Design Theory for Small Business Logos (w/ Examples)

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An effective logo will bring your branding and marketing efforts to the next level, conveying your professionalism while also increasing brand recognition among consumers. A small business logo can truly appear anywhere you want it to appear: your website, business cards, as a watermark on images on social media, your staff's t-shirts and a whole slew of promotional items, like bumper stickers, pens, water bottles and more.

The purpose of putting your company logo anywhere and everywhere is to not only introduce your business to people for the first time but to also continuously remind people that your business exists.

What Great Logo Design Accomplishes

A unique logo that's easily recognizable (and won't be confused with other logos) helps keep your business top of mind with little effort, but the perfect logo can also accomplish so much more. Well-designed logos can also convey what your business sells and can even reflect your brand values. High-quality logos can also include subtle messages, such as the "Amazon smile" that makes the entire brand seem more approachable and the shopping experience more fun.

Custom logo design can give you a powerful marketing resource, but sometimes, logo design seems difficult to fit into a startup budget for many small businesses. Depending on how comfortable you feel with technology and your own creativity and design skills, you can often create your own logo or at least develop a rough draft for professional graphic designers.

Using Your Business Name

As you brainstorm your logo design, decide whether your business name will play a primary or secondary role in the logo. Many businesses exclusively use their name as the logo, adding a particular font and color scheme in order to reflect the brand's identity (such as Coca-Cola). Others, however, combine their name with an image (such as Pepsi).

When in doubt, try both! You can always use the name-based logo when some clarity is required and use the image-based logo when you want a more subtle approach. Combine both the name and image to encourage better brand recognition in the future.

Color Theory and Logo Design

The colors you use in your logo should be the same color scheme you use on your other branded materials. Brand-new small-business owners who haven't yet decided on a color scheme should research color theory to understand how different colors influence our emotions. For example, purple is often associated with creativity, whereas orange gives off a feeling of warmth and optimism.

Can You DIY a Logo?

Logo generators are a low-cost solution to professional logo design, but they are limited in what they can accomplish. Most allow you to use logo templates to combine icons, text and fonts to create a basic logo that gets the job done but probably lacks the subtle messaging that a graphic designer could implement. Pros can also present you with numerous logo variations for your consideration as part of their standard design services.

Keep in mind that professional logo designers are also trained in color theory and numerous do's and don'ts relating to design. You'll also have a creative brain off which to bounce ideas, which is impossible to do with DIY logo software. Consider starting with a free logo maker if your budget does not currently allow for a handmade design. Then, get a professional upgrade as soon as possible to tweak the design and turn it into a truly stunning logo.

If you're a creative type, you could potentially create your own logo using image editing software or a design tool like Canva. Start by drawing ideas on paper and trying out different color schemes. Remember to keep it simple with as few colors and elements as possible to get the job done. Then, transfer your idea to a graphic design program or online logo maker that will allow you to save the images you create as high-resolution vector files.