10 Tips for Designing Your Own Logo, Even If You Don’t Know How

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Your logo is a big part of your brand. We talk about things like your voice, your mission, etc. that's also part of your brand, but your logo is literally your mark. Brands spend literally millions on their logos because it has such a huge impact on how people perceive their brand. Chanel, Coca Cola, Nike, FedEx, Apple, I don't have to show you a picture for you to know their logo, right? Yeah, that's because they have great logos.

While most bloggers don't have millions to invest in their logos (although some sources say some bloggers might), I'm here to help you design your own. Aside from having designed logos for my three blogs, I was also a graphic designer in my previous life and studied typography in college. Here are the basics…

Identify What Your Brand is About

What is your brand about? What's your “thing?” What's your niche? We've covered these topics before on IFB, and it's something you should lock down before starting your logo. Are you a personal style blogger? A fashion news? Vintage? What are your values? Are you luxury or budget? Who is your market? Is it preppy or urban? Write down what your brand is about and keep this in mind for the next step.

Research Logos You Like

Make a inspiration board (real or virtual) of EVERY logo you have ever seen that you love. It could be the FedEx logo, whatever, hey, I love the hidden arrow. Even the iconic IBM logo may fit your fancy. Chances are it could be something elegant and fashion related like Vogue's logo, or Chanel, Louis Vuitton. Maybe it's whimsical like Free People's or Anthropologie, whatever, collect every. logo. you. like.

Research Your Niche, What is The Visual Language?

What do all the logos for the other blogs in your niche look like? What about the logos for the brands that are aligned with what your blog is about? Often times, visual themes pop up. Think about fashion magazine logos, how they all look similar, all caps, serifed fonts. Newspapers tend to use black-letter type like the New York Times. These themes are subliminal message that the brands belong to a certain niche and have particular values.

Warning: This is just the research part, just because all the logos in your blog's niche look a certain way is not a reason for you to follow suit.

Experiment with Different Fonts

Eat, Sleep, Denim Logo Draft(My sketches for the Eat, Sleep, Denim redesign)

I always type my logo, then see it in as many different fonts as I can get my hands on. Well, fonts I like anyway. That way I can see how each font communicates my blog's name. You can find tons of free fonts on Font Squirrel, or if you are looking for more established fonts like Helvetica or Didot (Vogue uses this font for it's logo) try Adobe or MyFonts.

Don't Be Too Literal

shoesunderbed

(Ug.. Really? Are there shoes under that bed?)

One trap people fall into is the “literal trap” (figuratively speaking).  Say their blog is about shoes, and the blog name is “Shoes Under My Bed” So they have a logo that's shoes under a bed. The logo for “Shoes Under My Bed” can be a script font or sans serif, or display font whatever, but the WORDS “shoes” and “under my bed” already put a visual picture in our head. We don't need to see the text AND see an illustration of shoes under a bed. If we saw just a picture of shoes under a bed, would we get that the blog is called “Shoes Under My Bed” probably not. There's too much room for interpretation. I could go on about this, so the moral to this random story is don't be too literal with your logo.

shoes_example

(I WISH those shoes were under my bed!)

Work in Black & White First, THEN Add Color

Back in the day before digital where color is ALWAYS an option, logos had to look good in black and white so if you needed to submit your logo to a print publication or use it for marketing material and you didn't have a budget for color (more expensive) you had to have a logo that looked good in black and white. Nowadays, especially in digital, color is always available, do you know anyone with a monitor that doesn't have color?

That said, it's still a good idea to at least work in black and white. Why? You get an idea of the contrast, your logo isn't dependent on color. And if you do happen to need it printed in black and white, it doesn't lose impact.

Test in Different Formats

Does your logo look as good in a Twitter icon as it does on your header? Can you make an icon that looks enough like your logo that someone who finds you on Twitter isn't shocked when the visit your website? Blow it up as big as you can, and see how small you can make your logo and test if it still holds up. You'll need to have a flexible logo especially as a blogger!

Keep it simple

If you don't have the skills, keep it simple. If you do have the skills, why are you reading this? Kidding! Even simplicity takes skill… sometimes even more skill than a complex logo. Think about Nike, how simple that logo is. Or Chanel. Less is more!

When in Doubt, Use Helvetica

What do Fendi, JCPenny, Target, Crate&Barrell, NARS, American Apparel and Numero Magazine all have in common? HELVETICA.

logosinhelvetica

Helvetica is probably the world's most used font for logos. Why? Because it's very, very hard to fuck up. Yeah, I said it. You can't fuck up Helvetica.  Helvetica, Helvetica Neue or Univers does cost money, $29-$693 depending on the package you get. For those who see cost and not value, know that free fonts do not always have all the characters, ligatures and weights you need, nor are they always properly spaced or proportioned. Buying a good version of Helvetica will enable you to have a simple, professional looking logo, even if you don't have skills.

Have Fun!

