If you’ve thoroughly considered your audience and you’re considering what you need to say, you’re halfway there. A logo is a graphical representation of your brand voice and examining your brand traits and audience is going to give you a much clearer idea of your goals. If you haven’t done the research yet, it’s time to take a step back and do it.
Colour is more important than you may think. If we think red, we think of the likes of Coke and McDonalds. Brands quickly become synonymous with the visual perception of the organisation and its colour choices. Colours convey emotions, primary colours more so, and can often invoke strong preconceptions. Green is for the environment and growth, grey is professional and reliable, blue for technology or cleanliness, etc. Mixing colours can often provide solutions, though beware of using pale pastels as they can be weak and often need to be mixed with primary colours in order to add strength and to complement and enhance them. Listing your brand traits and core concepts, and assigning them colours and emotions is a great way to start (but not necessarily the way to finish – this is a process, remember).
Text is invariably at a minimum in a logo design, as it should be. But when it is present, it is just as important as colour and offers a separate target for the eyes and conveys additional information. If possible, keep it to a minimum.
Lower case can offer an honest and open feel – sometimes (depending on font) even child-like – while upper-case wording can be bold, even aggressive and ‘in-your-face’ if not balanced with the rest of the design. Some fonts (like Ariel, Helvetica, etc.) are easier to read at a distance because they lack serifs. Fonts with serifs offer a sense of reliability, tradition, and offer the perception of a flow of information. Cursive fonts are more challenging to the eye, and should be used only with balanced elements to avoid seeming ‘fussy’.
The biggest tip that can be offered when designing any imagery is to test any graphics (with and without the rest of the logo) with a pool of consumers afterwards. It’s essential the graphics do not misrepresent the brand and can’t be misconstrued as anything else. The human mind is a quagmire of imagery and relationships, and it’s important you are associated with your key principals and not something random you hadn’t foreseen. There have been some unfortunate choices over the years, which must have looked perfectly innocent on the drawing board. Take a good look at your final design and ask the opinions of others. Giving people a list of brand attributes and asking them which apply to the logo is a good start. Don’t presume you’ll get it right first time. Try it in-situ – on the side of your van, on a letter head, on an email footer – or blow it up to wall size and paste it up in your office to generate conversation. Testing is important, as is research, to achieve the results that will stay with you forever.