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Logo design is one of the most important aspects of branding. Whether you’re rebranding or launching your business, getting your logo design right is fundamental to making your brand instantly recognisable and providing a visual representation of what you do and what you stand for.
This page will guide you through why your logo is crucial, how to make sure it connects you to your target market and whether your best choice is to design your own logo or find a freelance logo designer.
What is a logo? What is the purpose of a logo? Characteristics of good logo design Elements of logo design Different logo types Getting started with logo design How to design a logo for free Why hiring a freelance logo designer is your best move How to hire a logo designer on Freelancer.com What to look for in a freelance logo designer How long does it take to have a logo designed? How much does it cost to hire a logo designer?
What is a logo?
A logo is the face of a brand. It may appear to be simply an image or a piece of text, but it identifies a business and helps build brand recognition. Logos are made up of images and texts that convey something about your business and appear on:
Your website Social media profiles Business cards Marketing materials Email signatures Letterheads Store fronts Banners Anywhere else you want your brand to be recognised
It’s important to recognise that logo design is just one element of branding. But it will be at the heart of pretty much every touch point on your customer’s journey so consistency is key to help embed it into the consumer psyche and keep your brand front and center of consumers’ minds.
What is the purpose of a logo?
A logo exists to promote and define your brand. It establishes credibility and professionalism by meeting a basic consumer demand to know what product or service you offer, what makes your brand different and what it stands for.
The art of logo design is to find the right blend that gives your brand its own identity and makes it stand out from your competitors. Your logo should reflect something of your USP and brand values with a distinctive style that still makes it clear what you sell. Ultimately, it should form a strong visual association of your brand and create an emotional connection with your target market.
Yes, there are some massive brands (Apple and McDonalds are great examples) that have logos that don’t necessarily reflect what they do, but they have earned the right to do that as they are already global brands. Go back to 1948 and McDonalds even had to explain their offering by including the words "Famous Hamburgers".
And the first iteration of Apple’s logo was very different from the image we all recognise today.
Logo designers tend to talk about seven different types of design:
Wordmarks – Using your name as your logo. Google and Disney are two obvious examples. This is a good choice if you have a memorable name for your business. The success of a wordmark logo is dependent on getting the typography and color palette right.
Lettermarks – Similar to wordmarks but uses just letters. Often used when the full name of the business is too long for a logo or as part of a rebranding process to shorten the name and make it roll off the tongue. Examples include HBO and HP. Lettermarks have increased in popularity with the advent of apps. When designing a lettermark logo, how it would appear on an app menu on your user’ phone is a major consideration.
Pictorial marks – Usually a single image that represents a brand. The Nike tick is an example. Although it is sometimes seen with the name or tagline next to it, the logo is a universal symbol of the brand even when seen on its own. Those with an artistic eye can condense an entire brand image and mission into a single symbol.
Combination mark – Combination marks combine symbols with words or letters. Burger King placed the words of their name between two cartoon burger buns to create a memorable logo that clearly displays the brand name and tells you what the business does.
Abstract logo marks – These are logos that use unique, often bespoke designed, symbols. Spotify is a prime illustration of a successful abstract logo mark. It’s simple, memorable and distinctive. The three lines clearly display that this is an innovative company at the forefront of the digital revolution. An abstract logo mark is a great way to generate a feeling that your brand is unique and something to be a part of. This can be a head start in building brand loyalty.
Mascots – Mascot logos are often used for products aimed at children and families. They incorporate anthropomorphic elements into their design so a character becomes the representation of the brand. The name Rich Uncle Pennybags may not mean anything to you, but when you see him, he is instantly recognisable as the face of Monopoly.
Emblems – Emblems typically combine words and imagery to create a crest, seal or badge style design. This can be tricky to get right as emblems can appear staid and outdated but they can also make your logo look official if this is something you want to convey.
Of course, you don’t need to stick to just one logo type. Combining different elements allows you to get creative and come up with something distinct and memorable.
The five principles of logo design
Fundamentally, your logo should highlight crucial information about your business. That might be the industry you work in, location, target demographic, ethos, or anything else that will resonate with your audience and make them take notice.
It should be instantly recognisable and clearly reflect your brand ethos and identity.
One of the biggest challenges in designing your own logo is being able to take a step back and assess your design ideas objectively. It’s important not to get hung up on your first idea or be influenced by personal taste.
