We explore entrepreneur logo design and everything you need to know to get started. Skip to a section based on what you want to learn, or read the guide from start to finish:
- What is an entrepreneur logo?
- Why entrepreneurs need a logo
- What does a logo represent?
- What makes a good logo design?
- What is the logo design process?
- What are the principles of logo design?
- The 3 types of logos
- When to use black and white logos
- Popular entrepreneur logo fonts
- How to trademark a logo
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1. What is an entrepreneur logo?
Entrepreneur logo design is the act of making or outsourcing the design of a unique logo for a small business. An entrepreneur logo might be for a micropreneur, solopreneur, small business, or startup. Entrepreneurs will need a logo in low resolution, high resolution and vector formats. Social media flashmark files are also recommended.
An entrepreneur logo can be any of the following types (we’ll talk more about these in section 7):
- Text-based logo (wordmark)
- Symbol-based logo (iconic or flashmark)
- Initial logo (lettermark)
Let’s look at a few definitions to better understand the basics of logo design.
A logo is the combination of a symbol and the name of a company. The purpose of a logo is to create a visual representation of a company that helps customers recognize and make a connection with a brand.
The way a symbol and font are arranged, plus the color and size of the font and symbol, together make a logo.
There are 3 types of symbols (not to be confused with types of logos) in logo design:
- An abstract symbol (like the Olympics linked rings, Toyota)
- An object or pictorial symbol (like the shell of Shell gasoline or the Starbucks siren)
- A styled initial (initials of the name of a company, like Tesla or IBM)
What is an abstract logo?
An abstract logo doesn’t have any meaning alone. Abstract logos are largely adopted by big companies that can spend significant resources on brand identity campaigns. Descriptive or name-based logos are typically a stronger choice for everyone else.
Abstract logos are recognized and aid brand awareness when the logo has been seen at least 10 times. But if an abstract logo can reach a consumer enough times to leave that memorable mark, they have a powerful imprint on a consumer’s psyche.
2. Why entrepreneurs need a logo
Small businesses and startups suddenly find themselves competing with the professionally-designed logos and branding visuals large corporations are represented by – social media is the ultimate leveling of the playing field. It places big brands next to small brands, which can be a positive thing for a small business – if their branding is done properly.
Users can easily tell the difference between an outdated, badly designed mark and a clean, simple, modern mark used by a brand like Apple.
And because they’re seeing so many logos (up to 5,000) each and every day, they know a good one when they see it, even if they don’t have any real graphic design knowledge.
The goal, then, is to make a logo that visually competes with those of major corporations by being recognizable, creates an “emotional anchor” to your business, and represents your brand well enough to encourage customer loyalty. (If that sounds like a tall order, don’t worry. You can make an entrepreneur logo in under 5 minutes using our easy, free logo maker.)
“Your logo is the most memorable aspect of your business.”
Along with your company name, your logo is the most memorable aspect of your business identity. Your business will use its logo to be instantly recognized on the web, social media, print advertising, live events and more.
What are the advantages of logos?
Researchers have shown that through a single symbol or word mark, a strong logo benefits a business in 3 revenue-boosting ways:
- Self-identifying benefit
- Functional benefit
- Aesthetic appeal
Self-identifying the brand means showing who or what the brand is simply and visually. Think “We know who we are.”
The functional benefit is that a logo serves to “label” the products and services a business provides. It keeps two similar brands from being confused with one another. Think “You know who we are.”
The aesthetic appeal of a logo (that’s been properly designed) is how subjectively attractive and appealing the logo is. Everyone has different ideas of what looks good and what doesn’t, but most can agree on whether a design is appealing or unappealing. Think “Our logo draws people in.”
From instant recognition to emotional connection, a good logo serves a business well.
Interested in the science behind a strong logo?
A 2011 study of 450 college students published in the Journal of Business Research measured the benefits of a logo to business objectives:
Self-identify: The study found that people associate with a brand and differentiate themselves from others. As the visual representation of a brand, logos reinforce a brand’s core values. This gives logos the ability to strengthen association between brand and customer.
Functional benefit: Brands can create in customers a sense of a more effective, more capable self. As visual representations of brands, logos remind customers of these direct benefits to quality of life.
Aesthetic appeal: Highly attractive brands are more likely to build connections with their customers than brands with unappealing aesthetic qualities. The aesthetic appeal of a logo impacts the emotional connection and commitment to a brand.
