4 Steps to Creating a Logo

If you are in the market for a new logo design or perhaps even a redesign, you may feel overwhelmed.

I’m sure you’ve done a bit of research and compiled a selection of logo designs you really love however you are unsure of what you’d like for your company.Whenever my clients are having a tough time boiling down the most important factors to consider, I tell them… take a breather, and come back to this with a fresh eye.

Then, make a list.

These are the 4 most important aspects to talk over and consider.

1. FONT STYLE

I typically categorize font styles into 6 categories:

▸ serif
▸ sans serif
▸ handwritten
▸ script
▸ handwritten script
▸ typewriter

6 different font styles explained: serif, sans serif, handwritten, handwritten script, script, typewriter

There are many other sub-categories or descriptive words you can choose to use (for example: italic, brush, calligraphy, stencil, etc.) but these are the most widely-used and cover 90% of all font styles.

Understanding Font Weight and Kerning

Font kerning is the spacing between the letters. You can have anywhere from very tight kerning to standard or loose.

Font weight describes the thickness of the letters. Many font styles come available in different font weights i.e. heavy, bold, normal, light,  extra light. However, some fonts are available in only one weight. Designers can often edit standard fonts to be lighter or heavier, within reason.

2. COLOR PALETTE

Color Wheel

Source: Aaron Klopp

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the first known writers to examine color theory in the late 1400’s. In 1666, Isaac Newton introduced his Theory of Color, including the primary colors. A hundred years later, secondary, tertiary, and the concept of warm and cool colors were added to our current understanding of color theory.

Johannes Itten

Johannes Itten, German Painter 1888-1967

Color choice can evoke a certain mood and bring about a subliminal psychological response. Color can also evoke different responses for different people, and may have different meanings cross-culturally.

Consider your audience and what you want to say about your company. Do you want a bold, energetic design? Consider warms like yellow and red. Do you want a subtle, soothing design? Consider cool tones like blue or green.

Design Seeds, Pantone and Colour Lovers are a few places I’d strongly recommend to review potential color palettes.

3. ILLUSTRATION / IMAGERY

Logos can either A.) include an illustration or B.) be typographic only (this is called a logotype).

Logo with Illustration vs. Logotype

Think about the ways you plan to use your logo. Printing on business cards? Placing it on the header of your website? Using it for a Facebook profile image? Printing on t-shirts? Having a stamp made?

If a design is too detailed, the versatility may be compromised. Most logos need to be scalable, meaning they work well in a very small format as well as a very large format. If a design is too detailed, you may need various versions of the logo (text only, illustration and text, condensed version of the design, icon version, etc.)

4. HOW YOU WANT THE DESIGN TO FEEL

What kind of impression should the logo give: unique, professional, handmade, artistic, corporate, organic, clean, precise, balanced, symmetrical, layered, simple?

You should try to consider what a potential viewer may feel within the first 10 seconds of seeing your design. Research conducted by EyeTracking, Inc. shows that a consumer can make a choice in as little as a third of a second.

Who you are and what you do

A logo should quickly embody who you are and what you do. How can you visually achieve this?

 

How Can You Overcome Fear?

Overcoming Fear

The literary genius of Ralph Waldo Emerson said this,

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

Fear sits at the back of our minds and prevents us from going for dreams and escaping monotony. Fear is crippling.

So, how can you overcome fear?

Initially you have to move beyond this: someone will always criticize you. It’s true. No matter what, you’ll always receive some form of criticism.

The fear of not being good enough is what stops most people. This exact fear is why it has taken me six years as a business owner to blog about my experience. I thought, “Who would read it? Who would care?” But in order to make progress and grow, moving past that fear is imperative. What’s the worst that could happen?

Quoted from one of the best movies of all times, I think Scotty’s mother in The Sandlot said it best,

“You’ll always just be an egghead with an attitude like that.”

 

Know this: you are good enough. You do have talents and capabilities that make you unique and can pave the way for you to make your mark on the world.

Do you think anyone, upon their deathbed, has regretted reaching high?

Leo Babauta is one my favorite writers and bloggers. His advice has prompted me to make some very needed and progressive changes in my life.

He has written A Guide to Beating the Fears that Are Holding You Back.

His 9-steps seem so simple, but are revolutionary if you think about it:

1. First, acknowledge your fear.
2. Write it down.
3. Feel the fear.
4. Ask yourself: what’s the worst thing that can happen?
5. Just do it.
6. Prepare yourself for battle.
7. Be in the moment.
8. Small steps.
9. Celebrate every success!

The hardest part is being bold enough to begin.

Composing Email Signatures (That Aren’t Annoying!)

