So you want to design a fashion logo, but don’t know where to start. Whether you’re a fashionista looking to brand your own business or a graphic designer seeking inspiration, there is a right way to go about designing a fashion logo. Check out some logo design courses for a professional result on an amateur budget.
You already know what a powerful logo or trademark can do for a company. No one needs to remind you what the Nike logo looks like. It’s imprinted in your brain. But how do you go about getting the right design for your fashion brand. Whether you’re a boutique indie designer or an established brand looking for an updated look, designing a compelling logo is an important business consideration. Here are the steps to take to get a logo that accurately represents your label.
Survey the Land
The first step when designing a logo is to start collecting samples of logos for similar businesses. That doesn’t just mean collecting samples of Gucci, Prada or local indie brands, it means checking out the graphic design at restaurants your customers might frequent or cover design on books they might read. Doing this will help you learn the visual vernacular for how best to address your target market. Are you vintage or modern or a mix of old-meets-new? Defining your business will help you define your brand. After all, you don’t want a brand that says ‘Kmart’ when you’re asking $800 for a pair of pants.
Once you have a good sense of how your competition presents themselves, you’ll need to decide how to set yourself apart while remaining in the familiar language of your demographic. You’ll begin to notice trends and similarities in how businesses targeting your particular niche present themselves. Branding for most fashion labels relies heavily on typography. Give yourself and edge with a typography class that will teach you the nuances of kerning and serifs. Once you’ve finished that, consider a little work in Photoshop or Illustrator to help you execute your idea on screen.
Find an Opportunity for Wit
There are few brands that wouldn’t benefit from adding wit to their business presence. Look up the FedEx logo and find the small arrow nestled between the ‘E’ and ‘x’. That is visual wit. If you can include an element of visual wit without making your mark cheesy, do it. At the same time, it’s important to avoid literal imagery. If your label is ‘ c l o u d ’, you’re better off doing the lettering like I did—with airy space in between the letters—than putting a picture of a cloud on your label.
Finding a trademark color can be an agonizing process. So if you can’t decide if your brand is blue/green cool or red/orange hot, start at the beginning: in black and white. Once you have a mark that you like in black and white, then go back to your collection of ideal brands and graphic design, and do a color survey. Take pictures of the paint job in the appropriate restaurant. Find home design images that you’re clients might aspire to. Then apply your favorite palettes to your brand. Just remember, a logo is about restraint. If it’s starting to look cartoonish, you’re on the wrong path.
Your logo will need to read when printed very small and very large. Before deciding on a final design, print out your options as large as you can—as large as your storefront sign. Does it read well from across the room or across the street? When you shrink it to letterhead size are you missing the ligature you love? If you want your mark to be 20% gray can you still read the design on the intended label fabric? These are all things to consider before going to press (or in this case, stitch) with your brand.
Applying Your Brand
Once you have the concept of your fashion logo design in place, it’s time to start thinking about how to apply your brand. Obviously you’ll need to have business cards and a website. Will you make an iPhone app? How does your logo look then? How does your brand look on a shopping bag?. Do you use paper shopping bags or does your item come in a higher-value fabric sachet? What paper do you use for your business cards. Are they standard heavy weight cardstock or handmade paper and letterpressed? All of these components are considerations for your brand and your budget.
If you find the branding process too daunting, there are virtual logo stores online where you can find a pre-made logo that might suit your brand. However, these tend to be mass-market and lower quality than something made by a professional. If you don’t want to design your own and can’t afford a professional graphic designer, go to the best local design school in town and put up an ad for a fashion logo. You may well be able to get one for around $200 (possibly less), or you can offer to trade for some of your fantastic fashions. Any design student should also be able to make a website for you. Ask for samples of their work to make sure they can articulate your brand visually, and make an official contract with dates of delivery, or you risk waiting til finals are over for your finished product.
Your fashion logo design will be the icon for all your hard work and effort, so make sure it represents you properly. Don’t settle for something mediocre. Find a way to get an image that says what you’re trying to say. After all, when you’re not there, your brand does the talking for you.