For the purposes of explaining good logo design, structure and layout, we’ll focus on our own Harness Media logo. In late April 2016, we completed a year-long process of developing our own re-branding plan, which included reorganization of the business, renaming the company and a new logo design. What better way to show the importance of logo design than to describe how we developed our own logo?
Why we don’t advertise logo design as a service
You may have noticed by now that we don’t advertise logo design on our website. There’s a reason for that — it’s not our focus. As you browse our website, you’ll notice that our focus is, well, bringing focus to business websites. While a good logo is an important part of a website, we think that it’s (often) best to leave logo design to someone that focuses on logo design. But we can and will design logos for our clients when requested.
It’s not that we don’t want to design logos for our clients, it’s more about having a primary focus and maximizing our abilities therein.
When developing our own logo, we considered several iterations of multiple logo styles until settling on the one you see here on our website. We initially considered integrating the figure of a horse into the design due to its association with harnesses and harness racing. Here’s a fun side note: When asked how to spell our last name, we often just say, “just like ‘harness racing’, which seems to work well. Anyway, the concept of a horse would likely project dependability and we liked that, not to mention the various pun opportunities (“we build stable websites”, “branding your online business”, etc.). But, at the end of the day, we wanted a simple design. We found that the horse’s mane was complicating things and when attempting to simplify it, the horse began to look to robotic. So we moved on.
It’s important to think about the elements you want to portray in your logo. You should take some time to consider keywords associated with your values and goals, then develop objects, characters, layout and colors from those keywords.
Elements of our logo design
The logo we decided on has many different elements that portray our values and goals as a service provider to small and mid-sized businesses:
- The perfect square shows stability.
- The upward arrow depicts positive progress much like a good stock market graph would show. This could be compared (although it wasn’t intentional) to the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo).
- The H is bold and obviously associates with the name.
- The H, the arrow and the blue area in the lower left corner bears similarity to a launching rocket (perfect for our work with startup businesses and website launches).
- The color blue is calming and represents trust.
- The color green represents positive action and life.
- The font (Noto Sans) is clean, friendly and easy to read.
- The line next to “Media” not only gives balance to the two words but also indirectly shows motion in a forward direction.
Various mediums and reproduction
One of the main considerations you have to make in logo design has to do with reproduction in various mediums. You should ask yourself, how will it look when converted to black and white format? As you can see, if you convert the colors of our logo to black, it would still represent the majority of our values and goals.
Furthermore, you should consider how it might look when printed on marketing materials and promotional products such as hats, shirts, pens, etc. Also consider the different ways it might be produced on these products; for instance, you might use screen printing on t-shirts, but you might want to use embroidery above the pocket of a nice shirt you’d wear when meeting clients or attending networking events. You’d also want to keep in mind the sizes at which the logo would be produced because a small version of your embroidered logo on a business shirt needs to be clear and easy to recognize.
Layout and formatting
Last, but certainly not least, you should think about the overall layout options for your logo. Consider these situations:
- A perfect square version of your logo is often appropriate for profile pictures and avatars.
- An elongated horizontal version of your logo might be appropriate for above-the-pocket embroidery on shirts, or it might be useful for your website depending on how it has been designed.
- When sponsoring events, each organization you support will likely use various logo formats for their printed materials and websites. Having multiple layout options for your logo allows you to choose the most appropriate version for each sponsorship.
- Using the above examples, you can probably now think of several scenarios where you might need different layouts.
Here’s how we addressed these potential layout issues in our new logo:
As you can see, the various logo layouts translate nicely. The brand continuity comes through in all of them and are instantly recognizable with the others. This is a very important trait in branding your business throughout all mediums.
Probably the most important part of your logo design has to do with the people who will see it. Your potential clients are a huge consideration in this regard. You need to put some thought into your market and how they will perceive your logo. You have to keep in mind that you are trying to please them so that they will want to hire you. There is a balance, of course, because you want to maintain points we’ve made above, such as your values and goals. But these should mesh perfectly with your audience if you do it right.
When thinking about your customer base and potential clients, consider all of the aspects, right down to colors. Search the web for your competitors and try to view their logos as if you were a consumer. Also think of it from a subconscious perspective. Does the logo feel inviting and appropriate to your industry?
There are many factors when considering your logo design. We really haven’t even covered everything here. But there is one particularly important aspect you should consider: you. Are you happy with it? If you don’t like your own logo, it will bug you until the end of time (or until you change it, which isn’t the best thing to do, despite the premise of this article).