3. What does a logo represent?
An effective logo visually represents 3 basics:
- Brand identity: The special personality of a brand as it presents itself to the public.
- Brand equity: The commercial value of customer perception of brand rather than the product or service itself.
- Competitive advantage: A clear statement of the benefit of an offer and how it’s different from competing offers.
As a “short and sweet” visual representation of a brand, the logo communicates the brand personality, the value of the brand, and how it stands out in the market.
4. What makes a good logo design?
While good logo design may be subjective, it’s easy to see when a logo obviously falls short or isn’t appealing to the target audience. Good logo design is based on 4 basic elements and follows a general process.
What is logo design?
Logo design is the process of developing a mark to visually represent a brand. Good logo design takes the following elements into consideration:
- Target audience
- Competitive advantage
- Value proposition
- Brand identity
The logo design process is highly influenced by the brand identity, value proposition, competitive advantage, and target audience.
Is branding the same as logo design?
A brand, its identity and its logo are related:
- The brand is the whole corporate image as it’s perceived by society.
- The brand identity encompasses the visual aspects of a brand.
- The logo is the simplest form of visual identification of a brand through a mark.
In an ideal world, logo design occurs after a brand is established and a brand identity is formed.
What makes a logo “good?”
A well-designed logo can:
- Inspire trust
- Build customer loyalty
- Imply superiority over similar brands
The best logos have these factors in common:
A good logo is simple – ideally, it could be redrawn from memory. Simple is recognizable, especially in the age of information overload, and simplistic designs stand out from the crowd. Keeping a design minimal also helps it become timeless and unaffected by passing fads and trends (like the unchanged Chanel logo).
To be mobile-friendly and optimized for social media, the design needs to be scalable and easily visible at both very small and very large sizes.
The free FlashMarks logo maker is full of unique symbols that scale up and down without losing quality, plus gives you a full set of custom social media logos for your company pages and profiles! Click the button to make your logo now.
5. What is the logo design process?
With the help of simple DIY logo makers like FlashMarks, the logo design process can be shortened to 4 basic steps:
- Enter the name of the business
- Choose the correct industry for the business to pull up symbols for that industry
- Select a symbol and font to use in the logo
- Download the free logo
That’s a major improvement on the previous design process with a graphic designer – usually around 9 steps and a lot more expensive.
- Collect key business information with a logo design form.
- Develop a design brief using the information about the business.
- Conduct research on the industry, company history, competitive landscape and target audience.
- Collect reference material to understand trends, successful imagery, and current styles.
- Brainstorm and sketch logo concepts.
- Refine, reflect and receive non-client feedback.
- Present the best designs for consideration.
- Incorporate feedback from company leaders.
- Design a “family of marks”–social media friendly versions of the logo to match each platform’s unique aspect ratio and requirements.
The much longer, more involved process to work with a graphic designer instead of using a DIY logo maker is the reason for the vast difference in price between these two options.
Many entrepreneurs prefer logo makers rather than design professionals because they are able to directly translate their “vision” for the logo into reality (often within a few minutes), rather than trying to communicate their ideas over a month or more to a freelancer or firm responsible for designing their logo.
6. What are the principles of logo design?
Design principles can help you understand what goes into making a design look professional. These 7 principles guide logo design:
- Line: The edge of a shape or the mark of a pen or brush, straight or curved
- Shape: A self-contained, defined area, positive or negative
- Proportion: The size of elements in relation to one another
- Direction: Vertical, horizontal, oblique (slanting)
- Texture: The surface quality or appearance
- Color: Hue, value and intensity
- Font: A typesetting with weight, spacing and characteristics that give each personality
You’ll want to keep these principles in mind to make a logo with the right look, feel and message about your brand.
Logo Design with the Golden Ratio (1.618)
Have you heard of the Golden Ratio, aka the divine proportion? The golden ratio is 1.1618 or the number ɸ.
We find the golden ratio in art and architecture reaching back to the ancients. It’s a guiding measurement in the Great Pyramids and the Parthenon. It’s in all of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces, including The Last Supper and Vitruvian Man.
It’s the golden ratio we see in the Fibonacci sequence, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and so on where the next number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. The ratio of each number to the next is (rounded to) 1.618.
