Your online store’s logo seems like such a small part of your overall shopping experience. After all, your customers are looking at your products, right?
Actually, your company’s logo is one of the more important aspects of branding. A logo is consistently visible on all aspects of your offline properties: receipts, letterheads, t-shirts, banners, as well as every page of your ecommerce website. For something that can be so small, the impact that a well-designed logo has on your brand experience and online store cannot be overstated. Whether you’re designing one yourself or paying a professional, it’s a good idea to be familiar with some basic aspects of online store logo design. With that spirit in mind, let’s dive in and discuss all things logos!
Why Logos Are Important
Saying that a logo builds brand awareness is really just the tip of the iceberg when understanding its importance. There are many reasons why you should spend some serious time thinking about your logo.
- Your logo is you. Think of your logo as a representation of your company’s culture and values. A logo has the opportunity to express your ideals and what you stand for at a glance, and gets much more exposure than your About Us page!
- Your logo is memorable. What makes logos so effective is their use of repetition to build familiarity. Logos act as a quick visual shorthand and form very strong connections in our brains, to the point where we can identify a brand without having to read a word.
- Your logo is visible. In many instances and on many mediums, your logo is the first thing to grab the shopper’s attention, instantly creating brand awareness and communicating what you are all about.
- Your logo establishes credibility and trust. Art and design have a large influence on people’s emotions. A well-designed, sophisticated logo goes a long way to ensure to shoppers that your business is credible and professional.
- Your logo solidifies customer loyalty. Your logo is your signature, establishing ownership but also implying a promise to your customers that you accept accountability. By signing off on your customer’s shopping experience, you strengthen that relationship.
So you’ve decided you want a new logo. But what makes a logo great anyway? Even if you’re hiring a professional to design your logo for you, it’s in your best interest to know. So let’s look at some important best practices in order to make sure your logo is effective, polished, and practical.
Make it Versatile
Versatility is paramount when considering logo design. As discussed in this video, your logo will be seen at many different sizes, and you will probably need to have copies in different file formats. You want to make sure that your logo will be visually readable at all sizes and colors. An effective logo is one that is crisp and simple, meaningful and evocative. Of course it is important for your logo to stand out, but you don’t want it to be too busy or have superfluous elements; you could be stuck with something that limits your marketing efforts.
Consider avoiding photographs and flashy, ostentatious fonts. The image might look great on a large scale, but once you have to shrink it down it can become a blurry mess.
This logo manages to remain legible at different sizes due to a clear, legible font and elegant simple design
Choose the Right Colors
The sign of a great brand is one that evokes emotion from the user, and through effective use of color you can do just that. Scientific studies have long shown that people have cognitive and emotional responses to colors, and the color of a logo can actually influence whether or not a user makes a purchase.
Color choice plays a large role in communicating and reinforcing your identity as a company. As a brand, decide on a company voice. Think about the message you want your brand to convey. Who is your audience, and how do you want them to feel about you? Do you want to be seen as loyal and trustworthy, or carefree and fun? Consider your branding relative to your competitors. What kind of feelings do they elicit, and how can you differentiate yourself from them? Make a list of traits for each category – the more specific the better – and keep these things in mind when making color choices. Keep in mind that it is a good idea to be consistent and mirror the colors from your logo in your site’s color scheme and overall design.
However, understand that it is also important that your logo does not rely on color alone. There will be times when your logo will appear in black and white, such as on a receipt or if it ever gets printed out on a non-color printer. If changing your logo to black and white or greyscale renders parts of it illegible, consider using higher contrasting colors. It is actually very common for designers to work in greyscale first to make sure their design is effective, and then add color as one of the last steps.
Think About Longevity
Good design is timeless. Many of the most popular and most recognized logos have changed very little since their creation. Drastically changing your logo often can have adverse effects, such as creating confusion and decreasing memorability. Your goal should be to get it right the first time, and only make minor changes when needed.
Think about how long you plan to keep your online store. If you understand that what you sell will probably be a passing fad associated with the modern zeitgeist, then tapping into current trends makes more sense. But if longevity and sustainability are your goals, look for a logo that speaks to that. Remember star burst designs and drop shadows from the early days of the internet? If your logo looks like that, people will think your website looks dated. Instead, opt for a cleaner, more classic style to ensure your branding has some staying power.
Things to Avoid
So we’ve discussed some of the finer points of logo design, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also talk about common design pitfalls. Watch out for these, they will do more harm than good.
- Raster images. A raster image is an image that is made up of pixels. Common file formats are .jpg, .gif, .bmp, and .psd. The biggest issue with pixelated images occurs when the picture is enlarged, as this causes the picture to become grainy. Raster images also tend to have larger file sizes as well, which can slow down your computer.
