How to design a logo: the ultimate guide

how to design a logo: the ultimate guide

Have you ever seen a big brand without a logo? No? That’s because there aren’t any. A logo has a major impact on how your customers will perceive your brand. So naturally, you want your logo to be outstanding. But how do you get there?
Don’t fret! This handy guide will teach you everything you need to know to design the perfect logo for you and your business. From defining your brand’s identity and understanding what makes a great logo, to making the right design choices and navigating the design process, read on to learn how to design a logo.
You may be asking yourself: How can I design my own logo? These are the steps you need to follow:
Business really is like dating—you’re trying to attract the right customers and make them fall head over heels in love with your brand. So think of your logo as the picture on your dating profile. It’s what’s going to make people take interest and try to learn more about you (or swipe left because you’re not for them). So you want to look your best, right?
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Your logo will have a huge impact on the first impression your business is going to make: It will give your customers information about your brand and let them know if it’s right for them.
Because your logo is such an essential part of your brand, you want to make sure it’s done well. All your branding materials will have your logo on them. It’ll stare back at your customers from your website, your packaging, and your business cards. Make it count! A great, professional logo design not only has the power to communicate what you stand for. It will also make a good first impression and help you stand out from the competition.
You want your logo to communicate your brand’s personality. And in order to do that, you first need to understand what your brand’s core personality is. Once you have a clear idea of what makes you unique and what your brand is all about, it will be much easier for you to make design choices that complement and complete that picture.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself, to get to the bottom of your brand identity:
The hardest part of the design process can be the search for logo inspiration. Luckily we’ve got some tips for you that will make it really easy.
Perhaps you are a conceptual person and like to start off with collecting verbal ideas. A proper brainstorming session can be just what you need to pin down the look and feel you’re trying to achieve. Here are three steps that will help you draw out the best creative logo ideas:
1. Follow the rules of the brainstorm: Brainstorming is about getting all ideas out (even those really really bad ones) and writing them down. Even a horrible idea can spark a conversation that leads to a genius solution.
2. Think like your audience: Make a list of words that describe your brand and how you want it to be perceived. Think like a person in your target demographic and always remember what would be important to them.
3. Get everyone involved: A one-person-brainstorm is fine, but only diversity will make the magic happen. Bring in people from every department or even friends and business partners. The more perspectives, the better.
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When it comes to brainstorming your logo, don’t be afraid of thinking out of the box and being a bit different. See how logos like the ones for Crypto Caveman and Sweet Trip cleverly combine ideas that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with each other—like cryptocurrencies and cavemen or a honey bee and a pin on a map? These original logo choices help them express character and stand out from the crowd.
If you’re a visual person, a mood board may be the perfect tool for you to get inspired. You can create an actual board by cutting out and pinning printed images or make a digital one (Pinterest would be the obvious choice here). Simply collect all the images you feel drawn to—those can be other logos, color combinations, illustrations or graphics, go wild! You’ll see, your mood board will reflect what style and design features you are gravitating towards in no time. Need a good place to start? We suggest checking out the 99designs logo inspiration gallery.
Think about how your business can be visualized in your logo. Simply Rooted is all about local, down-to-earth food and their vintage logo perfectly reflects that with hand drawn root vegetables. If you’re striving for a similar aesthetic, your mood board might include images of vintage logos, handmade illustrations and organic shapes and colors. Or take a look how the Rugged logo visualizes their “rugged” brand identity in a bold and rough looking word mark but still includes a luxurious vibe with a reflective gold effect. Your mood board gives you the opportunity to pull all these elements together.
The best place to steal borrow ideas? Your competition! Check out what’s already out there, what works well with your audience and what you should avoid. While stalking those other businesses, think about what makes them different from you and how you can emphasise these differences in your logo design.
Be sure to clearly set yourself apart from your competition. If all the other businesses in your industry are going monochrome, maybe you should opt for some color to stand out. If everyone else is traditional, maybe a fun and modern logo will attract attention.