Ask yourself whether your logo design is:
Memorable – Getting the balance right is crucial here. When starting out, it’s important that your logo design clearly encapsulates what you do as well as having something unique about it that makes it stand out among the thousands of other logos that consumers see on a daily basis. Focusing on the story or ethos your brand is built on will help ensure your logo is unique, meaningful and memorable. Relevant – When it comes to logo design, relevance means emotive, trustworthy, or both. It’s imperative that your logo connects with your audience and makes them feel the way you want them to feel. If you’re trying to sell a subscription service the logo needs to make consumers feel part of something. For a funeral parlor, it’s more important that your logo shows solemnity, seriousness and respect. Simple – Nobody wants to work hard to see what your logo is. The best and most memorable logos on the planet are often the simplest. Get to the point and don’t over complicate it. Timeless – It’s all well and good jumping on the latest craze, but that’s what your social media accounts are for. You should be aiming for a logo to last at least ten years. Not only does this give you the best possible opportunity to cement your brand in people’s minds, but it also prevents you from having to spend hard-earned profits updating your logo every few years. Scalable – You must be able to adapt your logo to different advertising opportunities and situations without having to adapt it. It needs to work on everything from letterheads to billboards, and social media profiles to whatever possibilities are thrown up by the Metaverse. It’s imperative that your logo can be used across all these platforms and more without compromising on quality or meaning.
Design is all about balance. Anything too generic or cliché will not get noticed or will appear ill thought out. Something too trendy will fail to convey a sense of longevity and authority and will quickly become dated.
Every decision and every iteration of your logo design should be judged against the five principles of logo design to make sure your focus is always on delivering something that drives results.
Elements of logo design
There are three main elements of good logo design and these must come together to complement and enhance one another.
When designing a logo for your brand, remember that old adage that it should be more than the sum of its parts. It’s not essential that every one of these is used, but you should explore each of them and think about what they can bring to your logo.
Ultimately, whether you incorporate text, images or both, and the color palette you choose, you should be able to explain your design decisions.
When you start looking at how to get started with logo design, you’ll hear the word ‘typography’ a lot. It basically means ‘font’ and refers to the style of lettering you choose.
This is a major decision and is heavily influenced by how you want your brand to be perceived. The font you choose should match your USP and complement the other areas of your logo design.
There are thousands of fonts available (and you can even have a logo designer create one just for you), but they can be broadly categorized into four styles:
Serif fonts are timeless and give a classic look to your typography. Serifs are the small ‘feet’ at the bottom of each letter. They are not always heavily pronounced and can still be used as part of contemporary logo design. Sans serif simply means without a serif. This typography provides a clean, modern appearance to the letters. Script fonts are designed to look like handwritten letters. There is a huge range of styles, from calligraphy to children’s handwriting. Display fonts are highly decorative and stylized. These can be great fun to design but are intricate and difficult to get right. Whereas it is difficult to go too far wrong with the other font choices, the slightest error in designing a display font can mean the difference between sophisticated and tacky.
If you choose a wordmark or lettermark logo and want to add a tagline, it should be in a different font. The second font must complement the main one and the overall styles should be aligned. Two fonts is generally considered the maximum for a logo design but, in certain circumstances, you may opt for a third if the design demands or allows it.
A tagline is not an essential element of a logo but can add some context or help to make it memorable.
This can be pretty much anything and getting it right often requires an artistic eye. Choosing an image that clearly displays what you do, like a car for a garage, can make it difficult for your logo to stand out. But equally, going for something too abstract might fail to clearly show what you do or to resonate with your target market.
Color psychology plays a significant part in branding and logo design and is a complete topic in its own right. One of the great things about color psychology is that it is something that we can all understand if we take a moment to consider the impact color has on our own mood so you don’t always need to rely on experts when it comes to choosing the right color palette for your brand.
