While it may seem like a trivial exercise of simply being creative with the name of your company, logos say so much to people without being as invasive as to demand reading or listening. All of the biggest and best public-facing companies have now-iconic logos that catch the eye and relay important information about the brand. All of this is done subtly, of course, but Forbes is right in saying that each brand logo is exclamatory.
Once you have your business name – which can be just about anything – it’s important to review and toy with three key elements of your logo’s design: font, case, and color scheme. Here, we’re delving into the core components to explore the options, what your choices relay, as well as how iconic brands have made their logos using these rules.
Logo fonts: to serif or sans serif?
The font of your business name is one of the more subtle tells of your logo design. Too bold, and it could seem aggressive, but too squiggly, and it could make you seem outdated. A big focus on a font for logos is the serif. A serif is the small additional lines to the standard letter’s shape that add a different aesthetic. For example, Times New Roman is the most famous of serif fonts, with small drops off of the meeting lines on each letter.
There are many different forms of serifs in fonts that keep the addition minimal or exaggerate it greatly. Glyphic serifs are among the more subtle and derive from the Romans, while Gothic is much more obvious, adding long-reaching serifs with curves commonly seen in old English writing. Alternatively, you could opt for a sans serif font, which means a font without a serif, which many perceive to be more sleek and modern.
A serif can relay many things, such as being professional or having a lot of history or experience, but the more exaggerated the serif is, the older the logo tends to look. You could take Rolex as an example. The logo’s text features fairly bold serifs, speaking to their class and history as a fine watchmaker. On the other hand, sans serif can be perceived as modern, bold, instructive, and even cosmopolitan, which is why the futuristic electric car brand Tesla opts for hard lines without serifs on its logo text.
Upper case or lower case?
Meticulous writers would cringe and the very thought of having a business name written with anything other than a capitalized first letter followed by subsequent lowercase letters, per the rules of English. In logo design, however, there’s the power to be found in going with all-caps, odd letter capitalization, and even to dreaded all-lowercase. Research presented on LinkedIn found that lowercase names like Adidas’ tend to be associated with females over uppercase brand names like the NIKE logo, which are more commonly associated with males.
These findings focussed on the appeals to male and female demographics, but logo design isn’t all about appealing to one sex over another. When it comes to lowercase text for a logo, you give off a much more open, accessible, and casual persona, as though the brand is more carefree and uncaring about strict writing conventions. It works well in entertainment, with the betway all lowercase logo showing this. Being a purveyor of online casino games, the lowercase logo immediately indicates casual enjoyment. It also stands in contrast to its own slot games, like Wolf Blaze, which has to compete for attention on the platform. Beats by Dr. Dre is another example.
In the case of all upper case logos, such as that of Taco Bell, the boldness does naturally grab your attention, but it’s not there to seem as though it’s shouting at you. An all-caps name can assert dominance over others in the field, making your name always appear bigger and bolder when in the same text, lending a strong presence to the brand. You could also look to Facebook trying to assert its social media dominance when it changed its logo in 2019 to FACEBOOK.
Logo colors: do matches matter?
There’s a tremendous amount written on the psychology of colors, from the emotions that they exude in different cultures to the industries that they’re now associated with. Some easy ones would be that the color green is now associated with the outdoors and eco-friendly practices, while red is more about pumping blood, strength, and being active. The trick comes with picking color combinations.
Many will go with a bold color accompanied by a shade to highlight the name, such as blue with white text, as Ford does. As a general rule, you don’t want to go beyond three colors – even though Google and NBC go for the rainbow in their logos. From there, the color scheme can either tell a story or veer on the side of less is more with shades from the same color or, as stated, a color and a shade. Dollar Tree, goes for a light and dark green on its tree with a black number one in the middle, showing both the single dollar and the tree very well. IKEA, on the other hand, embraces the blue and yellow of its native flag, Sweden, as much of its branding story is the Swedish furniture.
Get a clear fix on your logo font, case, and color scheme, and you’re bound to make a striking logo that suits your business well.