You will want to create a logo for your company or organization. Our first suggestion is to hire or commission a designer if you have the resources. Although it may appear to be straightforward, designing a logo is actually quite complex. Any experienced designer will tell you that. The design process rarely is.
We want you to have the best, and you get what you pay for.
Starting to build your brand’s visual identity can be difficult if you do not have the option of hiring a designer. However, we are here to help you through the process. We asked three designers, each with over eight years of experience, to tell us how they design a logo.
What they said may surprise you.
What is a logo?
This question is likely to evoke strong images of a well-known swoosh or an apple with a bite out of it. After all, we all know what a logo is.
A logo is a symbol or design used to identify a company or organization, as well as to represent its products, services, employees, etc.
In its simplest definition, a logo identifies. Your company’s branding is how it is recognized and remembered by others. It also functions as the face of your business.
Your logo can also be a way to express your organization’s values. Take Amazon’s, for example. The company’s smiley arrow logo communicates that it sells everything from “A-Z” and also represents how happy customers are when they shop with the company.
Although a logo can communicate a deeper message, it doesn’t have to. Most companies that are struggling to decide on a logo are putting too much pressure on it. Three of our designers believe that people put too much trust in logos.
A logo is not the only important thing.
A logo isn’t:
- Your brand
This is a common conflation, but your logo isn’t your brand. And your brand isn’t your logo. Your brand is intangible; it’s your reputation—what people think of when they hear your name, what they tell others about you and how you make them feel. Your brand is built from a thousand touchpoints with your customers—not from a logo.
- Your visual identity
When new companies or organizations request a logo, a good designer will say, “You don’t just need a logo, you need a brand identity.” Logos are part of the picture, but they’re not the entire thing. They’re just one image within a larger visual system that includes your colors, typography, photography, visuals, layout, etc.
- An indicator of success
Your logo isn’t going to make or break your business. Enron’s logo was good, but the company’s ethical code wasn’t. Two Men and a Truck is a billion-dollar company, and its logo is a stick figure drawing designed on a napkin by the founders’ mother. The best logo in the world can’t save a corrupt business, nor can the worst logo hold back an honest one.
Now that we understand what a logo can and can’t do, we can begin the design process.
How to design a logo
Here are two things to keep in mind as we dive in:
- Design is a lot of strategy. Yes, you will have to create something visual at some point. But the lion’s share of the work is strategic, especially at the beginning. Be prepared to do more thinking and decision-making than drawing.
- You’re not just designing a logo. Remember that the logo is only part of a larger visual system, and its individual pieces all need to work together.
You will want to work in phases if you want to do this right. While every designer’s process looks different, the one we’re going to guide you through has five phases:
Every phase has its own goal, process and deliverable. We’ll give an overview of why each stage is important, what actions or steps need to be taken, and what the final goal is that you’re working towards – which is necessary for the next stage.
Phase One: Discover
The discovery phase is the “question” phase. During the design process, designers work to gain a thorough understanding of their client’s company or organization, including its values, business, and brand attributes. They also ask preliminary questions about the desired look and feel, possible use-cases, and any special requests.
This will be a time for you to learn more about yourself. The goal is to have a clear understanding of your company/organization, your values, your objectives and your plan to achieve them. Remember, you’re not just designing a logo. You’re shaping your brand identity.
It can be helpful to go through the exercise of writing your answers down, even if you think you already know the answer. I think there are some things you haven’t thought about.
- Why do you want and/or need a new logo? What’s the catalyst for this design?
- What is the meaning/story behind your company name?
- Who are your target audiences?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What are your goals for this new logo? How will “success” be measured?
- Who are your 3-5 top brand “role models?” Who’s look and feel do you admire?
- What do you want people to feel when they see your logo?
- What are the values you wish your brand to express?
- What are the unique characteristics of your brand’s personality?
- For example: Is your brand refined, curious, nostalgic, vibrant, etc?
- This is a great resource to help you explore this more.
- For example: Is your brand refined, curious, nostalgic, vibrant, etc?
- What will be the main use-cases of the logo/visual system? Social? Website? T-shirts?
- Context matters!
- Any special requests or must-haves included in the design? If a visual refresh, anything to maintain from the previous iteration?
After you finish answering the questions, you will need to summarize your answers in a creative way that provides a general overview of your business. In this phase, you will begin to determine your objective for the design process, the tone of your brand, and visual considerations for your logo and design system. You may also uncover themes that will guide your design decisions moving forward.
You will use this strategy document as a guide during your next phase and to judge your success throughout the process. After each phase, check to see how well your deliverables align with the vision set out in the creative strategy. If personal opinions and preferences come up, use this document to keep things impartial.
Phase Two: Explore
This is the research phase, but it sounds more exciting if you call it exploration. And it is, we promise. This first phase of the design process might be the most fun and helpful, especially for those working alone on their project for the first time.
This means that you will be focusing on design that is not in your own personal space. You have two goals here: To get educated, and to get inspired.
Start simple by googling basic design principles. Learn about the basics of design like style, color, and typography.
