How To Create Logo Design That Tells A Story

Created by Aron leah | https://dribbble.com/shots/17664879-Round-up
 

It's not a secret that a logo always tells a story. At the very least, it needs to reflect the company's values and visions. As the icon, it is one thing that directly talks to the public. It's the first thing that everyone will see and later on associate with the company or project.

It's an unfortunate thing how many people still disregard the importance of storytelling through the logo. It can be the designer or even the company's executives. And it's even worse since the logo holds the public's perspective on a company or a project.

With the idea that every brand has a story to tell, designers have many things to learn, especially about the company's value, its competitors, and how to implement that information in their designs.

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The story behind every logo

The designer's task is to understand the story behind a logo. They need to know the company's history and value. And this is what they need to communicate to the audiences. 

Each company has different values, and the brand image must represent that. For example, two diners from Louisiana boasting Cajun dishes will have different logos. One will focus on the fried chicken, and the other will have the main character behind the diner as their brand image.

These two logos tell the customers directly what to expect from the diner. Some of the dishes may look alike, but it has an overall different vibe and flavors. Thus, it will attract a different set of customers. 

Created by Rise Wise | https://dribbble.com/shots/16997635-Ruse-Restaurant
 

This story is what each designer aims to convey in their design. They are looking for the best way to introduce the company to the public and keep the connection alive.

For startup companies, the story they need to tell is the values of the product and what they offer. They are in the same boat as an older company that just went through a complete overhaul and had to rebrand. 

Both companies need to focus and highlight their values and future projects. This reinserting process won't be possible if they're still using the same icon as the old one.

Created by Konstantin Reshetnikov | https://dribbble.com/shots/17790135-Zazou-Photo-Lab

 

 

How To Create Logo design that tells a story

  1. Find & Study Good References
  2. Understand the brand and the competitors
  3. Deliver Your Message Clearly
  4. Simplify The Message
  5. Consider Using Symbolism
  6. Communicate Using Typography
  7. Communicate With Colors
  8. Trust Your Instinct

 

1. Study Good References

Never disregard the importance of an image. An icon is how a company uses an image or an icon to tell its story. Including when they only have their company name as their logo.

KFC and Colonel Sanders' silhouette speaks a lot to their customers. The same goes with Wendys. In many instances, their customers only need to take a glance and recognize their favorite fast food chain right away.

It's easy to confuse image reference with the image as a whole. Many designers choose to focus on the tree and have a solid image in their logo design. But some others see the forest and be more creative with the icon and build imagery instead.

Created by Gert van Duinen | https://dribbble.com/shots/17131375-Robot-sketch
 

Some images, like Colonel Sanders and Wendy's pictures, work well in telling the story. Customers can understand the value behind the franchise and how it started. They only need to look at the logo instead of the Wikipedia page.

Several companies use symbolism or imagery in their logo to showcase their story and values. Michelin man is a good example. Even though it's not applicable in other Michellin ventures, the humanoid stacked tires represent the company's values of durability and longevity.

The company itself was lording over various life aspects for numerous decades. Even today, their restaurant guide is still one of the highly revered opinions in the world.

Created by Milos Djuric | https://dribbble.com/shots/17351872-Mighty-Sites

 

2. Understand the brand and the competitors

Most designers forget that they need to understand the market. This includes the brand and the competitor. They need to give their full research method on the brand's history and how it fares until this time. Even startups and new companies also have a history worth telling.

Designing a logo also requires the designer to study the market and competitors. They need to understand what works for other companies' logos and expectations. Of course, they need to have a different set of logos to set the company apart from the rest.

Many brands that work in the same field often have similar logos. Take a look at Tesco and Costco. The names are not the only similar thing, but also the logo design in general, including the colors.

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Other similarities between the two companies across the pond are Walmart and Morrison. Both companies are providing groceries and use a similar design involving rays of sunshine and a blue-green company name.

These similarities are not to confuse the shoppers. But the designers were paying attention to what worked for the company. And to show how both companies share the same value in servicing their customers. That way, any Americans who travel to the UK or vice versa will prefer the stores with a similar logo to the ones in their homeland.

This sense of familiarity is a result of years of nurturing the customers' loyalty. And this is what all companies are aiming for. Consequently, it's one benchmark designers need to achieve.

