If you’re like most graphic designers, the thought of designing a logo and brand identity for yourself (vs. a client) might sound like an incredibly stressful undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be!
The key to designing your own personal logo is to treat the process like you would for any design client. Don’t just dive straight into designing. Instead, go through the steps you would for your best clients and approach designing your own logo methodically. Keep reading for a few helpful tips to guide your logo design process. But first, why do you even need a personal logo?
Why do you need a personal logo?
You might be wondering—why do I even need a logo in the first place?
Logos serve many purposes. But for the professional graphic designer, a well-thought-out logo design can help you draw in the right clients, add credibility to your business, and build brand awareness and loyalty.
If you’re a logo designer, your own logo is a key marketing tool. But even if designing logos isn’t your specialty, a well-designed logo does wonders to attract the right clients.
Step 1: Define your brand
As designers, we can spend so much time focusing on defining other people’s brands that we sometimes neglect our own. But before you embark on designing a logo for yourself, you should spend some time thinking about what makes your brand unique.
A well-defined brand will work to draw your ideal clients to you. Your brand should reflect not only your own values when it comes to design but also the values your clients are likely to have.
Come up with a few keywords that describe your brand and use that as a starting point for designing your logo.
Step 2: Research your competition
After you have a good idea of the purpose behind creating a logo and what your brand is all about, it’s time to start collecting some inspiration and checking out what your competition is doing.
I recommend starting with the logos of your competitors. What style logo do they use? Where and how do they use it?
From there, check out logos from designers you look up to, as well as logos from other creative companies. Start creating moodboards with logos and other design elements you like, including typography and color palettes.
Collect everything that catches your eye at this stage. You can start to refine what you want to draw inspiration from in the next couple of stages.
Step 3: Decide on the right type of format for your logo
There are a few basic types of logos that you can choose from for your personal brand. Note that some types of logos can even be combined:
Each type of logo is versatile enough to be used in a variety of ways, though some have a slightly more rigid structure than others (such as emblem logos).
Abstract logos are an excellent choice for creative pros. They can closely represent real-world items, or be entirely conceptual. There’s a lot of freedom available to designers in how they use an abstract-style logo.
While abstract logos may or may not readily resemble what they represent, pictorial, mascot, and emblem logos are all clearly recognizable. The same is true for lettermarks and wordmark logos. Despite their more literal nature, there are still plenty of creative possibilities with these types of logos.
Step 4: Test the concept
While I often don’t recommend designing a bunch of different mockups for clients (too many options can cause choice paralysis or result in a Frankenstein-esque design), when you’re designing your own logo the rules are different. I still don’t recommend creating dozens of different logo mockups, but creating 3-5 makes sense if you don’t immediately know the direction you want to go in.
Start out with some basic concepts. Don’t be afraid to discard early drafts that don’t resonate with you or your brand. The goal is to try a bunch of different ideas until you find a few that feel like they fit. From there, you can start to narrow down your choices.
When you have a handful of ideas that you feel could work, it’s time to really examine them in the context of your goals. Ask yourself how a prospective client or another designer would perceive each design.
Does it give the impression you want to give? Does it fit with your brand keywords? Look critically at each one and discard those that aren’t a good fit.
You may want to do some basic user testing and research of those logos you’re considering moving forward with. Ask trusted colleagues or people who represent your ideal client what kind of thoughts or emotions the logo evokes for them to make sure your impression of it is accurate.
Step 5: Refine your favorite
Once you’ve created some mockups you like and that fit your brand, it’s time to pick one to move forward with and refine it. Clean up the typography, adjust the logo color scheme and make any minor adjustments to the overall design. The goal in this stage of the process is to make your logo look as professional as possible.
Be careful not to get bogged down in this stage. It can be easy to continue making small tweaks and changes indefinitely, trying to make your logo “perfect”. Remember that most people, including other designers, will not notice the difference in these small changes, as they won’t know that any details you feel are “off” aren’t intentional.
There comes a point where you have to declare your logo “finished” if you ever hope to actually use it.
Launching your new personal logo
Once you’ve refined your design, it’s time to launch your new personal logo! You may want to create a blog post or social media post to announce your new logo (this can be an excellent opportunity to share your process for creating your logo).
You’ll also want to update your design portfolio on Dribbble and social media profiles to include the logo if you choose. Be sure you add your new logo to things like proposal and invoice templates, automated emails, and other marketing materials too.
What’s the point of designing a new logo if you don’t spread it far and wide? Be proud of your logo and show it off to the world! ■
More personal logo design ideas & inspiration
About the Author — Cameron Chapman: Editor. Blogger. Author. Designer. Copywriter. Marketer. Entrepreneur. Speaker. Consultant. Coach. I wear a lot of hats. What most of them have in common, though, is storytelling.