How to create an eye-catching small business logo design
- Logos are essential to building long-term loyalty and generating new sales leads
- Colors and fonts greatly impact how customers perceive your brand
- Hiring a professional designer is an affordable, one-time investment that helps you create a custom logo you can trademark
Creating a small business logo design is an essential step in the branding process. With a memorable logo, your brand can build a loyal audience. But successful logo creation doesn’t happen overnight. With a strategic design process, you can leave the best first impression on your audience. Here’s what you need to know about designing a great small business logo, whether you hire a professional or do it yourself.
Why do logos matter?
Your logo is a core piece of your visual brand identity: It’s what people use to identify your business. When customers recognize your small business logo design on your website, business cards, online marketing channels, and anywhere else they engage with your brand, you create a consistent experience for each buyer.
As you develop your customer relationships over time, your logo itself can evoke a sense of trust and foster loyalty. A professional logo design is also key to generating leads. With your own logo, you can not only captivate your audience, but also stand out from the competition. As such, a custom logo plays a big role in helping you grow your small business.
5 elements of a successful logo
There’s no such thing as a perfect logo. Every company is different and so are your target customers. Successful company logos are designed to attract a specific audience and send a unique brand message. Before you start designing, think about your target audience and what kind of message makes sense for them.
No matter the audience or industry, every small business owner should keep these five elements in mind during the design process.
Color is one of the most enticing elements of a logo. Most small businesses select up to two colors for their logos, which should align with their brand’s core colors.
If you haven’t selected your brand’s color palette yet, take some time to complete this important step. Different colors can evoke different feelings, and you want to make sure your brand is sending the right message. For example, blues tend to evoke a sense of trust and security—it’s no wonder that blue is often used by financial institutions like Chase and American Express.
Even specific shades can make a difference. Think about how the iconic Tiffany Blue feels a lot softer than Facebook’s darker, neutral blue (which is also an accessible color inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s color blindness).
Although you’re not required to include your business name in your logo, many companies do, like Adidas and Amazon. If you opt for text, use your primary brand font. If you don’t have one already, choose wisely.
Just like colors, typography sends a message about your company. For example, serif fonts like Times New Roman tend to be more serious and traditional, while sans serif fonts like Arial feel more modern and creative. Try playing around with different fonts and colors until you find something that feels right.
Simplicity is key when designing a new logo. Not only is simplicity a big trend in graphic design, but it’s also a great way to make your logo more memorable. Everyone can quickly identify the Nike swoosh or the McDonald’s arches because they’re simple without being too generic.
Even the Starbucks logo—one of the most complex logos from a major brand—has greatly simplified over time, focusing on its most iconic element: the mermaid.
A high-quality, small business logo design should fit in wherever it’s put on display. It’s designed to work on a variety of design backgrounds, platforms (like your small business website and social media channels), and mediums (like T-shirts and mugs) without getting cut off or distorted.
Logos that fit within a square tend to be the most versatile, especially since most social media platforms use square profile images.
5. Brand identity
Your small business logo should be true to your brand. You want it to tell your story and send your brand message. This is ultimately what makes it the most memorable emblem possible. For example, the logo for Full Spiral Salon in Santa Barbara, California—which specializes in natural styles and textures—includes a representation of a kinky curl. “We really try to create this environment that allows people to see themselves. That’s why our name is Full Spiral and why our logo is a spiral,” co-owner Ashe Brown said. “We try to empower women who do have curly hair and tell them that this is their crown.”
If you’re starting a business from scratch and want help integrating your logo with the rest of your branding, you can consider hiring a designer to help you create a complete branding package, which can include a logo, graphic elements, and complete design style guide. This can cost as little as $1,500 with a freelancer.
Outsourcing your small business logo design
If you don’t have design experience, the easiest way to get a custom logo design is to hire a professional graphic designer. Working with a pro can help you create a lasting logo that’s unique to your brand.
Even if you have a startup with a tight budget, logo design can be affordable—it just takes knowing what type of professional to seek out and how much budget you can put toward it.
Selecting your professional designer
Small business owners usually hire freelance graphic designers to create their logo designs. Freelancers tend to be significantly more affordable than design agencies, which can charge thousands of dollars for logo designs or branding packages.
You can find quality logo designers using a variety of sources, from freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr to business platforms like Yelp. But before you choose a professional, make sure that your designer will:
- Give you full ownership rights to the logo. Unless the designer has explicitly transferred the rights to you, they can claim to own their creation.
- Provide the final design in multiple high-resolution file formats. This includes vector files, which use precise dots, lines, and curves instead of colored blocks (pixels) and are necessary for retaining quality when printing at any size.
- Send you finalized logos within your desired time frame. Typically, designers require 3-4 weeks to complete a logo from scratch.
Always ask for design samples and a consultation before you commit to any logo design service to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Entry-level designers can provide custom logo designs for as little as $100–$300. At the low end, you may get fewer logo options (though usually at least two) to choose from. For a more exact price estimate, specify the number of design options you want to receive upfront.
With more experienced designers, you can expect to pay $300–$800 for up to 10 unique logo design options. Revisions are typically included, as long as you’re not asking for a completely new design.
Experience can make a big difference when you want an enticing, versatile logo that stands the test of time. Experienced freelancers can be worth the higher price point, as a logo is a one-time investment that will solidify your branding for decades.
Skip the logo generators
Although you can find significantly more affordable (and sometimes free) logos by using automated online logo makers, it’s best to avoid these services. Logo generators are cheap because they use algorithms to build your logo, which means you’ll likely end up with a generic design that doesn’t help you stand out. And since the logo generators recycle design elements, you won’t be able to trademark your logo in the future. Plus, your logo could look similar to others.
Should you create your own small business logo?
If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional for your small business logo design, it’s possible to save money by taking the DIY route—at least for the initial design process. While you may face some limitations if you don’t have design skills, the DIY approach can help you save during the ideation process.
To nail down a solid logo idea, start by doing your own research, looking at design trends in your industry, and sketching out some ideas of your own. This means you won’t need to hire anyone to do the strategizing for you.
However, when it comes to DIY logo creation, design skills come in handy. To build a completely unique logo, you should use a vector-friendly program like Adobe Illustrator. Vectors can scale to any size without getting blurry or pixelated.
There are also free graphic design platforms that simplify the process, like Canva and Adobe Spark. But keep in mind that these platforms don’t support vector files, which offer the high resolution that’s needed for print. If you go this route, you’ll mainly be able to use your logos for virtual designs (like on social media or your website), which can be fine when you’re just starting out. Unfortunately, logos created on these platforms generally cannot be trademarked since you’re using logo templates and design elements that are available publicly.
One affordable option for business owners who lack design skills is to brainstorm an idea and then hire a freelance professional to finalize the design at an hourly rate. Experienced designers can take a design from sketch to completion in as little as one to two hours at a rate of $60–$150 per hour (varies by experience level and location).
Stand out with a stellar small business logo
A strong small business logo design is crucial to building a successful brand. When you pay attention to the five key elements of a successful logo—color, font, simplicity, versatility, and brand identity—your logo can create great first impressions and inspire lasting loyalty. For a successful logo, consider outsourcing to a professional designer, especially if you don’t have design skills yourself.
Once you’ve created your logo, claim your Yelp Business Page to start establishing your visual identity across the internet.
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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.