Great Tips for Designing a Logo on a Budget

Your logo is a critical part of your brand’s overall image. A well-designed logo helps long-time customers locate you in a crowded marketplace and can attract new customers to purchase your products or services. But a poorly designed logo can potentially put off people because it fails to connect with them on an emotionally personal level.

If you plan to create a new logo for your business but don’t have much money to spend on marketing experts, these tips can help you get the most from your logo without overspending in the process.

Ideas to Keep in Mind While Designing Your Logo

Understand your Target Audience

Having a clear idea of the kind of person willing to lay down her hard-earned cash for what you are selling will help shape every business decision you make. By aligning the image of your business with your ideal customer’s perceived vision of herself or the dream of who she wants to become, you can appeal directly to the customer on the emotional and sub-conscience levels. Although such an approach must be part of your overall corporate culture, personality, and identity, the logo you choose will go a long way in having a tremendous impact, especially at the point of purchase.

Know Your Competitors and Your Industry’s Best Practices

How well do you know the logos of the major players in your industry? If the answer is not too well, then you have to do additional research. Now is not the time to start making guesses and hope you are right. The stakes are too high. If you are starting a new company or are launching a product or service in a new field, you are already way behind and will have to play catch up from the very beginning. Your goal needs to be designing a logo that plays to your company’s strengths while standing out from established brands yet is similar enough to be accepted by customers—complicated, yes. Impossible? Hardly.

Select the Proper Type of Logo

Several types of logos are popular, and using the right one for your brand is essential. When selecting which kind of logo is suitable for your business, you must consider your company’s image and what your competitors are using. While you shouldn’t use a logo that looks similar to an established brand, it has to be appropriate for the market.

Some of the more popular types of logos include:

  • Typographic Logos. These logos use font styles, line weight, kerning, tracking, alignment, negative space, colors, and letter stylizing to impart the brand’s message visually. Word-based logos are sometimes referred to as wordmarks and are popular because they work across all categories and price points. A good wordmark can become as instantly recognizable as an image-based logo. However, many companies make the mistake of thinking that since a typographical logo is only words, they don’t have to put much effort into the design. That causes many of these logos to look cheap and amateurish. Don’t make that mistake. Typographic logos are even more difficult to design well than other types. Examples of great wordmarks include FedEx, Google, Subway, and Mcdonald’s.
  • Image-Focused Logos. Many famous logos like Apple, Playboy, and Twitter are instantly recognizable from just a simple graphic. Text-less logos give these brands a distinct advantage by allowing them to use their logos almost anywhere and avoid limitations such as language. Nonetheless, cultural differences may affect how specific segments of the population view an image, and it can be troublesome for new customers to match a symbol with the name of the brand it represents
  • Words and Image Logos. Combining text and an image to create a single logo is a great way to get most of the benefits and minimize the negatives associated with the other two types of logos. A well-designed combination logo with a distinct graphic gives you the flexibility to use the image with or without the text. Some examples of his versatility include Ralph Lauren, Nike, and Mercedes.
Simplicity is Best

Don’t be afraid to choose a simple logo. Don’t try to cram in too many elements or messages or you risk creating something that is messy and unremarkable. Your goal is not to showcase your artistic ability but to develop a memorable and effective logo. A too complex logo will not only make it harder to recognize and remember, but if you plan on using it on T-shirts, hats, or other merchandising material, it can be difficult and expensive to reproduce. Try to restrict your palette to two or three colors that mesh well with your brand’s identity and any text to a single font for most of the logo with perhaps minimum stylization.

Some stunningly simple yet impactful logos you can use for inspiration include:

  • Amazon. The arrow in Amazon’s logo points from the capital ‘A’ in the brand’s name to the ‘z’, implying they have everything from A to Z.
  • The simplistic line drawing of a shell in vivid colors is distinct, and people automatically associate the image with the brand’s name.
  • The bright red capitalized name with an equally bold bulls-eye reinforces the company name and personality.
You Don’t Have to Do it All Yourself

You already know you need a quality logo, but what is the best way to get one if you don’t already have graphic design skills or an in-house design team? The best answer to that question depends on your budget and ability. But don’t worry. Even if you don’t have experience with graphic design or more than a few bucks to spend, you still have options.

  • Design your own logo from scratch. Today’s computer graphic design programs are easier to use than ever. Consumer-level design software is drastically reducing the learning curve when it comes to getting your design on paper. But even with modern graphic design tools, you still need to create a great idea and then know how to get that idea from your brain into the computer — and that is easier said than done.
  • Use a dedicated logo maker. Part of the problem with general-purpose graphic design software is too many options and settings. Just sorting through everything is time-consuming and confusing. But if you choose to create a logo with a logo maker, all the unnecessary settings are stripped away, and makes the process super easy. Choose your text, images, fonts, and type of logo, and the logo maker will generate proven logo designs using your preferences. Logo makers are powerful tools, but some people want more control.
  • Hire a freelancer. In some situations, hiring a designer to create your logo is the best option. Going this route gives you complete control of the customization without the need to learn how to use the design software yourself, but it comes at a high price. Experienced graphic designers often charge hundreds to thousands of dollars per logo. Of course, you could try your luck with low-priced ‘designers’ on freelance, but don’t expect great results for a few bucks.
Bonus Tips to Expand Your Logo’s Versatility

You don’t know where your brand will take you. Therefore your logo should be versatile enough to future-proof your business. Try applying this principle in the following ways:

  • Don’t choose an image that will pigeonhole your brand into a single product or service. If you only import coffee from Vietnam today, don’t use a Vietnam-centric image in your logo because you may start importing coffee from South America in a year or two.
  • If you use a combination logo, make sure you design and save a version that only includes the image and a version that only has the text. Down the road, you may want to use one or the other.
  • The logo you choose needs to look good in black and white for letterheads as well as online.
The Bottom Line

However you wind up designing your logo, it is a marketing tool at the end of the day. Therefore, it must reflect your business and brand in the best way possible. Think of your logo as one of the most significant investments in your company’s future, and don’t rush the process. Remember:

  • Spend the time to get to know your target customers and industry standards.
  • Choose the best type of logo for your business based on what you learn from your research.
  • Focus on simplicity and versatility.
  • Use the tools that are available to you.