Created by Srdjan Vidakovic | https://dribbble.com/shots/18263509-Knight-Without-a-Lord

 

3. Deliver Your Message Clearly

How the logo speaks to the public is only part of the strategy. The logo also needs to communicate the brand's story. The public needs to learn and understand what the company brings and promises for the future.

For example, a logo for music festivals will differ depending on the genre they carry. The annual rave party in Belgium, Tomorrowland, chooses an eclectic design featuring butterfly wings and an eye. The logo doesn't mention the name but everyone knows what it represents. While Glastonbury chooses a different approach by having the festival name as part of the logo.

Another example is the regular sporting events. Take a look at the Rugby League, MLB, NBA, and so on. Each logo highlights the sports elements to tell everyone what sport they're associating with. Nobody will confuse the MLB for Rugby or NFL for soccer.

Created by Elmira Gokoryan | https://dribbble.com/shots/18047549-Ovechkinson

 

4. Simplify The Message

The challenge for the designers is how to effectively compress the company's history and values into a single image. Sometimes, they need another perspective on how their design works.

Another thing to remember is that a company will need several logo designs. They need the main and the vertical or watermark for other usages. Designers have more opportunities in their hands to share the story with the public.

Designers who still need some design should stay and continue reading. This article will deliver more ideas and reminders for them to give a design on their projects. When a designer pays attention to this basic information, they will design a memorable image. And definitely, one that tells a story.

Created by Rise Wise | https://dribbble.com/shots/16992547-Mother-Plants

 

5. Consider Using Symbolism

Even the basic shape can tell a story. This is an unrefutable fact that many new designers seem to ignore. They are too focused on reaching perfection or finding the great big idea that they forget to keep things simple. 

For example, having rounded corners in a square can tell a story of inclusivity. Having zero edges equals telling a story about how the company is willing to expand and be flexible within its limits. It also means that they are modern and have a very forward vision.

This design is common in an electronic company. Even though Sony's icon stays with the old one in rigid typography, for their BRAVIA line, they choose a rounded sans-serif design.

Created by UNOM design | https://dribbble.com/shots/18272088-Bear-With-Fish-In-Mouth-Logo-for-Sale
 

Dell Alienware is also a good example of how the logo's shape can tell the story to the audience. The Alienware story is about a computer with the latest technology. The idea is the hardware is so good and cutting-edge that it may as well be alien technology.

Even the most basic design can tell a story. Designers only need to align the shape with the company's story and repurpose it. Many designers tend to overcomplicate things and choose complicated designs.

They need to start small and focus on the basics or look at the competitors. For example, most airlines will feature a bird in their logo. The same goes with any ticketing app and website that will feature a travel item on their brand icon. They are using what they know to be working in the industry.

Created by Milos Djuric | https://dribbble.com/shots/17447989-Oregon

 

6. Communicate Using Typography

Finding the best typography can be a difficult task in a logo-making process. Designers often choose a simple and modern font family that is easy on a digital facade. 

However, they need to make a logo design that tells a story. Therefore, the typography holds the same importance as the image they choose. Of course, it needs to be readable to the audience. But above all, the typography needs to resonate with the company values.

Several companies choose to streamline their fonts in the logo to conform with the modern era or to make it more machine-readable. While some people hail this move, the company risks its identity and story. They have more chance of being lost among the majority that use the same font family.

Created by Skilline | https://dribbble.com/shots/17411137-Influence
 

To have a logo design that tells a story through the typography, designers need to find a font that is both timeless and unique at the same time. This can be a very thin line to walk. Many designers choose to copy another company's typography and only do minimum editing.

The right typography is more than just using the best font for the logo. Its placement and readability will affect how memorable the logo will be. Don't forget that designers can choose to use initials or the company name or both.

Created by Emir Ayouni | https://dribbble.com/shots/17469151-GROWCASE-COM-2022
 

Many designers use similar fonts for the other variants from the one in the primary logo. They do so to keep the logo and its variant as cohesive as possible. And also to avoid the complicated process of editing or finding a new font for the other variants.

Keep in mind that each font style tells a different story. Most people think that all serif fonts as old school or very formal. But not all the serif font is like that. Many serif fonts have a modern edge, leaving their traditional look behind. 

