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Home » Do-it-yourself » Logo Design 101: Understanding the Elements and Principles

Logo Design 101: Understanding the Elements and Principles

Standing out in the crowd is easier said than done for most businesses.

You have to have a strong brand, modern features, and a fresh take on your business. Having a strong logo is paramount for a successful business in this economy. The elements and principles of logo design do not change, despite a rapidly changing business landscape.

It takes only 10 seconds for a consumer to decide whether they like your logo or not. Don’t blow it by ignoring the key components of making a logo. You could wind up regretting how little time/money you spent on your logo design.

To make a strong logo you need more than just pretty graphics or flexible design. There are some key components of a logo that you must abide by while staying unique and authentic to your brand. We’re going to take you through the steps of designing a logo and taking advantage of marketing.

Your Identity

A logo should represent your brand in a visual container.

Logos tell a story and represent what your company is in business for. Understanding your target audience is going to be a key factor in designing an appropriate logo. For example, if your brand represents a younger, faster, and cooler alternative to your competitors, then your logo should reflect that.

Never design a logo for what you personally would like to see, but design a logo that fits your target demographics the most. For example, if your target audience is going to be older demographics then avoid flashy and minimalist logo designs. Once you’ve done the market research on what your target demographics are then you should be ready to move on to actual designing stages for your logo.

black logo design ideas

Never jump the gun and start designing your logo first before doing proper market research. It’s much harder to have to go back and redesign your logo or updated to fit your needs. It’s also much more expensive to have to do a logo redesign or start from scratch altogether.

Telling Your Story

As we mentioned earlier, your logo should tell the story of your brand. Even if you’re a startup company, you have some kind of story to tell. This could be the actual history of the formation of your company or it could be the story of a new idea or concept.

Gather everybody that’s responsible for the launch of your company and start brainstorming on what represents your brand. Keep an open mind to everything as people suggest animals, objects, shapes, colors, and etc.

The story doesn’t even necessarily need to be personal. Take, for instance, Starbuck’s logo. It has a rich story that has to do with “Pequod,” a ship’s first mate in a tale of adventure. The logo also relates to the Greek sirens, which are said to have lured sailors to their fate at sea in a moment of weakness.

Starbucks Logo Design

Sounds like what a coffee shop does to every one of us who passes by, right? Now, take this method of storytelling and apply it to your brand. You may find yourself digging through old historic texts all night. Make sure you stock up on coffee.

Start Simple

Making your logo easily identifiable is very important. Even if you have a complex story or a really cool design idea, it’s important to break it down into basic elements.

You have to remember, your logo’s going to be used on a wide variety of mediums and platforms. So, even if you have an awesome logo with a bunch of cool detail to stand out, all of it could be lost on a viewer who doesn’t have time to study it.

You can save these details for other uses, such as using negative space in your simple logo design. People love hidden Easter eggs in logos. Take, for instance, the NBC logo. From afar, it’s an iconic rainbow of colors, but up close you can see the outline of a peacock’s head in the middle.

NBC Logo

Try designing your logo in black and white first. If your logo doesn’t translate well on simple black and white, it may be too complex or lack a shape.

Think of all the timeless logos out there that easily translate to a black silhouette. The Apple symbol is one example that is easily recognizable as a 2-D black shape.


Of course, going too simplistic is the opposite of what you want to do to stand out. As a new startup company, you have to go into it trying to design something that is both familiar and unique. Take for instance the classic globe shape logos that we all see.

Usually, the logos are related to some type of international trade, commerce, or things of that nature. You should think about taking a simple world or globe logo design and make it your own. This can be a change in color, a subtle change in shape, or something added to the globe to make it stand out.

Universal Music Group logo


Take a look at some creative education logos for inspiration. Everything revolving around education seems typical and boring. Good logo design can transform a book into a magical tome.

Look outside the box, become the box, do origami with the box.


Fonts and typography are key elements and principles of logo design.

Over the years sans-serif fonts have been a staple among logos. However, as technology and design progress, there have been so many more font choices created that can help your branding and logo stand out from the rest of the pack.


Just check out some companies that have switched from a boring standard serif font to a more modern, updated font. Google is a good example of having such a simple logo, yet still being able to transform it into a more modern appearance just from its typography and font choices alone.

New 2015 Google Logo Design

Ideally, you should try to go for a custom designed font. This kind of work can be expensive, but it’s an investment for the future. A custom font will stand out and uniquely tied to your brand identity.


This is another often overlooked and underappreciated part of logo design principles. Color is important for many reasons: visibility, conveying emotion, and psychological interpretation. Generally speaking though, you don’t want to have too many colors in your logo.

There are definitely some bad color combinations you should avoid, as well. Most of all, keep in mind that having a signature color can boost brand recognition by 80 percent, according to marketers. So, brainstorm which colors best represent your brand and incorporate them strategically into your logo.

Multifaceted and Multi-Purpose Use

Think about how your logo will translate on a different medium. Consider, for instance, how it will appear on t-shirts, hats, socks, and etc. The smallest of the platforms that your logo will appear on will likely be a smartphone icon or next to your website URL.

It’s ideal to have a logo design that offers opportunities to stand out in different textures. For example, being able to carve it into stone or glass using negative space.promotional products

Compare and Contrast

Once you kind of narrow down your choices on logo design elements, don’t forget to take a look at your competition. This isn’t to say that you should copy your competition rather you should be looking at what they’re doing right or what they’re doing wrong. Maybe your Market sector is filled with boring, bland, or uninspired work.

Ask yourself how you can stand out without alienating your target demographic? Newcomers often make the mistake of going too hard too fast into a new market.

Utilizing the Elements and Principles of Logo Design

Designing a logo sounds like hard work, and it is. If you want it to turn out unique in sound and design you should follow these elements and principles of logo design. The world’s best logos didn’t happen on a whim or through an amateur artist. These logos were designed, refined, and researched.

Of course, a logo isn’t everything when it comes to marketing and branding. The logo is the precursor to making that perfect first impression on the customer.

If you’re ready to start designing or redesigning your logo right now, you can check out our logo maker. It has thousands of design templates and plenty of tools to help get you create a professional logo for your business. Get started.

Amber Ooley
Amber Ooley
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