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Graphic Designers Share Their Best Advice on Logos

Designing a logo is an art that can be mastered with years of experience and great problem-solving skills. We reached out to graphic designers who are members of our accountability groups to share their processes and advice.


Reggie Holmes • enthusecreative.com

“A logo is a visual communication device, so it should be designed so that it’s scalable and flexible enough to still clearly communicate the entity it represents on every from a handheld device to a roadside billboard. When the logo is being designed, it is important to test how the logo performs in this regard, because “in the wild” it will not always be viewed in ideal circumstances, but it should still be easily read and understood.”


Lauren Casgren-Tindall • cremedemint.com

A logo is the first impression your company gives your customer. A great logo should be memorable, simple, timeless, and versatile.”


Libby Ventura • Ventura Graphic Design

“When you’re designing a logo it’s important to think about all of the places it could ever be used. It needs to look good really big and really small, on the screen and on paper. It needs to look good in color and in black and white. These considerations may feel like limitations, but in the end, will result in a clean — and completely useful — logo!”


Christine Rains • Christine Rains Design

A successful logo needs to make sense immediately. It needs to connect with the viewer on an intuitive level, engaging them with an image that is clear and obvious . . . and beautiful. Knowing how we perceive symbols, patterns and letterforms is a critical skill for a designer. Pattern awareness allows us to choose the most appropriate relationships that describe the unique attributes of our client’s project. Recognizing patterns brings cohesion and meaning to our world.”


Cara Capizzi • Capizzi Designs

“A logo needs to work across various media. The integrity of the design and concept should hold when in color or black + white, at a smaller size like on a business card, website header, or social media profile — to larger applications such as signage, t-shirts, and beyond. Sometimes logos need versions in both a vertical/stacked and horizontal orientation to ensure that all elements will remain clear and visible across applications.”


Crystal Reynolds • Crystal Ink

“Make sure you are talking directly with the decision-makers. In between always buffer the ideas and you never get the chance to gauge ideas from the get-go.”


Nick Matarese • The Barn

“Scale-ability is a big factor in branding and logos right now. The rule of thumb I use at The Barn is ‘if it is not understood at the size of a quarter, held at arm’s length away, it is too complex.’ — But a clever way around that is something called responsive branding. Much like a responsive website, You can create a brand that varies depending on the size the logo will be seen to maximize impact.”


Emma McGoldrick • ESM Creative Studio

When creating logos, I find the most important challenge is to teach clients that branding is about what their customers are attracted to not what they personally like. It can be hard to deter clients from trends and overused aesthetics rather than a strategy backed logos/branding that will bring in new customers for time to come.”


Jennifer Leonardson • Oxyjen Design

Good logo design is like a fine wine, it always takes longer to achieve the finest quality and get to the finished product than you think it will.”


Amy Gorrek • Studio AG

“Be curious and ask lots of questions… Then spend time OFF the computer, and out in the world researching and seeking inspiration. Spend time thinking about the project/ideas, browse the appropriate stores, museums, nature, marinate, incubate, sketch.”


Karla Pamanes • Karla Pamanes

“There is quite a bit of advice that can be found about logo design: keep it simple, it needs to work in black and white, use the right font… the list goes on. Yet, the question I ask my clients when choosing between design options is this:  “LESS IS MORE – When designing logos simplicity is key. I always tend to remember the KISS principle: Keep it Simple Stupid – a simple logo is easier to recognize and make a lasting impression, it is also most likely to be scalable in small and large applications. To make sure I’m aiming for simplicity, I like to design logos in black only until I’m sure the logo itself works as a one-color logo and it’s simple enough but effective before adding color to it.”


Joe James • Saint James Studios

“Keep it simple. Think of the appliance logos from your childhood (mother’s) kitchen and ask yourself why you still remember them.”