Created by Aron leah | https://dribbble.com/shots/17534691-NY-BURGERS

 

7. Communicate With Of Colors

What color a company chooses often reflects its values. This is one of the easiest and most direct storytelling methods. 

Let's take a law firm as an example. As a company that mainly works in a formal and often political situation, a law firm needs to have a serious image. They also need to show their importance so nobody will take them lightly. 

Therefore, any law firm will only use black or blue as their color. The only exception is when they use red or yellow as an accent color to give them a more modern look. But for older law firms, designers will only work with the firm name in a serif-type font. 

Created by Milos Djuric | https://dribbble.com/shots/17991716-Rebel
 

A more recent law firm will use various typography, but still, retain the formality and seriousness of the job. The same goes for several talent agencies or a publishing house.

Media and telecommunication companies have more freedom to explore the colors. Television, Internet services, and mobile phone service providers will use bright colors such as blue, red, and yellow to make a statement. Sometimes they use all of those colors to show diversity.

Specific colors are often associated with a certain gender or emotion, such as pink for girls and red for anger or passion. Designers can implement this color stereotype in their design. Or break the stereotype and present a unique color combination for the product. Of course, it needs to stay in line with the company's story.

Created by Rise Wise | https://dribbble.com/shots/18891113-Boy-Howdy-Bakeshop

 

8. Trust Your Instinct

Again, designers need to remember that the logo should do all the speaking. Therefore, the image needs to be compact and easy to understand. The public needs to understand the company's value through the icon.

Letting their main icon speaks is easy when it has all the right elements. It means it has the right shape and image with the right color and font to complement each other. The designer's task is to have those elements in the appropriate proportion.

Sometimes the designers choose to remove the shape and have the image and colors do the talking. Or they remove the company's name from the primary logo and only feature it in the horizontal one. 

At any rate, the design needs to tell the whole story effortlessly. At the very least, the logo needs to convey the company's values. It's the designer's task to figure out the best proportion for the best icon.

Created by Andrii Kovalchuk | https://dribbble.com/shots/18507777-Crocodile

 

 

How telling the story helps a brand

In short, the image that tells a story is easier to remember. Everyone will recognize the brand right away. Since the public counts as potential customers, having a memorable icon with a story will boost the company's visibility and sales.

This storytelling is convenient for marketing purposes. But it's also helpful in keeping longevity. Any brand with a story in its image will have more people recognizing it anywhere.

Each company is unique and carries different values. This uniqueness is what the logo needs to tell the public. When the designer starts working on their icon, they also need to start figuring out future marketing efforts.

Created by Jessie Maisonneuve | https://dribbble.com/shots/18041346-Good-Days-mascot
 

Any logo design needs to be unique. But it's also crucial for the primary icon to help the marketing effort. After all, the public will see the icon first before the product or service. Therefore, it needs a cohesive theme between the variants and marketing works.

Relentless marketing won't make any dent when the icon is forgettable. Of course, the products and brand ambassadors matter in the process. But the real face of the brand is the logo itself. That is why some of the largest retailers choose to revamp their image to make it simpler and hopefully more memorable.

Created by Milos Djuric | https://dribbble.com/shots/15888431-Deerish

 

Final Words

Many companies and projects disregard the importance of telling a story through their logos. The common denominator is the misconception about the logo. Most people think it only needs to be catchy and memorable. Thus, the designers have difficulties articulating the story.

But it can't be memorable without any story. The story behind the logo is a crucial part of the branding process. The public will always see the company through its logo to guess what values they uphold. That is why almost all law firms will have this solid firm name in strong serif typography.

Created by Joe Hansen | https://dribbble.com/shots/17276089-2021-Recap
 

Utilizing the right elements in the right proportion is key to designing a logo. Designers need to figure out the basic shape and images, as well as the colors and typography the logo needs to have. Sometimes, they don't need images or even typography.

Having an image that can tell a story can push the company and project forward. They will have better visibility and more engagement from the public. And in the long run, these companies are bound for great success.

Keep in mind that blatant copying is not the way to go. It's okay to implement the values similarly, but the design has to be unique and stay that way. 

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