Can a non-designer create a simple logo design that works?
Follow the steps below to learn how to create a simple word mark logo. This is a simple logo design style that’s used by some of the most powerful corporations in the world.
Here’s why I wrote this article:
One of my course students asked whether or not she needed a logo for her business.
You might think that’s like asking a surgeon if you need surgery for a medical problem.
(Their answer? “Of course you do!”)
I’m here to tell you that you can get away with not having a logo.
And it doesn’t mean you can just type out your business name in Helvetica and call it a day!
Instead, I want you to embrace a simple logo design style that’s used by brands like FedEx, Coca-Cola, Google, and more.
Simple logo design rule #1: Pick a brand font with personality
If you haven’t chosen a brand font yet, these two simple steps will help:
- Take five minutes to do my free brand personality quiz to discover what your basic brand personality is
- Read this post: Brand Fonts: Why Some Website Typeface Combinations Look So Stunning
Let’s imagine our friend Doug, who loves donuts and coffee so much, he’s going to open a little breakfast counter on Main Street that specializes in caffeinated, roasted beverages, and fragrant, fresh donuts.
Doug doesn’t have the budget to hire a designer, but he wants to do something to distinguish his business. He starts by typing out his business name in Helvetica:
So Doug looks at different typefaces to see if he can find one with a little more personality.
Related: Free Font Resources
He comes across Futura, and notices that the “o” in this typeface looks a lot like a nice, round donut — and the top view of a coffee cup!
Perfect. His simple logo design now has a font with some personality — and some design potential.
Simple logo design rule #2: Tighten up the letter spacing
Futura straight out of the box doesn’t really work as a logo font.
That’s because most fonts are designed to be readable at text sizes. The weight, letter spacing, and overall design look great when used small.
What happens when you enlarge the font to use it logo sized?
When you enlarge the font, the spacing between letters is enlarged, too, and the letters look too spread out.
So Doug tightens up the letter spacing by squinching (technical term ;-)) the letters closer together.
Even word processing programs will let you do this: look for character or letter spacing settings.
That’s what Doug gets after adjusting letter spacing. But he wants to take it up a notch.
What are his options? Read on …
Simple logo design rule #3: Give your design some zip
His simple logo design is looking better, but Doug wants more!
He decides to punch up the design a bit.
The easiest way to do this is to simply look at the letter forms. Are there letters — or whole words — that you could emphasize?
Can you make specific words or letters:
- ALL CAPS
Doug finds a brown color that reminds him of coffee, and a nice, warm orange that looks a little like the icing on his popular pumpkin-spice donut.
He emphasizes the round “o” letters by making them bold, and changing the color.
Finally! Doug has a simple logo design he’s proud of! It’s a memorable word mark logo he can associate with his business.
Designing your brand? Watch this free design workshop
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on March 10, 2011. Great design is evergreen, so trends haven’t changed much since then. Even so, it’s been updated with new resources and clearer information. Enjoy!