Claudia Kemmerer • Kemmerer Designs

“My client was breaking off on her own and starting a new investment practice. She wanted to use the term, “blue stocking” for her company name, as she was fascinated by the story behind the name and felt it really resonated with her. She wanted to do something creative, but also simple and professional for her logo. The challenge was to create a logo with some personality and individuality, while also keeping it very clean and simple. I found it very helpful to have her fill out a creative brief, asking some directed questions about her company and competitors, her personal style, how she would be using the logo, and asking her to provide a few examples of existing logos that appealed to her. When I provided my initial concepts, I omitted colors and opted to show her the designs in grayscale, so that color choice would not cloud the decision making on what designs she liked. Once she chose an option, I presented some color options for her to react to. I find that this keeps the process moving, and curtails the urge to merge designs (“I like this from option 1, and this from option 2”).”


Wendy Wood • wendywood.com 

Does this logo define YOUR brand and YOUR style, and are you willing to defend it and grow with it? So many times logos are chosen because clients want to be a leader like company X or like the look of company Y. Everyone needs a unique voice, style, and logo based on goals and strategy. I can design the greatest logo in the world, but if my clients don’t have a unique point of view that they are willing to defend and promote, the mark will always fall short.”


Lidia Varesco Racoma • Lidia Varesco Design

“Keep logo usage in mind when you start designing. You don’t want a client to realize they are missing a necessary logo variation during a crucial deadline. A few questions I ask my clients before starting the logo design process are: 

  1. Will the logo be used in print as well as digital? 
  2. Are there any size or orientation restrictions on your website? 
  3. Which social media channels will you be using?

When I start designing the logo, I keep the usage in mind as well as orientation (horizontal, vertical, square) and color variations (full color, greyscale, reverse, inverted). Starting off with a plan means the client will never be without the logo they need!”


Tara Hoover • Tara Hoover Design

Think about application — everything from print & web to promo items and social media profiles. Your logo needs to adapt to all forms of media while staying recognizable and true to your brand.”


Rachel Sager • RaSager

Keep It simple. As with many things, keeping things simple is a good way to go, especially for logos. A logomark will often be reproduced in any number of ways — it will shine in its full-color glory in digital and print formats, but it may also be embroidered on a shirt, imprinted on a thermos, or printed within a black-and-white program. It also needs to read well at a variety of sizes, since it might appear on a large vinyl banner or a small promotional pin. The simpler the logo, the more easily it will translate into a myriad of uses. Keep in mind that logos do a lot of the heavy lifting for a brand, but there are countless other elements that should lend support to your logomark, so don’t make it do all the work. Afraid the logo is too simple? Adding a tagline can help contextualize your mark.”


Nancy Ruzow • Ruzow Graphics

“The logo is a symbol or words or both that identify a business. Simplicity and legibility are key to being remembered. Good problem-solving skills help graphic designers go deep to find create the logo that works best for you or your brand.”


Cassie Brkich • Brkich Design

The best advice we give to our clients is to keep it simple and be super clear! Oftentimes when a business finally decides to hire a design firm, they feel the need to push them to “overdesign” and say everything in just one little logo. We pull them back and we always show them their logo design in a full brand suite with colors, fonts, and logo options. It’s easier to visualize that way in addition to showing them everything that will ultimately build their brand.


Jeannine Papelino • intrexdesign.com/

“When creating a logo, try to use something familiar like a word, symbol, or color with a symbolic meaning. A logo that cleverly capitalizes on existing references will provide leverage for a business’s unique advantage in their industry.”


Damien Golden • iKande

“Make sure you reference your client notes before finishing up your final logo versions or big unveil to the client. Inevitably, there will probably be a golden nugget hiding out reminding you to consider, or leave out, something very important.”


Nancy Cutler • themidnightoil.com

“Logos design: Be fresh and simple, with a twist.”


Designers hone their craft in various ways

They all make sure they’ve connected with their client to fully understand what they’re looking for and the intended usage. Others remember that simplicity goes a long way in the design and anything that feels too complex probably won’t make the cut.

Remember that when creating a logo rarely is the process linear; often you will have to rework it a few times until you’ve found the version that holds. When creating your next logo, think of the advice listed above and it should serve as the tools for success. And, if you are looking for a logo designer, click on the links under the logo images to see more work from each designer.

by Briana Benitez

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