Tips for Designing a Small Business Logo

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I’m back from vacation (and well rested!) While I catch up on my overflowing inbox, Sarah Guillot from sarahdesign.com is bringing you information on creating your business logo. I’m handing it over to her:

Hi again Cutting for Business readers! Last time I blogged here about designing with fonts; today I am tackling designing a logo.

Tips for Designing a Logo

Every business at some point needs to get a logo together, but the process for getting/creating one depends on your circumstances. The two main options for getting a logo together are DIY (“do it yourself”) or to outsource it by hiring a design pro. How to choose between these options depends on a few factors:

  • If you’re a new business or an established one
  • If you have staff or are a one-person operation
  • Whether or not you’re comfortable with design tools
  • How much you can afford to spend
  • How much time you have

DIY

I recommend the do-it-yourself option for those who are new businesses or established ones who have design skills. It’s great if you have some time and energy to put into it, or a staff member who would delight in the task. Plus, it can be very inexpensive, and maybe even free.

As a designer, myself, I sometimes feel a little guilty recommending DIY or online logo- creation tools because there are a ton of wonderful logo designers out there trying to make a living. However, if you’re a brand new business and wanting to get off the ground quickly, there’s no need to spend a ton of time or money on a logo. You can change it later! Yes, it can be a hassle, but at least it will be a hassle you tackle while rolling in your newly made riches, right?

DIY Design Tools

Illustrator

Illustrator is my number one recommendation for designing a logo from scratch. It’s a “vector” program, which means the designs are built mathematically and can be made as large or as small as you want without losing quality. You can easily save your final design out onto a transparent background (.png for example), or as a jpeg flattened onto a solid colored background. Transparency is important so you can add your logo to web pages and documents, and t-shirts, etc., and it won’t look like it’s sitting in a white box all the time.

Photoshop

Photoshop is always a great choice but since it’s “pixel-based” instead of being a vector program, you are creating your design with little squares of color. As a result, things can look a bit choppy or out of focus if you need to enlarge the design later.

Silhouette Studio

You can certainly also build yourself a simple logo right in Silhouette Studio, but keep in mind that the end product will be flattened onto a solid colored background so you have to take extra steps to remove that background and have the logo on a transparent one instead.

Tips for Designing From Scratch

If you want to design your own logo from scratch, that’s a whole course in and of itself, but I can give you some basic guidelines to keep in mind. These guidelines apply even to the other options I have for you below!

  • Font choice matters: if you’re fanciful or fun then decorative fonts are perfect. If you’re a serious sort of biz then you probably want simpler fonts. Either way, make sure they’re readable!
  • Mix & Match: I often see logos with a script font of a word or two, paired with a simpler font that describes the service. This is the tactic I chose when creating my logo for sarahdesign.comTips for Designing a Small Business Logo - sarahdesign.com for cuttingforbusiness.com. Great for Silhouette Cameo or Cricut owners!
  • Text, Icon, and Text + Icon: Don’t use an icon with no words. This only works for huge corporations that spend a bazillion dollars on marketing. The Nike swoosh symbol is recognizable without the word “Nike” because they have marketed their brand extensively for years. As a new business, you don’t have this luxury. So to be safe, I recommend using text alone, or text with an icon near it.
  • Readability: make sure that the font, the size, the colors, etc., all work together to make your logo readable. If people can’t make it out, they will not remember you or your business!

DIY Online Resources

Another even simpler DIY option is to use an online logo creation tool. I experimented with a few of these for a video post I wrote awhile back on my blog. Here is a summary of my thoughts on those….

Logo creators

  • GraphicSprings.com: Great for simple designs and you can download your final masterpiece for $39: Tips for Designing a Small Business Logo - sarahdesign.com for cuttingforbusiness.com. Great for Silhouette Cameo or Cricut owners!
  • Withoomph.com: Nice font and clip art shape options with final cost between $30 – $75. Plus the final screen shows this great mockup of your logo on a variety of products, which makes it seem very real and fun: Tips for Designing a Small Business Logo - sarahdesign.com for cuttingforbusiness.com. Great for Silhouette Cameo or Cricut owners!
  • HipsterLogoGenerator.com: A little clunky to operate, but your logo design is very affordable to purchase at the end for only $5: Tips for Designing a Small Business Logo - sarahdesign.com for cuttingforbusiness.com. Great for Silhouette Cameo or Cricut owners!

Templates (semi-custom)

CreativeMarket.com: This one isn’t a logo creation tool. It’s a marketplace, similar to Etsy, but specializing in “supplies” for designers. So you can go in there and find semi-custom, or templatized logos that you can purchase for less than $10 and alter yourself, using Illustrator or Photoshop, typically.

Hire a Designer

This is a great option for established businesses who have some spending money available to them. It’s great for the stage in your business when you really want to establish a brand with consistent colors, vision, voice, fonts, etc. A professional branding/logo designer is your best friend for this kind of work. It can be time consuming so isn’t the best choice if you need something fast, unless you really have money to burn! But it is a truly long-term solution for your business.

Where to find designers:

Etsy: There are many designers specializing in logos and branding on Etsy. If you do a search and look through the examples and the pricing you can narrow it to a few faves, then purchase, or reach out to them through their shop. You can communicate with Etsy sellers right there on the platform.

Facebook: Many business groups on Facebook have designers looking for work. So you can start with groups who specialize in designers or head to entrepreneur-type groups and see who can help. Usually there’s a specific day of the week when people can advertise their services, or post if they are in need of help from others.

Word of Mouth: Ask all your friends and family if they know designers! This is a great way to get started. Someone close to you might know a designer, or have a friend who worked with one, or know where to find one.

99Designs: This is an online service where you pay a fee ($299 last time I checked) to submit your design need. Then a call goes out to tons of designers who compete to win the project. You get to look through all the options, narrow it down, have them do more work, and hone in on your final design.

Fiverr: On fiverr you pay $5 for services provided by people from all over the world. Start by searching for logo designers to see their work and what the prices are (they’ll typically have a range of services starting at $5 and going up from there. Be wary though! I’ve seen designs on Fiverr that claim to be “original” that I also saw for sale on Creative Market or other places on the internet. Fiverr is a great quick option but is my least recommended one in terms of quality, originality, and customer service.

So what do you think? Do you feel prepared to tackle your logo needs now? I hope you’ll comment below with how your logo turned out and what tool you used to create it. If you enjoyed learning from me today and you’re an Etsy shop, then you’ll love my FREE online course: 7 Days to Better Etsy Images. Hope to see you there!

Thanks Sarah, for this informative post on creating a logo! Be sure to share this by hovering over or tapping the image below:

Tips for Designing a Small Business Logo - sarahdesign.com for cuttingforbusiness.com. Great for Silhouette Cameo or Cricut owners!

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