How to make a logo for your small business

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Get a logo you'll love

A cool logo is an essential asset for any new business – the crest on your banner as you charge into battle. It’s also a really satisfying creative undertaking, officially bringing your brand to life with its unique visual signature. GoDaddy Studio makes logo design easy for non-designers. Let’s take a look at how it works…  

Editor’s note: If you use GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing, you already have access to GoDaddy Studio as part of your package. Alternatively, you can sign up for GoDaddy Studio here.

For most people getting ready to make their dream venture a reality, “get a logo” is often one of the first notes they’ll scribble on the to-do list. There’s undoubtedly a psychological benefit to getting your logo designed early in the brand-building process. Your logo is the flag you fly out there in the world, a symbol for your brand’s unique story. Done right, it can create an instant impression of what you’re all about.  

But it also symbolizes an accomplishment. Your logo announces that you are here, and you are ready for business. As soon as you start seeing your logo on your social designs, website, business cards, products, or even signage, it all starts to feel much more real.  

Designing your logo is the logical first step in developing a full brand identity. Considering that your logo always needs to feel perfectly relevant in any design you create, it does in many ways become the sun in your design solar system. More practically, this is likely to be your first creative project in assembling a full brand identity kit – so fall in love with the process and have some fun with it. 

Don’t forget that all the designs you see here are available through GoDaddy Studio, for you to customize your own logo.

GoDaddy Studio makes it easier than you imagined to design a professional logo all by yourself. In this post we’ll take you through the set-by-step process of creating a logo, focused on four key elements you’ll be selecting:

  • Fonts
  • Graphics
  • Shapes
  • Colours

Along the way, we’ll include some design advice from folks in our design team here at GoDaddy.

Getting started with creating a logo

Let’s dive right in with a few basic principles of logo design, to set up some guard rails. Senior UX designer, Daniel, reckons there are four key principles your logo should adhere to. Throughout the design process, keep asking yourself if your logo is moving towards being:

  • Simple
  • Timeless
  • Appropriate
  • Relevant

Inspiration is your starting point. Daniel suggests looking around at what popular logos inspire you: “Analyze their characteristics. Decide what you would like to capture in your new logo and take the findings into your creative process.”

“Definitely don’t copy someone else!” says Kaeli, our brand designer at GoDaddy Studio. “Finding inspiration is natural, but you want your logo to be uniquely you.”

You should have your brand’s story defined before you commit to a logo design. Through this process you would have worked out some ideas about the personality of your brand, so draw on that.

Kaeli likes to think of a brand as a living entity: “Question who the brand would be if they were a person. Make notes of a few adjectives which describe that person.”

“Hold this imaginary person in your mind. As you design your logo, ask yourself if the font you are using matches that description.”

You’ll quickly find that human traits like ‘playful’, ‘unconventional’, or ‘elegant’ are equally applicable to fonts and graphics.

Fonts for a logo

Fonts in particular come baked in with cultural meaning and expectations. Here are a few examples.

Serif fonts tend to represent tradition, respectability and discernment:

Sans Serif fonts signal modernity, objectivity and even innovation:

Modern fonts are progressive, strong and stylish:

Display fonts are friendly, expressive and amusing:

If you’re really intimidated by the idea of designing a logo, don’t forget that you can always just find the perfect font, and go minimalist with text only (referred to as a ‘wordmark’ in design circles). Many brands, even some of the world’s biggest, opt for this no-nonsense route. It’s a pretty confident move, in fact.

In Daniel’s view, this is an important upfront decision to make: “Decide if your logo is just a word, or a combination of a logomark and a wordmark. The best approach is to start simple.”

It’s quite common to have both a wordmark and a logomark in your design kit. They can live together, or separately in certain situations. Bear in mind that it could take some time for your logo to be recognised on its own, without the brand name visible.

Some of our favourite fonts for Logotype designs

If you’re going the text only route for your logo design, don’t settle for the default.

“GoDaddy Studio allows you to control the spacing between letters (‘tracking’), as well as the curvature,” explains Aqeela S, our  brand & product designer.

“Play around and see how tracking and curving makes your logo that much more unique.”

Graphics in your logo

Alongside the perfect font, the perfect graphic is the other vital ingredient for a great logo design. This will essentially be the icon of your brand, and there are a few different approaches when it comes to thinking about this:

Literal

A universally understood object associated with your industry. For example, a wave for a surf brand, or a spectacles for an optometrist.

Lateral

An icon that alludes to your story or your point of difference. For example, a sunrise representing a new dawn in your industry, or a tree to stir up associations with growth.