As an overview of how color influences logo design:
Red represents excitement and passion. It is loud, brash and demands to be noticed. Orange is playful, energetic and youthful, making it a real feel-good color. Yellow is happy and indicates accessibility, affordability and friendly. It is the most visible color for the human eye and can be a scroll-stopper. Green has traditionally been seen to represent harmony, nature and life. It has become the go-to for brands looking to position themselves as environmentally friendly. Blue demonstrates trustworthiness and matches with pretty much any other color so can work to establish confidence alongside your major USP. Purple is a regal color and indicates luxury. It can also add a touch of mystery that suggests depth to your brand. Pink has traditionally indicated femininity and still does to a degree. But the variety of shades (from prim pastel pink to in-your-face neon pink) makes it incredibly versatile. Brown may not be a color typically associated with marketing, but it can be effective in conveying rugged, handmade or artisanal as a key concept of your brand Gray is mature, serious and can be a great way to add interest to a minimalist logo design that might otherwise look bland. Black is powerful and professional. It has a huge impact and exudes luxury, sophistication and authority. White indicates purity, transparency and modernity. It also makes the ideal background for other colors to really pop.
When choosing the colors for your logo design, it is important not to overdo it. Any more than three colors and the chances are the meaning of each of them becomes lost amid patchwork confusion.
Remember, the purpose of your logo is to grab the attention of your target consumers and draw them into finding out more about your brand. Concentrate on the color (or colors) that will highlight what makes your business unique. If you get your logo design right, you earn the right to elaborate on your USP.
The color wheel can be a great help in working out which colors and shades complement each other. Colors that are directly opposite on the wheel will contrast with and complement each other to provide dynamism.
Groups of three colors that appear alongside each other on the wheel are called ‘analogous colors’. Used together, they bring harmony to logo design.
If you want to use three colors, start your search by looking at ‘triadic colors’ that are equally spaced around the color wheel to ensure they are balanced. You may choose to subvert this rule but that must be a deliberate design decision and is something you should discuss with a professional logo designer to avoid making a costly error.
Before you start getting creative with color, design, typography and images, you need to go right back to basics and decide what you want your logo to be. Questions you need to ask include:
Why are you creating a logo? What is your brand identity? What is your vision or mission statement and how can that be conveyed in a logo? Why did you initially go into business? What makes your brand different? What are your brand values? What will grab the attention of your target consumers? If you’re redesigning a logo, what do you like about your current one? And what don’t you like about it? What are the positive and negative aspects of your competitor’s logos? (Remember your identifying themes not stealing ideas!) What three words would your ideal consumer use to describe your brand?
Oftentimes, a good old-fashioned brainstorming session is the best way to get ideas down on paper. Involving the whole team will provide a diverse set of suggestions while helping get your team onboard with the logo design.
If you’re a one-man band, invite a few friends around to make sure you get some different perspectives and design ideas.
Think about whether your brand is:
Local or global Serious or fun Innovative or traditional Digital or personal Cutting edge or stable
Once you have some ideas, why not create a mood board? Play about with different imagery, typography and color combinations and see what aligns itself with what you decided were the fundamental elements of your design aspirations.
How to design a logo for free
It’s quite common for start-ups and entrepreneurs to ask, ‘Can I design a logo for free?’
The answer is that there are countless websites that will allow you to create your own logo design completely without charge. For some, this might be the best decision. For others, it is a false economy.
If you only want to use your logo on business cards, your website and our social media profile pictures, using free software can provide you with an adequate logo. At least then you can start getting it out there to let your target market know you exist.
There are, however, some serious issues when it comes to DIY logo design:
Your logo will look generic and will fail to stand out. There is very little, if anything, by way of support from professional creatives. It is almost impossible to create something that truly represents your brand due to limited fonts and imagery. Fewer features are available. It can take you a long time to come up with a logo that doesn’t resonate with your audience.
Whether you are designing your own logo or hiring a freelance logo designer, you will need to carry out the same amount of preparation in terms of deciding the imagery, font and color combination.
With a professional logo designer taking on the task of turning your vision into reality, you can rest assured that they have the necessary skills and tools to create something truly unique.
If you choose to design your own logo, how much time it takes and how successful the end result is, will be determined to a large degree by your level of technical expertise. But if it takes you a full day to design a simple, generic looking logo that an expert could have generated in an hour, is your brand better or worse off for your decision to save a few pennies?
Hiring a freelance logo designer and then focusing your attention on what you do best rather than cobbling together a sub-standard logo would be a better use of your time and facilitate a more professional and effective logo.
Remember, if done properly, your logo design should last for a decade. This is something worth investing some money in to ensure you end up with a logo that serves its purpose. It may cost more to hire a professional logo designer. But think like a businessperson. It’s not all about the amount you spend. Success is measured by the return on our investment.
