page. After fine tuning your design, the designer will provide you with the design in several file formats (pdf, jpeg, ai). Later, if you ever want to edit or alter the design, change colors, you can send a graphic designer the .ai files to edit.
It’s a nice touch to embellish PowerPoint slides or printed materials with decorative details. Perhaps a nice border or special icon for bulleted lists. Keep these consistent and use the same details across all your materials.
The Continuity Document
To stay organized, I keep everything in a Google Slides doc so I can refer to it easily or share it out. I prefer Google Slides to PowerPoint because you can access all the GoogleFonts and create custom colors. Plus, it’s free; all you need is to sign up with a google (or gmail) account.
Access all GoogleFonts in the font drop down menu and search for fonts.
Enter your hexadecimal color here.
Access all GoogleFonts from your font drop down menu here.
Choose your logo.
A good logo is simple and recognizable. The simpler and easier to read, the better.
Not sure which logo to go with? Ask around. Narrow down your choices and post them on your Facebook wall and ask your friends to vote. You want your logo to appeal to your target audience, so take this into consideration when you’re counting the votes.
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