Narrative

A key figure, place, or object in in the story of your brand. For example, the beagle your doggy couture line is named after, or the historic homestead on your farm.

Abstract

A brand new symbol or shape that have never existed so that you can build a brand free of cultural or category baggage. In these instances, story is perhaps less important than an impactful design.

The best part about GoDaddy Studio is that you don’t have to create these illustrations from scratch or have them commissioned. Whether it’s something simplified, or realistic, we have thousands of illustrated graphics to choose from in our library – the perfect foundation for a logo design.

Another idea is to use the first letter(s) of your brand’s name as a logo, with the full name underneath it. If you go this route, a basic font won’t cut it – you’ll want to look for something more elaborate or decorative. And don’t worry about finding an affordable calligrapher, because we have a whole stack of ornamental alphabet graphics to choose from in GoDaddy Studio.

Framing your logo with a circle

A circle is one of the most commonly used shapes for a logo, with the wordmark or logomark often appearing within the circle. Aside from being perfectly balanced, it’s a great device for creating a boundary for your logo. This can make it much easier to add to a design, almost like placing a sticker.

A classic recipe for logo design incorporates all 3 of these elements:

  • Text: The name of your brand, and maybe a slogan or descriptor
  • Graphic: The central, representational element in your design.
  • Shape: Something to contain your logo – perhaps a circle, a box, a sunburst, or a banner.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to easily combine these into a logo design in GoDaddy Studio.

 

Contrast and logos

Size is the other crucial aspect to consider when designing your own logo. Your logo needs to be scalable – in other words, it must be legible and look good at any size. Hopefully, it ends up on the side of a building one day… but it also needs to be visible as a thumbnail on a website, or a tiny little tag in a T-shirt.

“Contrast is something you really need to think about,” according to GoDaddy Studio’s UX designer, Aqeela V.

“Fine details, or similar colours next to each other, will be very hard for the eye to make out at small sizes.”

Size, spacing, and colour combinations all affect contrast. The smaller the difference between lines, letters, or colours, the harder it is to read.

In this regard, it’s also important to export your logo design in a file format that will allow scaling, and placement.

“Always export your logo on a transparent background, as a hi-res PNG or PDF file,” Aqeela S suggests.

“This will enable you to resize it later and use it in almost any context.”

Colour in your logo

When it comes to colour, less is always more.

“Use colour sparingly,” Daniel advises. “Only introduce colours to your logo once you’ve established it working in black and white. Make sure it works in its simplest form first.”

Almost all brands will have colour and monochrome options for their logo, and we suggest you do too. “Only apply colour if it’s on neutral backgrounds, or its a complementary colour to your brand colours,” is Daniel’s advice.

A colour logo might look great on your business card, but it could blend in and disappear on a photographic image, for example. Single colour logo options are also really useful when it comes to printing things like business cards, T-shirts, or stickers, since it’ll lower the cost.

A single colour logo is also very useful for seasonal, campaign, or collab applications. You can easily create unique colour variations (rainbow during Pride month, or green on St. Patrick’s Day), and use different graphic backgrounds to keep your brand identity fresh and dynamic.

Saving and using your logo

Once you’ve arrived at a design you’re happy with (including some variations) don’t forget to save them as hi-res PNG files, and then upload them to your Logos folder if you’re using the app. They’ll remain saved here, so you can add them to any of your designs in an instant. If you’ve used the desktop version of GoDaddy Studio, you can find any images you create in the projects section.

The final step in the logo design process is to see how it lives in the wild, so to speak.

“Test your new logo on everything,” is Daniel’s advice: “Use the mockups in our Graphic collections and test your logo on everything from coffee mugs to stationery assets. A good logo is adaptable.”

 

With your logo saved in GoDaddy Studio, you can also use the app to place it in any deign, or scene. It’s a great way to create mock-ups for potential products.

Remember – it’s a process. Play around, make some mistakes. Go for a walk around the block and come back to it. You’re unlikely to get it perfectly right on the first go, so commit to ongoing refinement.

“Know that even the most experienced designers go through dozens of iterations,” is Kaeli’s final nugget of advice. “Keep going until it feels exactly right.”

Because it will. And when it does… well then we’re just getting started.

Don’t forget, GoDaddy Studio comes as standard with Websites + Marketing and is also available as a standalone product.

 

Image by: All images #MadeWithGoDaddyStudio

Dylan is a content strategist at GoDaddy Studio, developing ideas to help everyday entrepreneurs unlock the power of their creativity. He’s motivated by the triumph of the underdog, and believes everybody should be nurturing a side hustle…. just in case. Based in Cape Town, Dylan has previously worked as a writer, photographer, magazine editor, and creative director.