Tips on how you can create a kick-ass brand logo for the tech industry that resonates with your target audience.
Coming up with a company logo whether your rebranding or starting from scratch that engages your desired market, looks great and represents your brand values can be challenging. In order to create something that really engages your market and aligns with your core values, there are some steps you ought to take. In this article, I’ll take you through exactly how to do this step by step. Then I will look more specifically at designing a logo for the tech industry.
Before we dive into the creative process, let’s take a step back and look into the different things you ought to have in place that can support a great logo.
Step One — Know Your Users
A good way to start is to create some user personas. User personas are fictional personas of your ideal customers and are a representation of your target audience. They can be hugely helpful when designing a logo as you can step inside the shoes of your users and think will this design/ feature or something else appeal to this persona. It’s important to be empathetic to the expectations and desires of your users so that you create designs that are truly user-centered (or human-centered as we like to say). Are you trying to attract developers/coders or are you trying to attract non-technical people? You may have some personas already but if you don’t, try and think of a few different people who would represent your audience or desired audience. If your intended market is unfamiliar to you, conducting interviews within this type group is a beneficial way to create more accurate personas. If you already have data available this is a great place to start. The more specific you go with this, the more effective the Persona.
Step Two — Know your position in the market
Knowing exactly how you want to position yourself in the market is key to designing a great logo. Are you exclusive and premium or more friendly and open? Are you a tech innovator or an eco-warrior? Nailing exactly what you stand for guides your design process. When you know this you can create a logo that attracts the right kind of people.
Step Three — Research & Brainstorming
Another important step is research. Researching your industry and your competitors is an important task if you want to create something that stands out amongst the noise. The goal here is to get an idea of the current landscape in your industry — what are the trends and themes — what’s working, what isn’t. Taking note of this and applying this to your current logo may help you utilise what is already working and kick start the design process.
From here, comes the brainstorming and ideation phase. Create mind maps and look for keywords that can serve as a starter for developing logo design concepts. We usually start with the brand values and keep extrapolating until we find three keywords that are inspiring and reflect the values — the more descriptive the better (our blog post on building a brand can help you). Once we’ve decided on our three keywords we would then create some mood boards around them to help keep our sketching focused.
At this point, it’s also important to consider typography if you think your logo will need to include type. Font choice is important and can really evoke your brand values. Serif fonts tend to feel more traditional and established whereas serifs are more modern. As a result, logos in the tech industry are dominated by sans-serif fonts such as Helvetica Neue.
Most logos in the tech space use a sans serif font — but why? Simplicity is key here and Thierry Brunfaut articulates this well.
“The amount of visuals the consumer is bombarded by every day is tremendous–in the street, on a laptop, or a smartphone. A visual chaos that makes it hard to navigate into. Impact and, most of all, clarity, have become keywords for all brands. All these bold and neutral logos are telling the consumer the same message: Our brand and our services are simple, straight-forward, and clear. And extremely readable.”Thierry Brunfaut, creative director and founding partner at Base Design
Step Four —Sketching with Depth
From your mood boards and research, you can now start the sketching process. It’s best to start sketching on paper (or with an iPad and Apple pencil if you’re feeling fancy). Use your mood boards and keywords to keep your work focused and inspired and keep in mind your personas. Sketch as many different ideas as you can. If you’re feeling uncreative, take a break. Playing ping pong, meditating or going for a walk can be all you need to have an ‘ah hah’ moment. Once you feel like you’ve exhausted all avenues, take some of the directions you think are working best and get some feedback from your colleagues/friends — whoever is willing to cast an eye over your designs. It’s good to get an objective perspective on your work.
Step Five — Execution
Once you’ve determined a few directions to explore its time to get your sketches into the computer. We like to use Adobe Illustrator, this is the industry standard but the downside is that it’s a subscription-based model and can be pretty expensive. There are other cheaper alternatives if you have a google around (Sketch and Affinity Designer come to mind). The important thing to remember is that you need to be designing in some kind of vector-based software. This enables you to create a logo that is infinitely scalable as opposed to say, raster-based which will become pixelated once scaled up.
Another important thing to remember is scalability. Your logo will need to be able to look good on a range of sizes, from small favicons, right up to large scale print. It’s good to create a few different formats for your logo and a monochrome version if your logo has colour.
Another thing to help guide the execution of your logo is to think of the below five principles to effective logo design. Is your logo appropriate — does it cater to your target audience? Is it memorable — often the best logos have a story behind them or are ambiguous or intriguing. The longer you can get people to look at your logo the more memorable it will become. Is your logo timeless — it isn’t just following the latest design trends but has depth? Simplicity is also key for logos — it’s important for your logo to not get too convoluted. A complex logo is more difficult to remember, which makes it less likely for a person to recognize it when they see it again so avoid a design that is overly decorative. Finally, your logo should be versatile — it should look good in black and white and on a variety of formats and scales.
Step Six — Testing
Once you’ve created your logo directions in digital, its good to get further feedback and if possible, do some testing with real customers or people who fit your persona types. By doing this, you’ll be able to gain an understanding of whether or not your direction is something that is resonating with people and whether it is accurately representing your brand values. When conducting interviews for this kind of research make sure you avoid asking leading questions as this could lead to inaccuracies in your data. An example of a leading question is something like — ‘Does this logo give you a feeling of trust in the product?’ as its adding a positive spin to the question making people feel more obliged to say ‘yes’. A better question would be something like — ‘How does this logo make you feel?’.
Step Seven — Final Iterations and Mockups
After receiving feedback you will need to do any necessary refinement to your logo and then you will be all set. At this point, it can be helpful to do some in situ mockups to bring your logo alive and close the creative imagination gap for your intended audience.
Designing a logo for the Tech industry
At Jupiter and the Giraffe, we work primarily in the tech space and particularly with tech startups. Often these companies have some incredible products that have the potential to change the world. However, more often than not, these revolutionary products are let down by ineffectual branding and logo design. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how amazing your tech product is — if your branding sucks — your business is less likely to succeed. In an industry that is in a constant state of flux standing out with a powerful brand is key to winning people over with your product.
In terms of logo colours for tech, there are four general, bold colors that industry-leading technology companies seem to rely on: blue, white, black and red. In a fast-changing industry with many new players, reliability is key. So it’s no surprise that blue is chosen as a predominant colour. You can read more about colour in the tech industry here.
So there you have it — a brief overview of the logo design process and how you can use it to create a logo with depth. The key thing to remember is the importance of strategy in the design process. Strategy enables you to create a logo with intent which better represents your brand values and serve your users better. Human-centered design also gives you a framework to create something that resonates with your users rather than just creating something that simply looks pretty.
Any questions feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading.