Today, hundreds of thousands of designers offer logos at prices ranging from $10 to $10,000. Some of the world’s most popular logos have been designed for less than $1,000, while some corporations have paid millions for what they hope to be the “perfect” design.
In a market where dollars spent has little to do with the quality of the final result, what can you do to make sure your company’s logo represents your firm, stands out in your market, and resonates with your customers?
This guide outlines an 8-step process for launching a logo you can be proud of.
Step 1: Gather a feedback group
You can choose a stronger logo design if you get feedback from multiple perspectives. A group of 6-10 people can give you a diversity of opinions without overcomplicating the process.
You can recruit a feedback group from family, friends, employees, and even a few loyal customers. Getting input from diverse genders and demographics will help ensure your design has broad appeal.
Most of the time, companies hire a logo designer to produce initial concepts, then turn to their feedback group for input. Other companies prefer to gather a feedback group first, develop some concepts within the group, then bring in a designer to sketch out their ideas.
Either way, involving a feedback group in the process is an opportunity to not just produce a better logo, but also to bring your team together, show respect for each other’s opinions, and give your team a sense of shared ownership over your organization’s visual identity.
Step 2: Decide whether to design a logotype, logomark, or a combination
Logos can be broken into three categories. You might know what kind of logo you want right away. If you do, sharing your preference with your designer will get the design off to a fast start. If you’re not sure, a designer can help you decide, usually by considering current trends as well as the contexts where your logo is going to be featured.
A logotype features am organization’s name in a distinctive design. The most common reason for using this design is to enhance name recognition.
While a few logotypes stand the test of time, most companies update their logo every decade to keep up with changing tastes in typography.
A logomark is a graphic symbol that represents an organization. You might decide to use a logomark to be more international or more iconic. Compared to a logotype, a logomark can fit into a tighter space, be more discreet, and increase visibility at long distances.
Want the best of both worlds? Your logo can combine a logotype and logomark to maximize name recognition and graphic impact.
A combination logo requires more space than a logotype or logomark. If you have a large sign, or you’re placing the logo in the center of a video screen, then people will be able to read it. However, if you push it into the corner of a mailer or website header, it can appear too complex for the small space it occupies.
If you love the look of a combined logotype and logomark, you’re not alone. It’s the most popular format for a company’s first logo. You can work around sizing limitations by creating a logomark variant or smaller placements like social media icons.
Step 3: Set a budget for your logo
Logos have a wide price range.
The higher the stakes, the higher companies are likely to pay for their logo.
Meanwhile, some of history’s most famous logos were designed by amateurs and creative freelancers.
- Coca-Cola – $0, designed by the inventor’s bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson
- Twitter – $15, designed by Simon Oxley
- Google – $0, designed by computer scientist and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. (Other sources credit Larry Page, the other Google co-founder.)
- Nike – $35, designed by Carolyn Davidson. (Thankfully, Nike’s founder saw fit to tip her with 5,600 Nike shares in 1983.)
What do these stories tell us?
The deposit you pay for your logo may or may not produce an iconic design, no matter how much you pay. A thoughtful, beautiful, and successful design depends on less material factors.
The keys to a good design are:
- An artist or agency with whom you have a good rapport, who shows commitment to your project, and who is willing to collaborate
- An agency that will provide multiple design options and that will work with you through multiple iterations
- Your own commitment to having a thoughtful discussion, so you can provide your agency with answers to their questions and feedback on their work
- At least $50k…. Just kidding, $1,000-5,000 is typical. If you’re comfortable, you can also pay less. (At Nexus, for example, we only charge $248, since this price point helps us make our services accessible to more business owners.)
Step 4: Decide on your vendor
Here are several logo design vendors that are popular today.
- 99Designs and DesignCrowd allow you to crowdsource your logo with design submissions from dozens of designers.
- Looka produces logos using artificial intelligence based on your input.
- UpWork lets you to hire freelance professionals around the world.
- Fiverr helps you to hire designers who are often extremely affordable.
- The Logo Company gives you design options from 5 professional designers.
If you would like your experience to be more facilitated, a creative agency like Nexus Marketing’s logo design service will provide design resources, creative direction, and project management to ensure you have a smooth design process and receive a quality, timely delivery.
Hiring a freelance vendor can be hit and miss. The ability to communicate clearly, follow direction, deliver on time, and send clean files are all essential. If you work with a freelancer, review their portfolio and customer reviews.
A freelancer will require you to list every production requirement, and will generally expect you to provide all creative direction. An agency will ask for your input, but can guide you through the design process, make creative suggestions, and even push back if they see a reason you should consider doing something differently from the approach you have in mind. (While an individual freelancer may act in this capacity, it’s less likely to be the case than when working with an agency.)
While a freelancer is generally limited to their own design ideas, an agency will tend to work with multiple designers in order to deliver more options. A wider selection of design ideas can often result in a logo you’re more satisfied with.
Many designers charge extra for the full collection of assets that you should purchase. When hiring a designer, you should agree beforehand on what assets they will deliver.
Your logo designer should always deliver an AI file, or at least an EPS file. Both file types are considered “vector” image formats. Vector images can be scaled infinitely (as opposed to rasterized formats like JPG or PNG). Additionally, both file types are compatible with most graphic design software. (AI files are especially conducive to editing.)