The golden ratio is everywhere you look in nature from the smallest–DNA helix, flower petals, spiral shells–to the largest–from hurricanes to a spiral galaxy.
And of course, we see the golden ratio at work in logos! Apple, Twitter, Google, Toyota and many more are guided by golden proportions.
7. The 3 types of logos
There are 3 basic types of logos: wordmarks, lettermarks, and flashmarks (symbol or iconic).
- A wordmark is the brand name in stylized font, like FedEx, Google or Kellogg’s. These logos are tough to use on social media profiles and as favicons on webpages because they can’t be read at very small sizes.
- A lettermark is a logo made of letters like a monogram — think IBM and HBO. If your company name is long, you could consider using the business name initials to simplify the design.
- A flashmark is a logo comprised of a single symbol or icon, often used on social media. The Apple and Nike logos are examples of flashmarks. These logos are becoming more and more common as social media use increases and mobile device browsing becomes the norm because they are designed to be visible at any size, large or small, without losing detail. They have the most modern look.
Also worth mentioning is the combination mark, which combines a flashmark with a wordmark or lettermark. This is most likely what you picture when you think of a logo: a symbol along with the brand name or brand initials. When you make a free logo with FlashMarks, you’ll create a combination mark (text and symbol) and have the option to download additional files, including flashmark versions (symbol only) for social media pages and favicons.
8. When to use black and white logos
You might use a black and white logo if:
- Black and/or white is your brand’s main color
- You haven’t settled on a color palette yet
- You want to communicate timelessness, value, or elegance
- You’re using your logo against a background or amid colors that clash with your original logo color(s)
There are 3 main advantages to developing an initial logo design in black and white:
- Translates to all sizes
- Inspires creativity
- Communicates succinctly
When a design is not overly complex and retains all detail in black and white, regardless of scale, this demonstrates a design’s simplicity and versatility.
Limiting the color palette is also a trick that helps a designer developing a logo. It’s often the limits put on a process that inspires creativity.
A logo designed in black and white requires distinct and compact communication, and is likely to stand out in a crowd. This is why one test of memorable logo design is if the logo is effective without color.
9. Popular entrepreneur logo fonts
Entrepreneur logos (those that use text in their design) use a range of fonts in their design. Contrary to popular belief, the most commonly used fonts are not trendy, flashy, or overly styled – they’re basic and easy to read. The general classifications of fonts for logo design are:
- Serif: Letters have little “tick marks” or feet on the ends. Ex: Sony
- Can be further classified as old style, transitional, neoclassical, slab and glyphic serif styles.
- Sans serif: Letters do not have tick marks or feet on the ends. Often appear more modern. Ex: Google
- Under the subcategories grotesque, square, geometric and humanistic sans serif styles.
- Script: Letters appear to be written in a flowing or cursive style. Ex: Coca-Cola
- Further classified as formal, calligraphic, blackletter, lombardic and casual scripts.
- Decorative: The font itself is the design or decoration for the logo. Ex: Disney
- Diverse body of styles reflecting a culture, theme or time period.
Font selection is a significant design decision when creating a logo. A font can be playful, dynamic, balanced, bold, and convey every characteristic under the sun.
It’s best to keep your font choice to a maximum of two fonts. And when a logo design is a word mark, or primarily composed of a type font, such as FedEx or Google, font is literally everything. Play around with a few different fonts (in a few different sizes) before settling on the one you like best.
10. How to trademark a logo
As a business owner, you’re probably considering applying to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a trademark on your logo. If so, you’re on the right track!
How do you trademark a logo design?
To be eligible for trademark registration, a logo:
- Must not be likely to be confused with other marks due to similarity of appearance or meaning
- Must not be likely to be confused with other marks among goods or services within a related industry
- Must be strong vs. weak, where strong is distinguishable and weak is descriptive
Read the full pamphlet from the USPTO, Protecting Your Trademark: Enhancing Your Rights Through Federal Registration for the considerations the office recommends making when selecting your logo.
The most common reason the USPTO refuses registration is the likelihood of confusion.
To see other logos that the USPTO will compare your design to search for designs in the trademark database.
With these important considerations in mind, you’re ready to make your own logo! You don’t need design experience or a list of ideas to get started. We’ll show you the most appropriate symbols for your industry and give you a few layout options. You can do it all from a smartphone! Click the button to make yours now.