Cindy Ritzman is a Sr. Designer for DomainTools, and has been designing websites, logos, ads and collateral since 1995. She also designs and produces infographics for DomainTools’ blog posts.
Big changes are ahead on the internet. ICANN will be implementing its new gTLD program this Spring (2013) and we can expect to see hundreds of new domain name extensions such as .love, .donuts, .art, .law, .fashion, .games, .tech, .pizza. ninja…well… you get the idea.
There will be new gTLDs for almost any profession, community, service or industry. This change will give businesses and groups a chance to create or extend on and off-line branding beyond the .com constraints.
Businesses will be able to create custom URLs, personalize their business, even link products together. An enterprise name can also become a domain. For example, Heinz could own .ketchup, and Starbucks could own .starbucks and .coffee.
Of course one doesn’t have to be a billion-dollar company to take advantage of the new gTLD program. A small business owner can stop fretting that he didn’t get his .com name registered. Instead, using a new gTLD may enable him to describe exactly what he does. How about using .auto for a dealership?
A new domain address will eventually need to be communicated via marketing materials such as signage, business cards, brochures, websites, emails, t-shirts, etc. If a URL is part of the company name or a branded extension, then a new logo might need to be created.
Not everyone has an in-house creative group available to work for them. However, many people do have access to designer tools, or may even have the budget to hire a free-lance designer to create a new logo.
As a Sr. Graphic Designer, I’ve modified, updated and created logos for over 20 years. Although visual styles and medias have changed during that time there are still some constants that apply.
Here are my five basic guidelines for designing a new logo. These will make a new logo useful for your business and also make the design process faster. I think you’ll also be pleased with the results and the investment put into creating it, whether you pay for the work or design it yourself.
Five Guidelines for Creating a New Logo
- Look at other logos for inspiration and do some competitive analysis. If you aren’t a pro, this is a great way to educated and inspire your creativity. I do this a lot. For example, take a look at logos from Fortune 500 companies,
- Keep the logo simple. Ditch the trends. Will your design still look good after a couple of year’s time? Don’t rely on patterns, gradients, drop shadows, reflections and the latest color combinations as design crutches.
- Make your logo appropriate for its purpose. What does it need to represent? You want it to look like it ‘fits’ with your company’s branding or industry. It’d be ok for a toy store logo to have a childish font, feel ‘fun’ and use bright colors. However, the same treatment would obviously not be appropriate for a retirement home.
- Use the company name in the logo– unless the company already dominates the market or has been around for so long the logo doesn’t need the name. (Chances are this blog post will not pertain to that fortunate person or company.) Ensure the company name is readable.
- Make your logo versatile. Where will you be using it? Your logo should work in a variety of mediums and sizes. Make sure there is enough contrast so the logo is recognizable and readable, even when printed small (such as on the side of a pen or business card). You should design your logo in a vector format so it can be scaled to any size. Also remember that a solid black and white version is always necessary, as not every usage will be in color.
I have admittedly oversimplified the design process. I’ve left out the sketching phase, the revision phase, the frustration phase, the final approval phase and the wonderful seeing-it-live phase.
Making a new logo can daunting, but given the marketing opportunities that gTLDs represent, I think you’ll agree that the work is a good investment.
Other resources I recommend:
- Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey
- Logo by Michael Evamy
Category: Domain Tools Updates