Building a community: Creating a logo

by Martin Reed on 28 December 2007 in Articles

Creating a logo for a website

This is the fourth article in what I hope will be an indefinite series about the processes involved in developing a brand new community from scratch. I am currently developing a brand new online community and will detail its development on this blog. As I have said before, I think it is far easier to learn by example rather than simply reading another person’s theories and ideas.

An important step that I need to take in order to build a successful new online community is to have a strong, brandable logo. As I have written before in an article entitled ‘Ensure your community has a brand‘, it is important that your website is easily recognisable and memorable – one way of doing this is by having a good logo.

The benefits of a strong logo

A logo is what sets your site apart from the competition. A logo should communicate your brand’s message – it should tell people what your site is about. A logo should be easy to remember and use symbols. Symbols are easier to remember than words, so make sure your logo incorporates them if you want it to be remembered.

A strong logo also reminds someone that they have previously visited your site. Someone may visit your site only to forget about it. If they drop by again, they may give your site a closer look if they remember it from a previous visit. One way people remember a website is through a strong design and a strong logo.

Designing a logo

I have absolutely no design ability whatsoever! Therefore, I once again turned to SitePoint to find a logo for my new online community. By starting a logo design competition in the SitePoint Contests section, I was able to present a brief to a huge number of designers who would then offer me concepts which I could evaluate.

At this stage, I do not have an overall site design in mind – therefore I was able to give the designers a great deal of artistic freedom when it came to the logo. It is still important however, to give the designers as much information as possible. I therefore told them about the site – its aims, its purposes and how it will work. I told them that the logo should convey the site’s purpose and message. I also said that I wanted the logo to appear friendly, approachable and professional and that it should be feminine, but not ridiculously so – I am aiming the site at an adult audience, and want the design to reflect this.

The benefits of using the SitePoint Contests section are huge – I can set my own budget (the prize money) and see ideas and entries from a large number of different designers. If I approached a single design firm, I would have such a wide variety of concepts to choose from.

By the end of the ten day contest, I had over 150 entries to choose from. Of these, about eight or nine ended up being serious contenders. I am still deciding on the winning entry, and have asked the opinions of some individuals that my new site will be targeting, but I can say now that the winning logo will have the following qualities:

1. Include symbols or some form of basic imagery
2. Be simple and easily memorable
3. Convey the attributes of the new website

Once I have decided upon the winner, I will then ensure that both myself and the designer sign a transfer of rights agreement. When this has been done, I will transfer the money and receive the files.

By next week I will have a fantastic new logo for my online community – then I just need to sort out the design for the rest of the site. It is important that your logo ‘fits’ with the rest of your site design. For this reason, I always look to design a site around the logo and not the other way around. The logo should contain the most important messages you wish to convey about your site and its brand. Therefore, it makes sense to extend the rest of your site design from the logo rather than have a logo designed as an after-thought.

Your thoughts

Does your website have a strong logo? How did you go about designing it? Did you design it yourself or get someone else to do it for you? What planning stages did you go through? Did you design your logo before or after the rest of your site? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below.

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Mr Pasadena Lasik December 29, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Man I really need to have a new logo made. Mine is just terrible lol. I’ll have to check out Sitepoint to see if there’s anything that I can find!

Smiley December 30, 2007 at 8:49 pm

This is one thing I am missing; a logo. I forgot to get a design where I could incorporate a decent logo, and now I understand what you mean about having a site designed AROUND the logo, not the other way around.

I could have a logo made or find one now, sure.. but that’d mean me changing site designs. I only changed the design 4 months ago.. 2 different designs in 4 months is a bit much wouldn’t you agree?

Hirsutism January 2, 2008 at 4:22 am

I agree smiley, a change in design in just 4 months is a bit much. Try and get a logo made which gesl with your current design. I need a good logo designed for my site. I think logo is very important for establishment of brands. I guess even I would go to sitepoint and feed in my requirements.

Josh January 2, 2008 at 4:53 pm

I also really need a logo. I’ve been checking out several logo design websites, but frankly, I think your contest idea is a much better way to go. Tip much appreciated!

small business credi January 2, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Hmm… I was thinking about creating a logo… Now I’m gonna create soon. Nice post. keep it up.

Martin Reed - Blog Author January 2, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Mr Pasadena Lasik – Good luck; I am sure if you set up a contest over at SitePoint you will end up with a great logo!

Smiley – You should definitely avoid changing your overall design too frequently however I don’t think there is anything wrong with changing your logo – as long as it fits with your current site design.

Maybe you should consider spending a few months working on a complete site redesign. By the time you have everything ready to go, enough time should have elapsed between redesigns.

Hirsutism – I agree; a logo is definitely an important factor when it comes to successfully branding a website.

Josh – No worries; if you end up starting a design contest at SitePoint make sure you check back and let us know how you get on.

small business – Good luck; be sure to let us know how you get on!

Joel Falconer January 3, 2008 at 1:31 am

I have found that increasingly, online and off, logos are becoming either:
– Designs without meaning, or
– Designs with unclear meaning

Being able to understand the message a logo is communicating is vital to remembering it. If nobody can figure it out you’ll have to look elsewhere to devesop brand familiarity. Well, preferably you’d look to a new logo!