The principles of color theory can be helpful for logo design, according to our designers. Different colors can create different emotions and behaviors in people, which can be helpful in getting the response you want from your audience. It’s fascinating stuff, really.
1. Use A Professional To Create Your Real Estate Logo
There are many websites and tools that can help you create a logo, but if you want to build a strong real estate business or team, it is very important to have a experienced graphic designer create your logo.
Why not create a logo that will make your marketing stand out from the competition? Spending money on marketing is an investment, so why not make the most of it?
Graphic designers typically charge between $500 and $4,000 to design a real estate logo, but there are other more economical options available. Here are a few of our favorites:
- LogoTournament.com — For $300, you can have designers from around the world submit logos. We’ve had several great experiences with them, where agents received between 200 and 370 logos to choose from.
- 99Designs.com – Similar to LogoTournament, you can spend between $300 and $1300 and will receive 30 to 60 real estate logos options. The more you spend, the better the designer.
- UpWork.com – This is a database of freelance graphic designers for hire. It takes a bit more research to find the best one for the job, but once you’ve formed that relationship with them, they can help you with your branding and graphic needs in the future (i.e. postcard templates, print ads, etc).
2. Find The Right Colors For Your Logo
Color plays a big role in people’s memories of your real estate logo, and it’s a cheap way to make a big impression on potential customers.
The colors of an image can create an emotional response in the viewer. For example, the color blue may give the viewer a sense of calm or trust in the brand.
The color red is associated with strong emotions and a sense of urgency, while purple is associated with royalty or wisdom.
As you can see from the examples, a simple logo with a clean font and dark colors can make your brand appear very modern, sophisticated, and/or elegant. If you want your real estate brand to appear more casual and fun, use brighter colors and a more relaxed font. This may attract more female than male customers.
What color combinations and font style you choose for your logo should take into account who your target clients are and what your goals are for your new team or brand.
Kerry Lucasse, eXp Realty Agent/Owner
If you want to focus on the luxury market, make sure your new logo reflects the clients you currently serve and the ones you want to serve.
If you want your logo to look good in front of expensive homes, you should make it look luxurious and high-end. The two logo examples listed above are for a luxury listing. The first logo is more likely to be on a sign in front of the listing.
Color is an important factor to consider when designing a product as it is often the primary reason consumers will choose to buy or use that product.
A FEW MORE TIPS WHEN CHOOSING YOUR COLORS
It’s generally best to stick to two or three colors in your real estate logo. Why? You should keep your design simple and memorable, as using more than two or three colors will significantly increase your print costs for items such as listing signage and t-shirts.
When creating a real estate logo, you should think about all of the places where it will be used. The signage for your real estate company is usually the most important because that is where most potential customers will see your logo. Choose colors for your logo that will make it stand out on signage. Many people only see signage for a short time, so you want your logo to be memorable.
Try to design your logo in a way that it can be converted to black and white if needed. If a newspaper or event is requesting your logo to be added to a t-shirt or program, they will most likely request a black and white logo. The colors of your real estate logo may make it difficult to convert to black and white.
What color should be in your real estate logo? Take the quiz at the bottom of this article to find out.
3. Choose the Size & Shape of Your Real Estate Logo
You should promote your real estate business in many places, such as on real estate signage, social media, postcards, print ads, and marketing collateral.
If your logo is horizontally long or tall and thin, have a version that can be placed at the top of your website and other marketing materials.
The real estate logo in this example is tall and thin, which is good for things like “for sale” signs and business cards. However, it might not work well on all marketing materials. The horizontal logo is used on the bottom, on the agent’s website, and on direct mail postcards where space is limited.
It might not be important to you now, but having two versions of your logo comes in handy more often than you’d think!
4. Creating an Icon For Your Real Estate Logo
What’s an icon, you ask? Icons and symbols are simple images that represent a particular company or product. They are easy to remember and can be quickly associated with the thing they represent. Some popular examples you might know are:
Icons are versatile images that can be used for watermarking photos, incorporating them on websites and even using them on marketing materials. As your real estate brand becomes more established, your icon will become more and more recognizable to potential consumers.
5. Make Sure To Get (At Least) Four Versions of Your Logo
If you are working with a graphic designer to create a logo for your real estate business, make sure they create four versions of the logo.
- The official primary version of your real estate logo.
- The horizontal secondary version of your real estate logo. This will be used on the top of your website and may be more appropriate on some of your marketing collateral – we often need to use the horizontal logos on our postcard mailers and listing flyers, because space is limited.
- The transparent (i.e. not white) background version of your real estate logo. Ideal when you need to watermark photos. Also called a PNG file.
- An all-white and all-black version of your real estate logo. If you sponsor an event or run a print ad, they may only accept a black or white logo. In the years to come, you may want to order koozies, t-shirts, keychains, or other collateral that is quite costly if the manufacturer has to do a 3-color print job. Having an all-black or all-white version of your logo can save you quite a bit of money.
When the designer sends you your final logo package, also ask that they send you the colors used in the following formats:
Even if you don’t care about these formats, the company that makes your signs will usually appreciate it. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you work with another graphic or web designer in the future, they will likely use different color formats.