In addition, you should receive:
- a high-resolution PNG (about 2,000 pixels across) with a transparent background, suitable for print and social media assets
- a JPG with the background color your designer selects to complement your logo, which can be used for social media icons and other related assets
- a scalable SVG, ideal for your website header
Step 5: Decide on a logo design style
Different logo styles suit different industries and brand personalities. The next step in the design process is to decide what style makes sense for your organization.
These styles are popular today.
- Text Based
- Vintage and Retro
Step 6: Help your logo designer get started
To kickstart your project, prepare some information for your logo designer. You can give your designer input on anything from colors and shapes to preferences in graphic elements and typography.
You can use this as a checklist of possible items to share with your designer. The more input you share, the more likely you are to like the first draft your designer sends you.
- Your company name
- Website URL
- Paragraph business description
- Brand HEX colors
- Brand personality adjectives
- 5+ similar logos you like
- Any graphic suggestions
- Any typography preferences
- 2-4 competitors’ websites
- Preference of a logotype, logomark, or combination
- Preferred logo design style
If you don’t have the answers to all these questions, that’s ok! Send what you have. An agency or professional designer can guide you with the rest or come up with solutions for you.
If you’re a small business, you may want to add a trademark (™) if you sell products or a service mark (℠) if you sell services. This can enhance your legal protection by publicly claiming your ownership of the logo. You can switch to displaying a registered mark (®) once you’ve registered the logo with your federal government. If you decide to add one of these symbols, avoid distracting the viewer from your logo with an overly large symbol.
Brand experts do not recommend adding a legal designation (LLC, INC, or LTD) to your logo. It’s also not necessary from a legal standpoint.
Step 7: Design your logo variants
Your favicon is a small image that displays next to your URL in a browser search bar. In most cases, companies select an element from their logo to be their favicon. (For example, type in Bloomberg.com. Once you arrive on their website, you’ll see that their favicon is a large B.)
Prepare a favicon as a 512 x 512 PNG to cover all use cases. However, realize that your icon will be shrunk to a tiny 32 x 32 in most applications.
A social media icon (or profile picture) is bigger than a favicon. To future-proof, I suggest creating a social media icon as a 800 x 800 JPG, or even 1,600 x 1,600. Keep in mind that social icons are usually viewed in a small part of the screen (about 100 x 100) unless a user clicks on the icon to see a larger image.
You’ll upload a square image to social media sites, and your artwork should extend all the way to the edges of the square. However, allow for clearance (empty space) around your logo so that the circle crop doesn’t cut out any part of your logo itself.
Many designers base a brand’s social media icon on the favicon since both images need to be recognizable at very small sizes.
It’s best to avoid using text in a social media icon unless it’s a just a letter or two (like Facebook’s classic “f” logomark). Since your icon will be displayed next to your brand name or social media handle, repeating the text inside the small icon would be redundant (not to mention, illegible at small sizes). If you own a personal brand, it’s ok for your social media icon to be a photo. For more corporate identities, it’s best to find a graphic element from your logo.
Having your logo in black and white will make it easier for your team to use in certain applications. For example, if you’re printing your logo on an invoice, you may need an all-black logo variant. If you’re printing in white ink on a t-shirt or mug, you’ll need an all-white variant. Having the right variants on hand will save your team time and trouble when they eventually need them.
If your logo is a combined logotype and logomark, your designer may have chosen to create a stacked version (with the logomark above the logotype) or a horizontal version (with your logomark to the left of the logotype). It can be useful to have both versions, since certain applications will naturally lend themselves to a horizontal variant (a website header, email footer, or banner ad, for example). In other applications, you’ll have more vertical space and a vertical variant will look better (perhaps on a product package or the back of a business card).
It’s a good idea to make your stacked and horizontal variants each available in color, black, and white so your team will have maximum flexibility for various projects.
If you create videos for social media, consider investing in a logo animation. An animation can add extra expression to the static design. Usually this will be handled by a “motion designer” or “logo animator”.
There are many animators on Fiverr who can assist with this, or you can ask your agency to manage the animation process as part of your design service.
Make sure to provide your motion designer with:
- the AI version of your logo
- any tagline that you might like animated underneath your logo
- a link to your YouTube or social media accounts (so they can get a sense of how the logo might be used in context)
- animations you like that they can refer to for inspiration
Your logo will only look good if it’s used appropriately and consistently.
Many people interact with a logo including executives, marketing teams, and third parties. A style guide is a document that helps everyone select the best variant for their application and place the logo in a way that your designer would approve.
Check out style guide examples from:
If only a few designers use your logo, internal communication could suffice and a style guide could be overkill. If a lot of people use your logo for a variety of purposes, a style guide can be a useful tool for documenting best practices.
Step 8: Share your design!
On your launch date, update each of your social media profiles, your website, email signature, and online profiles. It may help to make a checklist before you begin so that you can update each profile swiftly. Afterwards, update your print materials, signage, and anything else.
There are a number of ways to share your logo with the world.
- Write a blog post about your new logo and explain any meaning behind your design decisions. Repost your blog post on LinkedIn and Medium for extra exposure.
- Post about your new logo on all your social media channels. Share a brief word about the design, and link to your blog post if you have one.
- Reach out to bloggers or journalists who cover graphic design in your industry and ask if they would be interested in covering your launch. To get a list of names, look up who covered your competitors’ logo launches.