Online Furniture Store January 3, 2008 at 10:25 am

Yes a logo really important as being probably the most important thing that a person assoiciates with a product or service. It is the logo which forms the association which in turn creates brand recall in a consumers’ mind.

Smiley January 3, 2008 at 10:29 am

Hmm.. good idea, Martin. Thanks for that! Spending a few months will also help me think about the overall layout of the site, too. And hopefully it’ll be almost perfect in a few months.

I say almost perfect, because as we know, a site is NEVER finished ;)

Amish Made Furniture January 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm

On line or offline, logos serve to recall a brand. If the logo and the brand are the same, nothing like it. For instance, GE, IBM, Google etc readily come to mind. The original purpose for the logos was to reinforce the brand’s recall.

In the present scenario of readership of blogs rather than random sighting of logos, or rather devices, is meaningless, except as a feature of design and to perhaps enhance the aesthetics of the home page.

Nicole Price January 4, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I so badly need a logo for my own site. Designing is just not my cup of tea.

Motivator January 5, 2008 at 2:39 am

I got my site’s logo designed by a logo designer..It sure is looking good now when compared to the previous logo

Martin Reed - Blog Author January 7, 2008 at 3:19 am

Joel – You’re right. It is important that my new logo conveys some sense of the purpose of the website as well as being easy to remember.

Reena – Agreed. Logos really should use symbols as they are easy for the brain to remember and recall.

Smiley – You’re right; a website is never finished. Good luck with your redesign process. It is challenging but hugely rewarding when done properly.

Ramana – I think many people start a website without thinking much about their logo and how it will affect their site. My main site, Just Chat, has no real logo – looking back, I wish I had a strong, relevant logo for the site and this is something I may look to rectify in the future.

Nicole – Why not give SitePoint a try, then? Be sure to keep us updated with how you get on.

Motivator – If you don’t have the natural talent yourself, it is always a good idea to get a designer to do the work for you.

Katie January 7, 2008 at 7:51 pm

What we learnt the most about that matter is – do not show a client any logo design that you donít really love!

Martin Reed - Blog Author January 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Katie – I would say that is definitely an important point. It would be hard to sell a concept if you don’t fully believe in it yourself. Additionally, you don’t want your name to be associated with poor designs.

Melissa Odom January 22, 2008 at 12:12 am

Thanks for this post. I had called around to get an idea of how much it costs to have someone design a logo. After looking at some of the entries at sitepoint, they seem just as professional as one that costs a lot more money. So, I decided to give it a try. :) We will see what happens.

Martin, would you be willing to post how much it is costing you to create this site from scratch? Not an exact amount, just a ballpark figure. I am curious. One of my problem earlier was that I didn’t have a lot of money and as you have stated, you get what you pay for. I still don’t have a lot of money but I have found a way to free up some cash to invest in my site, so I am able to pay for people to help me.

Martin Reed - Blog Author January 22, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Melissa – Best of luck with your contest over at SitePoint; I am sure you will get a logo you’ll be happy with – let me know how you get on.

I will definitely write an article about my budget for the new community I am developing. I am in a fortunate position as the success of Just Chat has afforded me a decent budget, however a site can still be successful with a significantly lower investment. Stay tuned!

Melissa Odom January 29, 2008 at 9:37 am

Hey Martin, Here is the link to my sitepoint contest – Any feedback will definitely be appreciated. :)

Martin Reed - Blog Author January 30, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Melissa – I think your design brief for the contest could have been more detailed. If you don’t know what kind of design you want, simply talk about your aims and objectives for the site – how you want it to develop, what you want it to be known for, what makes it different etc etc etc.

Having said that, you have received a large number of entries – now you just have to pick a winner!

Logo Design March 4, 2008 at 9:05 am

While searching on internet I go through your blog and found it so interesting. What you have written I am agree with you.Logo design is a most important part of graphic design. It should be perfect and according to the company services because the logo represents companies brands or corporate identities.
Your logo should be attractive and message conveying.
Thats good post!

Martin Reed - Blog Author March 4, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Logo – I am glad you agree; although seeing as you are a logo designer, I would be surprised if you didn’t!

David May 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm

That is a great idea. I have no artistic ability at all, and most of my logos look just awful. I’m definitely going to give the Sitepoint contest a try.

Martin Reed - Blog Author May 5, 2008 at 4:10 pm

David – Good luck, be sure to come back and let us know how you got on!

Anthony Gianfrancesco January 20, 2009 at 10:26 am

I’ve made a great logo with my company. It really helps for promoting and stuff. Make little sticker with your logo and website. Easy advertising!!

Casper October 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Here’s proof that a logo works. I first found this site while looking for info a while back (the admin of a forum I’m on is an absentee landlord, so we were looking to start our own). I read about the new logo and the ideas, but didn’t think too much of it at the time. We shelved the new site idea until recently, as spammers have taken over and our admin is still nowhere to be found. Sure enough, how did I recall the name of this site? Because of the logo.

Good logos work!!

Clayton Shumway December 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Great post. People don’t realize the effect a well designed logo can have on a business, but a consumers perception of that business. Clean, simple, and clever reigns.

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