Academy Xi Blog

How to design a logo – the ultimate guide

By Academy Xi

how to design the best logo

A vital element for brand identity and recognition, logos enable customers to connect with a brand and most importantly, remember it. Read on for the 101 on logo design.

What is a logo, and why do you need it?

A logo is a graphic design element that visually represents a brand or organisation and is used across a variety of platforms and materials, from websites to packaging and advertising. It can be one of the most important visual design elements, establishing brand recognition, differentiating the company from competitors, and reflecting the company values, mission and culture. 

Why does a company need a logo? Ultimately to establish brand identity, which is crucial in building a strong and recognisable brand. 

A well designed logo should support creating a memorable and lasting impression, convey a sense of trust, credibility and professionalism.

Define your brand identity

Understanding what makes your brand unique and how you wish to be perceived by your target market audience are key factors in defining your brand identity. The following steps can assist you in doing so:

  • Conduct market research: Discover what your target audience pain points are – this includes their true needs, preferences and experiences of your competitors.
  • Brand values and mission: Getting clear on what your brand represents and crafting a mission statement that summarises what your brand is all about sets the foundation.
  • Brand personality: The personality of your brand should reflect the values and mission and resonate with your target market. Consider the tone, voice and style that your brand should have.
  • Visual identity: Which colours, typography and imagery reflect your brand and personality? You could include these ideas as part of your market research to ensure they resonate with your audience.

All of these approaches to defining your brand will influence the design decisions for your logo.

Find inspiration for your design

Inspiration can be found in many places – literally anywhere – and will help you to create a unique and memorable logo. Here are a few ideas for how you can find logo design inspiration.

  • Study your industry

Check out logos of companies in your industry and understand what makes them work well, or not. Note design trends and consider what fresh take you could have on them. 

  • Consider your brand values

How could you visually represent your values through colour, shape and other design elements?

  • Market research findings

What do your target audience value? What resonates with them? Use findings from research groups to inform your design approach.

  • Research art and design movements

From minimalism and cubism to art nouveau and pop art, visit a gallery and see what styles and techniques stand out to you and could be applied to your logo design.

Choose your design style

Investigate different styles of design to see which aligns with your brand values, tone and identity. A few options to consider:

  • Retro or vintage

Retro vintage logo designPopular for branding that evokes a sense of nostalgia, the retro design style typically features bold, simple shapes and bright, playful colours inspired by the designs of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. You could strike a balance between vintage elements and modern design techniques to bring the brand into the current time. 

  • Modern and minimalist

minimalist logo designSimplicity, clean lines and a focus on negative space are all characteristics of modern and minimalist design. The goal is to communicate the brand message with impact,  using the least number of design elements possible.

  • Handmade and handcrafted

handcrafted logo designIf you want your brand and logo to have a personal touch, this approach is worth considering. Inspired by traditional craft techniques such as hand-lettering, hand-drawing and printmaking, this design style often incorporates elements such as rough edges, organic shapes and earthy colour palettes.

Find the right type of logo

There are several logo types, each taking a different design approach. Consider the following and which ones could work for your brand:

  • Lettermarks (or monogram logos)

One or more letters are used to form a symbol, or design that represents a brand. This type of logo is also known as a letterform or typographic logo.

A lettermark logo is often created using a custom typeface, or stylised version of an existing one, with the letter symbol sometimes being abstract or resembling a recognisable object.

These logos can be highly recognisable, memorable and easily scaled and reproduced in a variety of contexts. This approach is a solid choice for brands with long names!

Example: Louis Vuitton, LG, Chanel, Gucci

monogram logo design

  • Wordmarks (or logotypes)

These logos consist of text (usually the brand name) and are also known as a typographical logo or text-based logo.

The typeface (custom created or an existing font) is carefully selected to reflect the brand personality and is easily readable and recognisable. The wordmark approach is straightforward and easy to understand.

Example: Coca-Cola, FedEx, IBM, Amazon, Disney

Wordmarks logotypes

  • Pictorial marks (or logo symbols)

An illustration or symbol that represents the brand is a pictorial mark, also referred to as an icon or graphic mark. This logo design is used creating illustration, graphic design or symbols and is a visual representation of the brand, even without the brand name being used. 

They’re often used by consumer-facing brands, such as fast food, toys or sports teams. 

Example: Apple, Pepsi, MDonalds, Twitter, Starbucks

Pictorial logo design


  • Abstract logo marks

A logo that consists of a symbol or design that does not depict a specific subject or object, but instead relies on shapes, lines and colours to create a visual representation of the brand is an abstract logo mark. The goal of this logo is to create a distinctive visual representation of a brand that is highly versatile.

Example: Nike, Adidas, Mercedes Benz 

Abstract logo marks

Choose the right colour palette

Colour selection for your logo and overall brand is an important aspect of creating a strong and memorable brand image. Having a solid understanding of the colour wheel is a good starting point, along with the following tips.

  • Consider your brand values and personality: The colours should reflect these
  • Research your competition: See what is already used in your industry and where you could be more distinctive
  • Think about versatility: How will it look printed black and white, when viewed on screen – consider all the applications for the logo and which colours will adapt well.
  • Get feedback: In the design process, before finalising your palette, get feedback from focus groups to see what is resonating

Pick the right typography and fonts

Typography selection is as important as your colour palette. The right typography choice can help you to create a solid brand and visual identity. Consider the following when researching your typography options:

  • Brand personality: a modern sans-serif font can convey innovation, while a classic serif font creates a more traditional vibe
  • Legibility: your choice needs to work at a variety of sizes and contexts.
  • Limit the number: choose 2-3 that work well together
  • Get feedback: like colour choice, seek feedback on typography and font selection

How to start your career in graphic design

Want to learn more about logo design? At Academy Xi, we offer flexible study options in Graphic Design that will suit your lifestyle and training needs, providing you with the perfect foundation for your future as a Graphic Designer. 

Whether you’re looking to upskill or entirely transform your career path, we have industry-approved training to provide you with the practical skills and experience needed.

Are you after a career change? Take a look at our Transform courses:

Are you upskilling? Our Elevate courses are for you:

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your Graphic Design journey.