Scenario: You decide you want to start your own blog and business, you come up with a name and start getting super excited about this endeavor. There are so many ideas and possibilities and you want to get started right away and then you realize you need a logo. Uh-oh, I don’t know anything about designing a logo and I don’t have the money to pay a designer. What do I do?
Does this sound like you? I have seen this happen more times than I can count and you have come to the right place. I am going to walk you through how to design a good logo that will get you started until you can invest in an real logo. I’m also going to explain some key features that your logo needs to have when designing.
(SIDE NOTE: We believe that when you have the money to invest in a logo and branding, then you should hire a professional to do so but until then, this post should help).
option #1: use premade logos
I can’t stress this enough, I highly suggest using premade logos for when you are starting out. If you have a small budget of $10-$50 then I would suggest using a premade logo from places such as Creative Market, Etsy, or our Brand Blitz shop. These premade logos will give you a professional looking design with very little effort while providing you with the proper formats and saving you money. You will most likely need an editing tool such as Photoshop or Illustrator to make the changes or a majority of artists on Etsy will make the edits for you for an extra charge. If you download something from Creative Market or our shop and need help editing the files, I offer this service to help you edit the files.
Always remember, that design is not a business expense, it is a business investment.
As a designer, I will ONLY use Illustrator for creating my logos, because you want your logo to be vector so that you can scale it to any size so it will keep it’s quality no matter what size.
option #2: use a logo generator
There are websites that help you create logos. We tried out a few of the logo generators and while we aren’t the biggest fans of this option, we found that Squarespace’s logo generator was actually the easiest to use and if you’re looking for something simple and quick, it could work for you. It is free to make your logo and it cost $10 for the high resolution logo which you will need for your business.
option #3: create your own logo
The other option is if you have absolutely zero dollars for spending on a logo then the rest of this post will be helpful. This is an option that I suggest for those who just need something to get their blog or business started.
Before you start creating your logo, you will need to know what makes a good logo.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD LOGO?
I see new business owners and bloggers DIY their own logos all the time and most of the time I see the same mistakes over and over. Most DIYers are not designers and don’t know some of the basic design skills which is totally understandable but that in return that makes their logos and blog headers look unprofessional or look like they were DIYed. We want to make sure that your logo looks awesome so here are some basic design principles that you should follow when designing your logo.
A logo needs to be simple & scalable, appropriate, memoriable, and timeless.
SIMPLE AND SCALABLE:
When designing your logo, make your logo as simple as possible. I can’t stress this one enough. Simple logos are more effective and memorable. Most people want to put all of their ideas and skills into one tiny little logo and this is the opposite of what you want to do. I always see logos that have so much going on that it is hard to read the actual name and it causes many distractions. The other issue is that you will be using this logo in many different sizes, so if you have a really complicated logo and shrink it down to fit on something small like a business card or an Instagram watermark, your logo still needs to be legible. If there is a lot going on in your logo then it won’t look good scaled down.
Also, it should be noted that your logo should be a vector which can be achieved using illustrator. If a logo is vectorized it means that it will not get pixelated even if you stretch your logo to the size of a billboard. If you create a logo in Photoshop or Canva, you will have to create it at the size that you are going to need it. For example, if you are creating a 6 foot banner of your logo then you will need to create your logo at that size. If you create a logo in Illustrator, you can scale it up to any size and it won’t lose any resolution, it won’t be pixelated or distorted. However, Canva and Photoshop “rasterize” your artwork and shouldn’t be scaled larger than their original size.
Make sure that your logo is appealing to your target audience. The fonts, colors, and icons that you use to design your logo all need to appeal to your target audience. Pink and handwritten fonts are more likely to appeal to women than to men. Older women are usually interested in different designs then young females. Keep your target audience in mind when designing.
I think this is where people might try too hard with their logos. They want to design this perfect little gem so it is memorable but it backfires because they complicate the logo. Making a logo can be memorable because of a simple icon or a clever play on the words. McDonalds has the Golden Arches and Apple well has an Apple, and that makes it memorable for someone. Remember that a logo doesn’t have to be complicated to be memorable. Certain colors or certain fonts can even make your logo memorable.
This principle is more focused on the longevity of your logo. Don’t design a logo that is only trendy now. Design a logo that will last without having to be updated all of the time to stay on top of the trends. Rebranding is most likely going to happen as your business grows but you shouldn’t be changing your logo every couple of months to keep up with the trends. This is another reason that a simple logo is best because simple logos are more timeless (i.e. Nike, Apple, Coca Cola.)
Applying Those Principles
• Be very selective if you want a handwritten font. They can be hard to read and hard to scale down. We have handwriting in our logo so we made sure that if we have to scale down our logo we have a simple version that can be used so it is still legible.
• Try not to use more than two fonts. Using too many fonts can cause clutter and confusion and lack of cohesiveness. Instead you can use one font and use the different weights to make them bold or thin and this will create contrast but also stay cohesive.
• The fonts you choose are extremely important as well, make sure you are pairing fonts properly.
• Make sure that the fonts you are choosing appeal to your target audience. If you are targeting kids, a more playful font would work, if you are targeting woman, a script or handwritten font can be acceptable, If you are a corporate company, a sans-serif font would be appropriate. The fonts you use can change the look and feel of a logo.
• Design your logo in black and white before adding color to it. Color should be one of the last steps. You need to make sure that the logo will look good in black and white because sometimes color won’t always be an option.
• Limit the number of colors you use to 1-2 colors
• Make sure you understand color psychology when choosing colors.
• Spacing | Make sure the spacing of your fonts is spacious and equal. Let the text “breathe.”
• Make sure it fits in horizontal and vertical spaces. You can also choose to create alternative logos that are similar to your main logo but are adjusted to fit different spaces better.
• A logo doesn’t have to be a blog header. You can create a blog header separately and add more of a design to it.
• If you have no design skills at all and no budget then I suggest just creating a typography logo, typed out in a simple font and that’s it. A simple minimalist logo will get you a lot further than a poorly designed logo.
• If you are going to be using fonts for Illustrator or Photoshop, make sure to read the licensing agreements. Most fonts on sites such as dafont.com are free for personal use but not commercial use. If you start a blog that you monetize or start a business then that would mean you are using fonts for commercial use and will possibly need to purchase the font’s commercial license.
• If you have access to Illustrator, then create your logo in Adobe Illustrator so that it will be a vector image and not a raster image.
Programs to create your logo for free:
Disclaimer: I create all my logos in Adobe Illustrator. While the program isn’t free which is why I don’t have it listed below, they do have a 30 day free trial. So if you have a little bit more time to learn illustrator, want complete control over your design, then I would suggest downloading the free 30 day trial which you can get here: Adobe Illustrator Free Trial
• Preferred program to use
• Creates vector file so you can pass on to a designer or printer later on if you need to.
• It is easy to use. It’s like a simple version of Adobe Illustrator.
• You can use their fonts and they even have some icons that you can use for free.
• Completely Free
• You can only use the fonts they provide. (There are a lot to choose from so it shouldn’t be an issue).
What I like about Canva is that it makes it really to use for anyone to edit or create their own designs. I love the simplicity and their designs are usually pretty good. The issue for creating your logo in Canva is that you can’t save the file as a transparent png without “Canva for Work” and that is a paid feature. If you are going to be using this logo for your website or overlaying a photo, you’re going to need the transparent background. The other thing is you don’t get to download the native file where you would be able to edit the logo elsewhere. For example, if you decide to hire a designer and you want to send them your logo, it will be a flattened image and they won’t be able to resize or edit the logo accordingly. So Canva can be great for many project, I just don’t think you should be using it for your logo.
Google Draw is completely free and it allows you to scale your logo and download with a transparent background. It also is integrated with Google Fonts so you can use any of their fonts too. The one thing that I don’t like about Google Draw is that you have to build from nothing and that part can be daunting for people.
Here are the steps to using Google Draw:
For Google Drawings, as long as you have a google account, you can go to your Google Drive and access Google Drawings. Click on NEW and it will give you a dropdown that says “Folder”, “Create a doc”, “spreadsheet”, etc.. click on “More” and then you will see Google Drawings.
1. When you begin, you should decide what size you need your logo to be. I am going to create it in a rectangle of 750px x 500px, but create your dimensions accordingly to your needs. To change your page size go to File> Page Setup> Custom and then enter your dimensions.
