1) Photoshop or Illustrator for logo design?
As the first point we should start by discussing Photoshop’s ability for designing logos in comparison to the other Adobe products which are specifically made for the job such as Illustrator. Photoshop is, as it’s primary use an image manipulation tool, but it comes packaged with so many extras that the tools enable you to use it for many different areas, but this doesn’t mean that you should use it just because you can. Illustrator is the best program for creating professional, print-ready, scalable logos. If, like me, you are much more experienced in Photoshop than Illustrator, and can work at a faster pace through using Photoshop. Try using Photoshop for the concept work and then create your final logo in Illustrator.
2) Vector vs Raster
The danger of using Photoshop for logos is that you can creep in raster images and effects into your logo work. Remember that your finished logo needs to be scalable and avoid using raster images unless you know you can achieve the same look by creating a vector version at a later stage.
3) Tiny Logos
Logos still need to work well when they are tiny. Check the concept you are creating can still be viewed and understood at a small size. Many websites carry logos of supporters in their footers and this is probably the smallest / lowest quality a logo will need to be. For this purpose check that your logo is still clear at 160 x 60 pixels at 72dpi (or similar proportions dependent on shape).
4) Black and White
Most people spend a lot of time determining the colours used in their logos, but does your logo still look good in black and white? Try turning the elements of your logo to just black and white or black and tints of black and check that your concept is still clear and conveys your idea clearly. Logos are normally required to have a black and white version, you may also wish to consider how the final logo will look when both the colour and black and white version are photocopied.
5) Choosing Fonts
Photoshop will allow you to combine as many fonts as you like, this doesn’t mean you necessarily should! Unless you are a seasoned typographer try sticking to perhaps just 2 fonts, one for the logo and another or a different weight of the same font for the strap line. Stay away from using fancy fonts in capitals as this is often hard to read.
You’re not trying to create a pretty picture, remember your mark needs to be strong enough to stand out, try using 1 or 2 colours and tints of these colours if you want to use a wider range.
Who are the audience? Who does business or organisation represent and who are their customers or clients? Just because you like a particular font or style is not enough reason to use it. Bare in mind your audience, a logo should be able to convey the personality of the organisation. Try if you can to think about what your first thoughts would be if you were first presented your design by somebody else. If you find this hard to do, try coming back to your initial designs several hours or days later if possible. It will help you to form a ‘first look’ opinion and you will find it easier to both discount ideas but evaluate the styling and see what needs changing.
Where will your logo end up? A shopfront, website, billboard? Think about the intended application of your final logo. Does this dictate the shape at all? Try the logo when it’s still a concept on a variety of appliactions to see how it will look in situe.
9) Stock icons
Avoid using stock icons in your logo design work. It may prove an easy option to download and use, but bare in mind that these same stock icons are available to thousands of designers. It won’t be long before you, or your client, see it being used elsewhere. Can the mark really be that appropriate if it can easily be used for something else?
Make sure your logo stands out from the crowd. Avoid making the logo similar in design or in colour to competitors, the mark needs to shout about the individual business or organisation not the sector its in. If you can find a design that is symbolic and individual and then base the styling on the individual idea rather than a particular style trend you will find that you have a long lasting design that won’t go out of fashion.