Check out the three accountant logos above and how they communicate their brand personalities. The lion logo for Orthrus Ventures is classic and reliable, while the Tidy Finance logo seems modern and cool. However, if fun and approachable is what you’re going for, let Hot Toast inspire you with its bright color and whimsical illustration.
Now that you have a clear idea of your brand and are feeling inspired, it’s time to start translating that into design. There are lots of different elements that come into play here, from colors, shapes and graphics to typography. Isolating each component and what it can do for your logo will help you take things step by step, rather than getting overwhelmed with the whole design all at once.
When thinking about your logo, the first thing you want to do is pick the right design aesthetic for your brand. There is no one style that is right for everyone, only what’s best for your brand.
Trendy logos can be fun and exciting, but they can quickly look outdated. A classic style gives you better staying power and can help you reach a broader audience. This aesthetic keeps it simple and doesn’t venture out into crazy color palettes, graphics or fonts. A classic style tells people that you are reliable and down to earth.
There is a reason why vintage and retro design have been on trend for quite some time now. They instantly remind you of the past and evoke romantic feelings of nostalgia. A vintage logo tells customers that history is important to you and that whatever you sell is done right. Worn and hand-illustrated logos in brown and beige color palettes fit this aesthetic beautifully.
Brands often choose a clean and minimalist style to communicate how fresh and modern they are. This style uses a lot of whitespace, minimal details and simple lines often resulting in sleek, pared back logos. A minimalist and modern style shows your customers that your brand is up-to-date, cool and knows what counts.
This is a popular choice for brands with a young (or young at heart) target customer. Fun and quirky style tends to be colorful and cute and often uses symbols or illustrations to create a positive and friendly vibe. Go for a whimsical mascot or a sweet illustration to let your brand’s fun character shine through.
Handcrafted style transports a clear message: this brand is individualistic and stands for handmade quality. The style works well in combination with other aesthetics, like vintage, to really drive the message home. But it can be combined with minimal and fun styles as well for a simple and sophisticated or a bright and youthful look.
Of course these styles aren’t mutually exclusive: Just mix and match them to suit your brand. For instance your brand can be both handmade and fun at the same time, just take a look at how the quirky, illustrated logo for The Crafting Cactus pulls it off.
In addition to the overall style there are 7 main types of logos you can choose from when you are creating your logo. You can pick the one that suits your company name or overall aesthetic best, or combine them to create something unique.
Lettermark logos can be great to streamline your company logo, especially if your name is very long or hard to remember. Lots of businesses choose to go by their initials, just think of HP, CNN or H&M. These monograms can be great for minimalist logos, but remember that they are not very good at expressing what your business is about.
Wordmarks are a very straightforward way of using you company name as a logo. To give them personality and recognition value, they are all about typography—just look at the wordmark logo for ONE. If you’ve got a great name for your brand, this could be the perfect way to put it in the foreground.
Pictorial marks or logo symbols are what we think of when we hear the word “logo”. They are iconographic images that are easily recognizable and represent your brand with an image. You can choose something simplistic or more complex, but make sure to pick a symbol that creates a unique connection to your brand. Oftentimes these are paired with a wordmark (ya know, so customers know your name… at least until you’re on par with Apple and Target in terms of brand recognition).
Instead of a recognizable symbol, abstract logo marks are geometric forms that don’t establish an immediate connection to an existing image but create something entirely new for your brand. An abstract logo mark will condense your business into a symbol that is truly unique to you. The logo for Printy shows how modern an abstract symbol can look, while having lots of personality at the same time. If you want your abstract logo to create a certain mood or feeling, find out the meanings of different geometric logo shapes.
Mascot logos are a fun way of giving your brand a personality. They are often colorful, cartoonish characters that represent your business in a family-friendly and approachable way, like the cheerful Gadget Mole above.
A combination mark does exactly what it says on the tin: it combines a symbol with a word mark to create an easily recognizable logo. The brand name is either placed next to the symbol, or is integrated in the graphic element, like designer ludibes demonstrates with the Brite Side logo. People will associate both elements with your brand, which allows you to use them both alone or together.
Similar to combination marks, emblem logos are also often a combination of word and pictorial elements. They usually consist of text integrated in a symbol or icon, such as badges, seals or crests. The Rockwell Lighthouse emblem shows, how these traditional shapes can give you a very old-school and classic appearance.
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Colors can have a ton of different meanings. The psychology behind color is complex, but to keep it short, colors have certain emotions and ideas attached to them. To learn more about color theory be sure to check out this in-depth guide on logo colors and their meanings.
Of course you don’t need to stick with a monochrome logo using just one color, but you can combine several logos colors to tell a complete brand color story. To choose colors that work well together, take a look at the color wheel.
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You want to pick a font that complements and completes your logo. There are 4 basic types of fonts you can work with to give your logo a unique look:
See how the font gives the Avalon logo a chic and timeless look? Serif fonts can make your logo look classic and high-end. Serifs are the little “feet” at the end of letter, which make them look a little more old-fashioned. They are very versatile and look great with any kind of design, but work especially well with vintage, elegant or classic designs.
Sans-serif fonts are perfect for a modern and clean look. They don’t have the little feet that serif fonts have which makes them look very sleek and simple. This works great for modern brands, like the minimal and cool Delta Salt logo above.
Script fonts are reminiscent of handwriting. From elegant calligraphic fonts to relaxed and down-to-earth scripts, there is a huge variety out there. Use them to make your logo look more individualistic, like the Moon Rabbit logo above.
Display fonts are decorative fonts that are highly stylized and really catch the eye. Take a look at the Perfect You logo above that uses a display font to give the design a fun 70s flair.
Your typography can become really powerful when you combine different logo fonts with each other. Find out how in this guide to selecting fonts for your brand.
Now that you have an idea of all the different elements your logo consists of, you need to make sure that they work together. You want to pair them in a way that is harmonious to create the vibe you are looking for.
The logo for skincare brand Voany leaves no doubt that it is an elegant, natural high-end brand, using a combination mark in an organic shape, a classic serif font and a natural brown and beige color palette. Reflect Academy on the other hand looks disruptive and eye-catching by combining a modern font with colorful and abstract shapes for a fresh and unique look.
Now that you have considered all of the necessary style points, you’re ready to start designing! There are many ways to get a logo, so you should consider which one suits you best. Agency, logo contest, 1-to-1 project or logo maker? Different prices come with different qualities and all options have their pros and cons. To get a good overview of your options for getting a logo, check out this comparison of the best ways to get a logo designed. Read more about how much your logo design should cost here.
We might be biased, but we think a logo design contest is the best way to get a logo. To make sure your design comes out perfectly, the first rule of working with your designer is to communicate clearly. Writing a clear creative brief is your chance to make your designer understand who you are and what you need. Make sure to give them as much information about your company and style as you can, so they can create something really unique for you.
Sometimes it may take a little bit of trust in your designer, but try to stay open to suggestions. Remember, your designer is an expert and has a great feel for what makes a good logo. Giving lots of detailed and clear feedback is what gives designers an understanding of what you like. It may sound cheesy but it’s true: the best design happens when you and your designer work together.
Evaluating your logo options can be hard, so get some feedback from friends, potential customers and colleagues to help you make a decision.
A good logo is immediately recognizable, reflects your brand’s message and makes you stand out. An effective logo looks professional and seamlessly fits in with a brand’s identity. A great logo also needs to work at any size and anywhere you want to use your logo.