Instead of using a raster image, create your logo in a design program that uses vectors, such as Adobe Illustrator. A vector graphic uses math formulas to create lines and shapes, and as a result the image is infinitely scalable. This offers much more versatility and will save a lot of headaches down the line.
- Stock images. Your logo should be unique to your business. If you have purchased an image from somewhere online, chances are that someone else out there is using that image as well. Since the whole purpose of a logo is to create an association with your brand, it is counterproductive to use an image that other entrepreneurs and business owners could be using.
- Busy or complex designs. Aside from issues with scaling, a busy logo can create visual dissonance in the viewer, and will likely result in negative associations with your brand. Keep your design clean and simple, with only a few key elements. Overwhelming shoppers with a design that does not make sense or otherwise clashes with your website is distracting and a quick way to increase your site’s bounce rate. Avoid using too many fonts as well, as this also adds to a feeling of unrest.
- Hard to read fonts. Many logos are so visually distinct that they do not use text at all, but if a logo contains text, it should be easy to read and complimentary to the overall design. A font that dominates or competes for attention will take away from a logo, and at small sizes, an ornate font becomes increasingly difficult to read.
- Clichés. Avoid imagery that is used ubiquitously – swooshes to represent innovation, gears for technology, blue smoke for ecigs. Create a concept that is unique to your business. Cliché imagery is often the first ideas when someone brainstorms. A good logo design process usually takes numerous rounds of brainstorming, sketching and conceptualizing to reach an idea that fits the message a brand wants to convey. This is where hiring a professional can really be beneficial, as they are trained to think outside the box and to create a unique concept.
This gym logo has far too many elements which lose clarity at smaller sizes, and some of the text becomes completely unreadable. Simplifying the design and removing unnecessary components will go a long way to make this logo more successful.
Whether you’re taking on site and logo design yourself or hiring a professional graphic artist, it is always a good idea to get some inspiration by looking at what other people and companies are doing. There are many sites out there with great content, which is why we’ve curated a list of our favorite general web design, ecommerce, and logo galleries. Each site offers great insight into current trends, as well as an idea of where design is headed. Take some time to absorb what’s out there and consider why you like what you like, and dislike what you dislike. Use these as starting points in your brainstorming process, and you’ll see how much better your final design product gets.
While we definitely recommend hiring a professional, if you’re thinking of designing on your own, but don’t own or can’t afford the most expensive programs out there, there are a number of affordable vector design programs you can use to create your vision for your brand logo. Dive in and give it a try!
Online Store Logo Design Checklist
Throughout the creative process, have your end vision in mind. Always keep the principles of good design in mind, and ask the following questions about your final proof:
- Does your logo have an attractive, professional appearance? You want your logo to speak highly of your business, and instill a feeling of trust and credibility to your customers.
- Is your logo a simple, memorable shape? Simple shapes are pleasant and easier to remember. The main goal of your logo is to stick in the viewer’s mind, so keep it clean and elegant.
- Does your logo design convey a clear impression of your brand? You don’t have the chance to talk to everyone who visits your website, so your logo and site design often speak for you. Consider the tone you want to convey, and have that message reinforced in your design choices.
- Is your logo a versatile and scalable image that is appropriate for both print and digital media? Your logo will not exist solely on your website. In order to maximize your logo’s effectiveness, it is imperative to expand mediums. Consider your design in relation to its context. How will it look on a business card? On a T-shirt or jacket? In a magazine or on a billboard?
- Is your logo employing an aesthetic that is attractive both in black and white and in color? Color is highly important, but be prepared for your logo to be seen in greyscale. If your message is lost or unreadable once the color is gone, you have a problem.
- Is your logo a timeless design that does not depend on modern fads? Chances are you want your company to be profitable and sustainable for years to come. Plan on sticking with your logo design for a long time as well, as making too many changes will negatively impact your brand recognition and confuse your customers. Instead of relying on a fad, look for something with more staying power.
- Does your logo have a color scheme that matches your brand personality? Color choice can seem unimportant, but there are many subtle and intangible ways to craft your brand message through effective utilization of color.
A logo gives your brand an identity, but also does so much more for your business. Acting as an extension of who you are and what you care about, a logo gives your customers a way to connect with your business, something to support and rally around. It behooves you as an entrepreneur to take logo design seriously and develop a logo that reflects your spirit as an individual and as a company.
Need help perfecting your online store’s logo? Hire Volusion’s professional ecommerce design services today.
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