The Dos and Don’ts of Great DIY Logo Design

Karen Hayoun

Aug 30 2018 comments- 1

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Your logo is a visual representation of your brand, and a crucial part of your business. Creating a strong logo can increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and even sales, so it’s no surprise that business of all sizes put a lot of resources into creating a good one.

The actual process of logo design differs depending on the method you choose, be it hiring a professional designer or the DIY route. DIY methods also divide into various quick tools like the Wix logo generator as well as sketches and design software, if you’ve got some design skills. Whether you’re starting a new business or rebranding an existing one, it is important to invest time and effort into getting a logo that conveys the right message about your brand.

Is the DIY method for you?

The DIY method is extremely popular thanks to the growing number if simple, and some even free, tools out there. If any of the below apply to you, you should probably choose the DIY method:

  • You need the logo ready very quickly (under 1-2 weeks).
  • You don’t have a budget for this and can’t invest much, or anything at all.
  • You have some design background and can sketch your own idea or use Photoshop/Illustrator to create what you want.
  • You aren’t looking for something very unique or customized, and are ok with something generic and simple.

Many companies and small business use DIY solutions for their logo design every day, and it’s not the end of the world if you need to also. While most designs can be somewhat generic if you use a generator tool, they can still be altered and adjusted to something more unique and you don’t have to spend as much time or money on getting it done. You should even consider using a combination of a DIY tool and then paying a designer to make any adjustments you want for a solution that mixes the best of both worlds.

Your Logo’s Purpose

What is your logo’s purpose? Don’t answer too quickly, it’s not as straightforward as you think. You may want to say “to represent my brand”, but it’s more than that. Clearly defining the purpose of your logo will guide your design choices and process.

In general, a logo’s purpose is to be the face of the brand by visually communicating the brand’s identity. Some choose to use images only, some text only, and some choose a combination of both. Every single detail in the logo should be considered, from the colors to the shapes.

Ask yourself what effect you want your logo to have? Examples of things a logo can emphasize:

  • The industry you’re in
  • The product or service you provide
  • Your brand’s mission and vision
  • Your brand’s character – fun, professional, young, etc.
  • Your target audience
  • Your main benefit
  • That thing that makes you unique

These are only a few examples. Ideally, you want to give your logo a purpose in order to decide how to design it. If your focus is on your character, you’ll know how to choose colors, shapes, and images based on the tone you want it to have. Certain colors convey creativity and artistry, while others can be used for something more official and professional. If you’re focusing on your target audience, you won’t design the same logo for toddlers and millennials. Choose wisely, and consider a combination of purposes. You can have a logo that conveys your unique brand character while also conveying your industry and product.

Before you move on to the next step, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • A good logo should have a purpose, even if it’s just “to look good on clothes”, but should also take into consideration your target audience and what appeals to them. Remember who you’re designing this for and aim for something they like, not something that appeals to
  • Learn about the colors and what each one represents so that you can play around with different combinations and choose something that fits your brand message.
  • Remember to keep it simple and memorable. Think about brands like Nike, McDonald’s, and Target.

Dos and Don’ts of Logo Design

 The Dos

1. Start with black and white

Your first logo designs should be in black and white. Colors are important, but they come at a later stage. In the beginning, play around with different shapes and fonts in black and white so that you can focus on the shape of the logo. If you start using colors in the beginning, it can be confusing and make you lose focus on the actual shape of the logo (especially if you find the colors extremely appealing or if you don’t like them).

2. Try different color variations

Try different shades and color variations and see what they look like side by side to compare. This is usually done right after the black and white step, when you have a shape you feel comfortable with. It’s a great way to decide on color combinations when you’re not sure, and can help you choose the right shades even when you already know which colors you want.

3. Test out your logo

Before deciding on the final logo, create different versions to see how it will look when it’s in use. Examples are square versions for Facebook and LinkedIn pages, a circle for Google +, rectangle versions for documents, and many different sizes to make sure it looks great big and small.

The don’ts

1. Don’t go for the rainbow

If having a colorful rainbow in your logo is important to representing your brand, like Skittles, then go for it. Otherwise, choose 1-3 colors to keep your logo from being too busy. Remember that your logo needs to look good even when it’s very small in ads and smaller screen sizes, and a lot of colors can make it unrecognizable. Choose the colors you want and then play around with the logo sizes to see how it looks. If you see that it becomes a mess when it’s smaller, consider removing a color or two.

2. Don’t use drop shadows

Yes, they used to be very cool and they do add depth, but they don’t look good when resized and often get distorted when displayed on different screens. It’s just not worth the trouble!

3. Don’t use clip art

Clip art was huge in the nineties, but today it’s identified with unprofessional and lazy work. It looks childish and will not represent your brand positively. Another issue is that you can’t trademark your logo because you don’t own the image.


Don’t be discouraged, a good DIY logo is possible. Remember to keep it simple and memorable, and focus on a clear message. Nike focused on movement, Coca-Cola on class (and today it emphasizes their heritage), and Apple on simple clean designs. People remember simple logos, so take the time to create something that properly represents your brand’s voice and uniqueness while also being easy to remember and draw. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort!

One thought on “The Dos and Don’ts of Great DIY Logo Design

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