A good logo:
But how to make a good logo? Here are some general questions to ask yourself when evaluating your logo options:
Obviously your brand’s needs and expectations for a logo will be much different if you sell children’s clothing and need a simple logo that can be stitched onto fabric than if you make sophisticated high-end wine with an intricate label, or a high-tech app that lives on peoples’ phones. So don’t forget to take a step back and consider the bigger picture while you’re designing your logo. This is not about personal taste, it’s about what works best for your brand.
There are some common pitfalls that await you when you’re designing your logo. Here are some tips on what not to do:
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Now that you know how to design a logo, what’s next?
Once you have your logo, you’ve created the ideal basis for all the branding material your business needs—whether it’s business cards, packaging design or web design. By setting the tone for your style, color palette, font and overall look and feel your logo is the starting point for your brand collateral and your designer will be able to create a seamless look for you. And just like that, your business is ready to show the world its brand new face!
This article was originally published in 2017. It’s been updated with new information and examples.

Loved the article. Beautifully explained everything. Thanks for posting.
Thank you so much for sharing these tips! I do have one question though, do the fonts used in the logo need to match the font(s) used articles or posts on the blog or website? For example, if the logo uses a sans-serif font, should a sans-serif font also be used in articles/posts? I hope I’m making sense. Thanks!
They don’t have to match but should work well together, even in contrast. This article is a little more focused on typography.
I love read 99designs blog, it’s clean and neat, eye-pleasing, also straightforward. In this page, I signed my e-mail to download this guide as an ebook, but I haven’t received the e-mail. Can anyone help? Thanks.
Hello, if you don’t see them in your junk/spam folder, please reach out to [email protected]
Not that I’ve ever used one of those swiping dating apps but I’m sure it’s Swipe Left if they’re not for you? 😉
Good catch
Nice work (but strictly speaking “sans serif” refers to typefaces not fonts (font = typeface * pointsize * attribute) – why perpetuate a Microsoft error?).
Technically speaking, that is true. Because font is a commonplace term, I think the author is just simplifying the language for nondesigners.
hot toast was my fav logo
Please can I get this on my email as you it was done throughout the branding course
Thank you so much for the article, it will help me to complete my project. Do you have more information about the logo & its importance.
Hi Sandesh, glad you liked the article! You can find more information on the importance of logos in this article: Or download our free logo ebook here:
please provide ebook
Hi Mohammad, please enter your email address in the download form at the beginning of the article and we’ll send you a copy of the logo ebook.
Such an amazing article. Everything that you need to know. The best part is, it contains the don’t as much as dos.
Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂
Appreciation to this article
Thank you for telling me that I need to establish my brand’s personality first and try to understand the message I’m trying to get across before coming up with our own business logo. My sister and I are thinking of opening our own ice cream shop and serve all kinds of gelato, even to those people who have health complications. I guess our brand is all about making people enjoy ice cream, regardless of their age and preferences. I’ll settle things first with my sister before looking for companies that offer removable window graphics services and have them print our logo.
I really enjoyed this piece, until I read the line… “Don’t go with an amateur. Your friend/intern/cousin has used Photoshop before, so they can save you some money and design your logo? Just don’t.”.
Sure, I understand the point being made, but there will also be a lot of amateur Graphic Designers that are disappointed and even offended to read that point of view. For so many ‘amateur’ designers the opportunity to help a friend or family member is vital to helping them develop and grow, and plays an important role in strengthening their portfolio. Also, I would ,argue that if a new start up really was that concerned over their new logo they would never even consider giving it to an amateur, so whats the harm in giving the project to an amateur to have a go, being provided with all the same information in the brief? If the clients truly loves it and it ticks all the boxes and is a great design then whats the problem?
I just feel the comment is very discouraging to amateur designers who are probably reading this for some encouragement and guidance. The last thing we want if for any potential designer to be discouraged from even trying?
Thank you, that’s a good point you’re making. I’d hate to discourage amateur designers. Experience can be an indicator of high-quality design, but that absolutely doesn’t mean a beginner can’t make a great logo. What matters is the quality of the end result. I’ll rephrase that section to make this more clear.