Writing Email Signatures that aren't annoying

My clients often ask about custom email signatures. Here is a great, brief article that will help you build the perfect signature without annoying your recipients! Tips like how to include images in such a way that they aren’t email attachments, avoiding compositions that may read as spam & more…

It’s just the little bit of text at the bottom of your messages, but your email signature can make a big impact. However, creating an email signature that will look great in all the various email clients is rough. Some clients will resize images, some won’t. Some will force hard line breaks, some won’t. So how do you create an email signature that will look stellar to everyone who sees it?

Text is safest.
If you can avoid using images, do. Are they pretty? Yes. Do they work in all email clients? No. Your best chance for creating a universal formatting for your signature is to use text only. However, if that’s not an option…

Edit all images to be the exact size you want.
Keep them small to prevent old email clients from blowing your logo or other images way out of proportion. Another good tip for images is…

Use absolute URLs for images.
For universal support, be sure to always use the http://, and don’t use shortened urls. This could set off the spam filters!

Don’t go overboard.
Chances are if you’re already communicating with this person, they already have information for reaching you, so why bulk up your email signature with three phone numbers, five social media links, an inspiring quote, and your entire CV? Keep your signature to a minimum. A single phone number, one email address, and one to two social media contacts should be more than enough.

Consider all caps, bolding, an italics to help set separate your information
If you want your name to really stand out, bold it and make it uppercase. This will help create visual variety in your signature while staying compatible.

Use spacers to separate content while using fewer lines.
An upright pipe (|) or a bullet (•) work nicely. You can set the spacers to be a lighter grey color so they’re not as prominent, but still effectively separate your content.

Use inline styling.
It’s definitely counter-intuitive to web designers, but if you’re going to use CSS in your email signature, make sure it is ALL inline to ensure compatibility.

Don’t set any text to white.
It will set off the spam filters!

Use a nosend=”1″ attribute for images
This will keep your images from showing up as attachments in an email. Just add it to the image tag like so: <img src=”http://lunaweb.com/logo” nosend=”1″ alt=”lunaweb logo” border=”0″ width=”21″ height=”17″ />. This will only work if you are composing your emails in HTML, though.

Hopefully this will help you create awesome email signatures! Just remember simple is good when it comes to email, so don’t over-think it.

Check out the original article at Lunaweb. It was so good, no need to rewrite! These tips are great and worth applying to your own email signature.

How to Effectively Handle Emails

Sometimes I think the sound of emails coming in is literally what will drive me to total insanity. I get this feeling of urgency, and as if I don’t send a response within the hour, I may hurt my business in some way. But research shows that just isn’t true.

How to Effectively Handle Emails

Here are some pointers for how to successfully  handle emails:

Is a response needed? Before you reply, think: is your response only to say you’ve received the email or “thanks”? Some emails don’t require replies; unnecessary emails encourage more inbox clutter.

“Emails are like rabbits, they reproduce at an exorbitant rate. The more you send, the more you get.” -Simon Sinek {Author of “Start With Why”}

Yup. Agreed 100%.

Put answering emails on your to-do list. Set aside 45 minutes or so to respond to emails. Take a short break. Then move along to other tasks. I answer emails first thing in the morning. It seems each night, my inbox collects letters from around the world and other time zones, so I knock those out first. I then schedule time intermittently throughout the day.

Prioritize replies. Respond to the most pressing first. I often feel I need to respond in the order in which they are received, but I’d say that’s more applicable when calling a help line!

Save articles + videos for later. When you are in your inbox, you should only be doing one thing: answering emails. I know that video of the baby laughing looks funny! But save these bad boys for when you have free time to spare.

24-hour turnaround is optimal. Replying within 24 hours is perfectly responsive enough. Don’t feel you have to respond within moments of receipt. It is true- sometimes issues WILL be resolved without you. Also, give others the same courtesy. I can’t say enough how rude it is to email and then within 24-48 hours, email again to make sure it was received. Don’t be that person.

Use standard responses. Sometimes a standard response is a good thing. You may have a few copy-and-paste type responses, or use something called a text expander. In anyway you choose to do it, if you feel you are writing the same thing one too many times, create a template.

Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe! Each and every time I receive a bulk email I care little about, I hit “unsubscribe”. Thankfully, almost all bulk emails include this helpful little link at the end. It only takes a few seconds, and will dramatically reduce your inbox clutter over time. Instead of signing up for email newsletters, I choose to follow on Twitter or like on Facebook to keep up with businesses I’m interested in.

When possible, close down your email and focus elsewhere! Truthfully, closing your email can help reduce the urgency feel to read and respond to others that come in after then.

Original and awesome information source that spurred my article: 99u.com. A truly great read.