Why hiring a freelance logo designer is your best move
Even if you have an artistic eye and some technical design expertise, designing your own logo is rarely a good idea for several reasons:
Other aspects of running your business cannot be outsourced and demand your attention The best design ideas are collaborative It can often take longer than you envisaged Top quality designs require the best tools – these are too expensive to buy for a one-off project but professional designers already have them Professional logo designers are up to speed on the latest design trends and innovations They also know which designs and techniques have stood the test of time
You could choose a design agency to help with your logo design but they tend to be more costly than freelancers.
Freelancers usually have fewer overheads and this translates into better rates. They also have greater flexibility when it comes to negotiating price or deliverables.
Working relationships with freelance creatives are typically more personal and informal. Try to think ahead. While your intention might be for your logo to last more than a decade, there could be all sorts of other reasons you might want design services over the coming years.
It’s perfectly feasible that you could establish a relationship with an agency, but when you go back to them in two or three years, they may not have the same designers. Design is a very personal thing and when an individual leaves an agency, their particular spark goes with them. Working with a trusted freelancer ensures consistency across all design tasks. It also means the individual you work with in future design tasks knows your business and has already established a way to express your brand identity and values through symbolism.
Where can I find a logo designer?
Finding freelance logo designers online is easy. Finding one you know you can trust is slightly more challenging. Naturally, every designer describes themselves using words such as ‘innovative’, ‘professional’, ‘reliable’.
Only with independent reviews can you work out which ones have a body of work that reinforces their claims.
Freelancer.com is the world’s biggest freelance marketplace. You can find top logo designers from right across the globe and check out their portfolios and reviews for peace of mind and confidence.
How to hire a logo designer on Freelancer.com
There are three ways to find a freelance web designer using the platform:
Hire a freelancer directly Post a project Post a contest
To hire a freelancer directly, you need to have a good idea of the skills you want from your logo designer.
From the home page, click on ‘Find Freelancers’ and choose ‘By Skill’ from the dropdown menu. Then choose ‘Logo Designers’. You will be presented with a list of freelance logo designers. To narrow your search further, use the search parameters on the left of the screen.
Click ‘Hire Me’ to send a message to your chosen freelancer about your web design project.
Posting a project allows you to provide a description of your task and a price range.
A clear, detailed brief provides the best chance of having the top performing freelancers express an interest. Once you have posted your project, you will start to receive bids from freelance logo designers keen to work on your design.
As bids come in, pay attention to:
• Bid amount (Don’t automatically rule out a bid that is outside your proposed budget. You could negotiate a better price or pay extra for added quality)
• Written response (Is it specific to your brief?)
• Star rating (Out of 5)
• Client reviews
• Project completion rate
• On-time rate
• On-budget rate
Also look for:
The Preferred Freelancer badge. The orange badge with a white star that indicates they have achieved a high rating and good reviews - and have been accepted into the elite Preferred Freelancer Program.
The Verified badge. The blue shield with the white tick that shows Freelancer.com has verified the freelancer’s identity.
Posting a contest is often the best way to get a logo design. Once again it’s crucial that you provide a detailed brief. After posting your contest, you can keep checking on it and provide ratings or feedback on entries as they come in or wait until the closing date and then see what entries have been received.
Entrants will create their versions of your logo design so you can see exactly what is on offer and choose the one you like best according to the five principles of logo design.
How long does it take to have a logo designed?
This all depends on how complex the design is and how well you have carried out your preparation. If you have established a clear brand identity and know exactly what you want from your logo design, it makes your designer’s job easier and you should need fewer iterations to arrive at your perfect logo.
The first draft of a simple logo will typically be available within a couple of days and it shouldn’t normally take more than ten days for even the more complex designs to be ready for publication.
Be sure to discuss timescales when choosing which freelance logo designer to work with so you both know what is expected from the outset.
How much does it cost to hire a logo designer?
Again, the complexity of the design is instrumental in determining the cost. You could have a professional logo design that will last for years for as little as $100 but more complex designs can run to thousands.
A simple design for around $100 that lasts for ten years equates to $10 per year or $0.83 per month. When you break it down like that, it’s easy to see why a professional logo design that promotes your brand and drives conversions can drastically boost ROI.
Find a freelancer logo designer today and give your brand the presence and status it deserves.