TIP: Because Google Drawings is going to give you a raster image at the end, you want to make sure you design it either for the exact size that you will need it, or larger. That way, if you scale it down, you won’t lose quality. However, if you make it 200px x 200px and scale it to 1000px x 1000px, then your image is going to look blurry and pixelated so it is better to make your artwork larger.
2. I’m going to start with the text. The great thing about Google Drawings is that it gives you the whole Google Font Library. In order to access more fonts you click on the drop down for fonts and scroll down and it will say “more fonts”. Then you can select which Fonts you want to add or remove.
You should experiment and try different variations of text. Remember contrast of fonts is a good thing. One thing to try to the same font but different “weights”. Or pairing a Serif font with a Sans Serif. I suggest making your first logo a text-based logo. You can always add an icon as you learn more about the programs but don’t get stuck on this step.
3. If you want to add colors to your logo this would be the step to do so. Once you are satisfied with your new logo I would save it as a .PNG and a .SVG. The png will give you a transparent background so you can place it on your website and the .svg will give you a vector file which can come in handy later on.
SQUARESPACE LOGO MAKER
Squarespace offers a free logo maker that makes it easy to add your business name and an icon. You can get the large transparent logo for free if you are already using Squarespace or it is only $10 if you are not a Squarespace user.
The process to create your logo for free:
- Browse other logos to get an idea of what you like. Pinterest and Dribbble are my favorite sources for this step. Make sure you only use these as ideas and not copying them directly.
- If you want to create a mood board you could do that at this step so that the logo and the rest of your branding will be cohesive with the mood board.
- You might want to sketch out some ideas on paper first. This will help you get your ideas out quickly and not waste time trying to perfect them digitally. Once you find one that you like than you can create it on the computer.
- You can use Canva, Google Draw, Vecteezy Editor, or even Squarespace to create your logos for free. Canva has some templates that are free so I would stick to one of those if you don’t have a budget. Canva has strict guidelines on what you can and cannot do with the art that you create from Canva so be sure to check those out before using the logo where you shouldn’t. My biggest issue with Canva is that you can’t download your art with a transparent background without having to upgrade your account. You do not want to have a logo with a white square around it and place that on top of a colored background.
- The easiest and fastest way for your to get started it so create your logo just out of text. Start with a simple font and just type out your logo. Keep looking through fonts until you find one
that fits your needs. Some of these programs include icons if you want your logo to have an icon as well.
For this tutorial we are going to use www.vectr.com to create the logo. This website is almost like a free version of Adobe Illustrator and it will allow for transparent backgrounds and your logo will be vector. Vectr also uses Google Fonts so there is a good selection and the logo you create can be used for commercial use.
Step 1: Gather inspiration. Here is the mood board I created for Sparky Coffee Co. You can use Pinterest to gather your images.
Step 2: Create a vectr.com profile. This will allow you to create a file and save it to your account. We suggest just using the online design option because it is the same thing as the downloaded version without the extra steps. A blank canvas will automatically open up and we will begin designing.
Step 3: I know I want a minimal, word mark based off the images gathered. Something bold and attention grabbing but simple so I’m going to use a sans-serif font. Some of our favorite sans-serif fonts include: Oswald, Roboto, Fjalla, Pathway Gothic, Work Sans, and Poppin. So start with the Text option and simply type out your business name. We are going to start with Sparky and choose a couple font options.
Step 4: Decide which font you like the best. I narrowed it down to one font. Vectr gives options to add an icon and I really like the idea of a lightning bolt so I added it to the logo as well. I wanted to make sure I had variations of my logo just in case I wanted to use it in several places. So I created two different variations.
Step 5: Export your Logo. Make sure you export your logo as an .SVG and a .PNG. A svg will let you be able to edit it later and a .png will be something you can use on your site. When exporting your PNG make sure you export it at the size you need it. If you want your logo 300px wide, make sure you export it to that size or bigger.
It might be frustrating at first but you will get the hang of it. Simple is better and when you can afford branding then make that investment.
Also, as a gift, here are four FREE premade logos that can be edited in Photoshop or Illustrator.
Keep in mind that your logo doesn’t mean everything. Your brand is more than just a logo. So you can build your brand without having the best logo right away. Let your design evolve as your brand evolves.