You can always tell when someone had fun creating a logo, and when they thought it was a huge headache. So put aside any insecurities and play! Experiment, and take as long as you need, we're not going anywhere.

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Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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30 Responses

  1. Leila

    Great article! I recently went through a logo makeover for my blog and literally spent hours playing with fonts and designs until I found one I loved. It’s a tough process but so much fun and rewarding when you create something you feel good about.

    Leila @ http://chicisms.com

    Reply
  2. Filipa

    I just redesigned the logo for my blog, but I find this article very useful.
    I have subscribed to a fonts newsletter, so I get new fonts every week directly to my mailbox, and I download the ones I like.
    I also used to make my logos in black and white, but this time I choose to give it a little bit of color and I used two fonts, but still kept it simple. I really like how it turned out 🙂

    Filipa from http://ohmyfilipa.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  3. AJ Wears Clothes

    Y’all can do as many design posts as you want! I’ve been slowly teaching myself design and I love it. I drew my header and had a designer convert it to an illustrator file for me, because I do illustrations from time to time and thought it would be a nice way to tie my blog all together.

    Reply
  4. Sharan

    Thi artfile was such an interesting read. I definetly need to spend a little bit more time thinking about how it looks and playig around with different fonts amd colors!

    Reply
  5. Erika

    Thank you for the advices. I just start my blog 2 weeks ago and I definetely need to make some arrangements with the logo! nice article! 🙂

    Reply
  6. -

    Hello, first of all I will like to point out the positive aspects of this post, for example, the fact that people in general approach to the world of visual communication, and the well intentioned and encouraging suggestions of “research” and “experiment”, yes, that’s what design is mostly about.

    Then, why not recommending to read a real graphic design book too? it will be extremely useful for everyone.

    So, constructive criticism: I’ll leave the name of two great persons and graphic designers, Donis A. Dondis and Joan Costa. Research, as the article’s author says and enjoy their books. You will learn a lot about psychology of color, the appropiate language in design, materials, and what is a “logo” and what is not.

    Reply
  7. Justine

    I love this post! I agree that Helvetica is something no one can mess up. My logo is in a simple black font so I can get the point across. I have different versions of it, but the main one is very simple. Simplicity wins.

    Reply
  8. riris

    This a good tips,
    I’m not write for 1 month, and get borred with blog things, outfits, story, everything.. :((
    Maybe I can make a new logo for my blog and get inspired to make new post too..

    Reply
  9. Maggie A

    …Googling and finding the arrow in the FedEx logo …. #mindblown!! Looks like I need to rethink my blog’s logo. I’ve been experimenting for sometime now. For a little while I settled with simply a heart since my blog is called Love Mavin .. Looks like that would be way too open to interpretation.

    xo
    Maggie A
    Love Mavin

    Reply
  10. Anne

    Logo designing is actually a tricky task, even choosing the one in many logos that perfectly reflects the brand, is also very difficult. Therefore, I feel this article is a big help for people looking for designing new logos for their brand.

    Reply
  11. The Glambition

    This year I decided to renew the appearance of my blog and also changed the logo. The one shown at the top denotes the name of the blog, and social networking and the favicon, I created a glyph that has only the initial letters retaining full logo colors. It received many compliments.

    the-glambition.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. Eboni Morris

    This was a really helpful article. I just started a fitness blog about a month ago and need to create a logo. I especially like the advice you gave about not being too literal and keeping it simple. I will definitely keep that in mind.

    Reply
  13. Web Design Philippines

    It takes a lot of inspiration and concentration in creating a logo! I’ve done a lot of logos in the past and I can say that it’s kind of harder than creating a website.
    This is a list of great tips in creating a logo! 🙂

    Reply
  14. livin kitten

    fabulous. what i really liked were the questions you asked to make us think about values, purpose, and understanding my niche. got me thinking about a lot of things. my stuff relates not to the fashion industry, but tips like designing a logo in black and white and playing around with font, was very good. i came up with my logo, i designed by my self and i feel good about that because i am not visually creative. thank you again.

    Reply
  15. ronald

    these are great tips for designing your own logo.

    this is great for a small business that has a small budget.

    Reply
  16. Sarah

    This is fine advice if you’re just trying to come up with a decent looking header for your hobby blog, but don’t DIY if you’re starting a professional blog or business. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL! Your logo, color palette, fonts, etc. are what represent your company’s brand to the world, it is your image and the first impression that potential clients get. If you skimp on your logo and brand identity, it shows, especially if your competition’s branding looks professional. Logo design is difficult and time consuming, even for professional designers who’ve been working at it their entire careers. Don’t think you can just typeset your company’s name in helvetica and think that your branding measures up to Nars or Target.

    Reply
  17. Md.Atiqur Rahman

    Nice tips for every logo designer. Logo is a really important thing for any company to show summary of the company. When it looks creative, meaningful and easy understanding every person likes to know more about the company.

    Reply