Designing a business logo that speaks to the both the heart and minds of your audience is one of the foundation keys to building a memorable brand and a successful business.
It will communicate what you stand for as a brand and it will help foster an emotional connection between your business and your customers.
If at this point you’re thinking “where do I sign?” you’re going to want to pump the breaks. It’s a lot harder to succeed in designing a logo that speaks to your people than you might think.
And, while there are a ton of general best practices for how to make a logo, it’s important to see how the mavens of your industry used their own logo to make it big.
That’s why we’ve gathered our favorite logos across 7 huge industries; let’s look at how they’ve managed to stand out in their field, and how you can do the same!
The most obvious choice for a top food and beverage logo is the timeless-yet-classic McDonald’s yellow arches.
A clear reminder to would-be customers of McDonald’s delicious, beefy fries, these arches are a symbol meant to capture the attention of pedestrians down the road and drivers on the highway. It’s a logo that demands attention while reminding onlookers that they’re hungry – and can come to McDonald’s to eat.
Aside from the fact that it’s an attention-grabber, there’s a lot you can learn from the fast-food logo.
For starters, creating a logo that makes customers want to eat is a great starting point. Whether you run a cafe or a casual diner, you should think about the type of vibe you want to put out into the world – festive and homey vs. elegant and exclusive, for example.
Use this decision to help you choose a typeface in your genre. Handwritten fonts are trendy; stylized script fonts are on the fancier side. Family-friendly McDonald’s went for a customized font that most mimics a modern sans-serif.
Good restaurant logos tend to avoid obvious icons, as you don’t want to limit yourself to one specific type of food (unless your brand is all about emphasizing your obsession with cucumbers, in which case – have at it.) Instead, as with good ole’ Mickey D’s, stylized initials are usually the way to go.
Businesses in the entertainment industry have a lot to live up to, in that the need they serve is purely one of enjoyment. Unlike some of the other industries on the list, this one has to convince its audience that it’s necessary at all; after all, people can live without seeing a movie in a way that they can’t without fixing a leaky roof.
And, although we love to be entertained, we’re quick to do away with books, shows, movies, songs, etc. that don’t immediately grab our attention.
To make your mark on the entertainment world, you need a cool logo – one that’s obviously creative and also tells your audience how you’re going to entertain them.
The best example of a good entertainment logo design is brought by the most iconic entertainment company of all time: Disney.
Whether you’re a three-year-old princess-wannabe or a seventy-year-old movie buff, chances are you’ll recognize the Disney logo come hell or high water.
What sets this logo apart from others in the industry is its charming castle icon, playful type, and overall whimsical feel that makes viewers open their imaginations. They pair contrasting fonts that have a similar mood, while keeping the color palette restricted to simple blues and whites.
Your entertainment logo should paint a similar picture, whether you’re in the film world or comic book crowd. Focus on isolating one element to stand out; if you choose a decorative font, consider a muted color palette; if your icon is the main event, use a classic serif typeface to offset the design.
In creative industries like photography, the temptation may be strong to design a wild, colorful, complicated logo for your business.
Yet, while that may work for a select few, the majority of photography businesses are either freelancers trying to make their mark, sellers of camera equipment, or studios that specialize in different areas of photography – most of which who wouldn’t benefit from an overly-complicated logo.
In general, one of the biggest logo design mistakes people make is cluttering up their logo in the name of creativity.
Like this Jason Kindig logo, photography logos should air on the side of simplicity and straightforwardness. (That doesn’t mean avant-garde photographers need to shy away from doing something out-of-the-box, but as a general rule, simple = better.)
Notice how he uses a shutter icon to replace the “o” in his name, aligning the color with the separator between his name and his tagline. It’s professional, to the point, and engaging – just like your photography logo should be.
Safety, security, expertise; these are the main things people look for when dealing with a healthcare company. They want to know their health is in good hands, that the group responsible for taking care of them is trustworthy.
Color is at the route of strong healthcare logos, like the world-renowned Red Cross. Originally intended to be a tribute to the Swiss and the Geneva Conventions, it has become a global symbol of healthcare, medicine, and first aid.
Why does it work? Some people associate the cross with religion, and faith that everything is going to be okay. Others see the symbol as an anchor that provides the same reassurance.
When designing your own healthcare logo, you should heavily going with a blue or green color palette, as these carry the strongest associations with security, expertise, nature, and overall well-being.
And, to distinguish yourself from other logos in the industry, you may want to stay away from using a cross-like icon (not to knock its effectiveness!). Instead, consider going with a pair of hands, a common symbol found in nature (like a tree or a plant), or an abstract mark.
There’s no one-size-fits-all logo in the technology sector, as tech companies can span the widest range of products and services.
And, as technology influences every aspect of our lives, there are a million different tones tech brands can take with their brand design, depending on the message they want to get across.
The one underlying factor that does work for technology, however, is simplicity. From Apple’s fruit to Twitter’s bird, tech giants are known for taking a simple icon and turning it into the focal point of their logo.
Tech startup Elevatr followed a similar path. The company has one goal: To provide more accessible support to those struggling with mental health. Both their name and their tagline – “Lifting you up” – are emphasized with the universally-recognized symbol for going up.
While the logo is simple, it is both literally and figuratively uplifting – letting its audience know that they will feel better in Elevatr’s hands.
What are the values that lie at the heart of your business?
Maybe you promise your customers utmost safety and security as they walk on the bridges you build. Maybe you want to focus on the sense of community your work brings to a neighborhood. Or, like Midas Construction, perhaps you prefer to emphasize the quality of the homes you deliver.
As a subsidiary of one of the biggest construction companies in the world (The Midas Group), Midas Construction specializes in home improvements, renovations and remodeling.
Their logo boasts a sophisticated slab-serif typeface, with a house-like letter “A” in the middle of the logo – in purple, to symbolize luxury and royalty. The rest of the logo is black, which helps to accentuate the purple and their commitment to beautiful home improvements.
Your construction logo should similarly emphasize your values and your promise to your audience, whether through an all-caps font to stand for sturdiness or orange lettering to convey innovation and development.
Also, you’ll want to think about your layout when designing your construction logo; many in the industry favor an icon stacked on top of the business name, in order to give the impression of height (reminiscent of successful building) to the audience.
The music industry is replete with bold, unique logos that represent studios and bands alike. Unlike many other industries, music logos are ideal for extreme fonts, loud color choices and crazy icons.
Remember the Rolling Stones, whose logo is pictured above? Case-in-point. Some hail it as the most iconic design of all time, while others just associate it with a mega-talented rock band.
Either way, there’s no denying that these infamous lips have kissed their way into the minds of everyone born south of 1960 – and for good reason. Whether you run a music studio or are in a band yourself, take your upcoming logo design as an opportunity to get wild and have fun.
That said, try and create a unique logo that represents the type of music you play, mix, or sell; after all, you’re still trying to connect with the audience who will (hopefully) become your biggest fans.
And, if you’re in a band, never – I repeat, NEVER – use a music-related icon to stand in as your band logo – you’ll turn your audience off faster than they can say “sellout.”
Industry leaders are always a good source of logo design inspiration, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which values you want expressed to your audience and how best to do that in a way that speaks to them. Don’t be afraid to play around with fonts, colors and layouts; just remember to keep things simple, and always have your target audience in mind as you tweak your new design.