Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Create a logo that establishes your brand identity

Create a logo to anchor your brand and reflect your positioning


This coaster series was a giveaway. Find our Brand Responsibly manifesto below.

Think of your logo design as the thumbprint of your brand. When you create a logo, it’s the first step to building a brand. A brand is visual and verbal. Those elements work together to create recognition and define where you fit in your category and market–how you’re positioned.

When it’s time to create a logo or refresh a current one, use this checklist:

Where will the logo be seen the most?

Large or small? A great logo design should be designed to work in a smaller size on a business card, or as a graphic on a billboard or the side of the van. That can require multiple versions to work when reduced or enlarged.

Will the design work in black and white or color?

Logos should be designed to work well either way. We often see designs that have so much detail and color that they can’t reduce effectively or work in black and white applications. Create a logo without complexity for maximum exposure.


Part of the style guide provided for the New York State Association of Counties when we refreshed their logo system.

Where will the logo be used the most?

Online? In print? On signing? Seen from a distance or up close? All of these are considerations when choosing fonts and the style of a mark. A very complex or detailed symbol often won’t read well from a distance, or will close up and fill in when reduced. A very narrow, condensed font won’t read well from a distance. If your sign or vehicles are important to your brand presentation, avoid detailed icons and condensed fonts when you create a logo.

How will you maintain consistency?

When we create a logo for a client, we build out a complete design system, including choosing fonts and identifying a specific color palette. We provide an identity guidelines sheet that summarizes the colors in multiple forms: PMS colors, a CMYK build, RGB build and HTML. That complete information will maintain consistency when printing, using the logo in a PowerPoint or on a website. The guidelines also show proper usage of the new logo. For an example of brand guidelines, see our post on the logo refresh for two government organizations.

Are you getting file formats for all applications?

When we create a logo for a client, once the various versions are approved (black and white, color, vertical and horizontal), we produce more than 40 different files to cover nearly any application. These range from .png, .jpg, .tif, .pdf to black and white, grayscale, reversed, CMYK, RGB and line art. This ensures consistent application of the brand identity no matter what the communication is.

How will you manage the files?

We recommend creating a folder on Google Drive for the organization, then a separate folder for logo assets. This way, with the login, the files are always available for those who need them. No more searching through a server or asking someone to send you a file. Or worse — copying and pasting and reformatting from an existing document.

I sometimes have conversations with clients who question why we put so much time in when we create a logo. They’re used to going online, perhaps downloading a pre-designed logo, or using a design provided by a freelancer.

What we’ve found is A) The logo is very generic and doesn’t support their unique position in their market B) the logo design doesn’t work in all of the applications as noted above, or C) they have only one file format and are just trying to make it work with workarounds.

If it’s time for you and your organization to create a logo, be sure to use the checklist to ensure you’re getting a design that functions well as the thumbprint of your brand, and that you have a complete set of files to use.

Or give us a call! We’ve won many awards for our logo designs. Visit our logo gallery on our website for inspiration.

Considering a rebrand, or perhaps a brand refresh? A rebrand is more than a new logo … get your guide to a rebrand below.


About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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