There are many existing symbols online such as alpha, beta or some combinations of arrows. So my question is, can we use such symbols in logo or is there some copyright issue there as well?
That’s a great question! A lot of symbols can be used, but there’s no all-encompassing answer. For instance, a lot of US fraternities and sororities have names that consist of Greek letters and hold copyrights on them. So, it really depends on which symbols you want to use. To be on the safe side, always check if there’s a copyright on a specific symbol or combination of symbols before using it.
This article is the best to understand the real meaning of logo . Wonderfully explained …Thanx for this .
Glad you found it helpful! 🙂
I draw a picture of myself own creativity which represent all my business contents by seeing it. I made some colours to it too. It looks like a drawing. Can’t it be convert to logo?
Absolutely, a designer can turn your drawing into a proper logo for you. You can find the right designer for this project using our Designer Search.
Thanks so much, I love it.
Glad you liked it!
Thanks a lot for these eye opening tips.
Glad you found it helpful!
Great Article.
Thank you! 🙂
Thanks for everything for making it a very well written logo.It has improved myself.
Glad you found it helpful!
very good ! How can i design logo for ministries .
Our support team would be happy to help you with that! Please request a free design consultation here.
Im just starting out. So right now i have no income. I need something i can do for free. Any suggestions?
Will be starting a business soon
Designing a Logo is a challenge. Especially for a start-up.There are infinite options for every product. So, you need to design a logo from people’s perspective in such a way that the logo must strike through their thoughts once they think about the product.
this is really useful and interesting information, thank you. I did submit my email twice for the free ebook however have not received it
Glad you liked the article! The email has been delivered to your email address, please check your spam folder or 3rd party filtering software.
I didn’t receive ebook on email.
It has been delivered to your email address, please check your spam folder and any 3rd party filtering software you may be using.
Excellent Article, Regarding Logo design. Each and every aspect is pinpointed.
I just want to say thanks so much to learn how to be creative about to creat logo
Glad you liked the article!
Thanks for advice
Hope I will learn a lot here
Thank you so much for sharing these tips, liked the article.
All the bases are covered in your article. Very comprehensive yet easy to understand. The graphics really help illustrate the points.
Glad you liked it!
Tanks for this clear and best article, keep it up it’s make easy our journey to create best logo.
wow it’s amazing blog. i’m really happy to read this and i can creat my own logo in myself. thank 99design
This was really helpful…now I see logo designing in a complete different way
So glad you found it helpful!
I want to say THANK YOU so much for writing that article. It was a brilliance piece of work so informative and I am so grateful that I found it. Instead of feeling so overwhelmed and just putting off getting a logo together for my business; after reading your article I am so excited to get started. It has been so so hard for me to try and figure out an image to represent my business because I’m kind of all over the place but the one thing that is in common with all that I do is it is all handcrafted and you made me realize that in this article that that’s my common denominator… That’s where I need to place my focus. I’ve been sitting here for days and weeks looking at images and going okay well I don’t want to put a piece of jewelry on there because I also do this this and this and so it’s been so difficult and so hard for me to try to figure out what to use as an image but you thankfully have changed my entire perspective and Outlook about this and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I of course realize how important a logo is to a business and so that’s why I’ve been so picky and choosy and just trying to figure out what was the most important thing to represent my business but one of the most important things that I just was blown away by in your article was when you said “remember it’s not about personal taste it’s about what works best for your brand”… oh my gosh I was like I have to highlight that. I actually have taken complete notes as I’ve read through your article because I was just like it was just so incredibly informative I didn’t want to forget anything I wanted to be able to go back and reference it. Again I just want to say thank you so much!! You may have changed my life!!
I’m so happy to hear that you found it helpful! Good luck with creating your logo 🙂
the coffee is very interesting
I think this is the right platform
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