We see them every day, from the Nike swoosh to the iconic bite-marked fruit of Apple. But how do the world’s best-known logos come into existence? It’s all down to the work of a logo designer.
From what the job involves day-to-day to how you can start making your way in the exciting and challenging world of graphic design, we’ll show you everything you need to know to turn your logo design dreams into reality.
What Is a Logo Designer?
The clue is really in the name: A logo designer comes up with the look and feel of a unique notable mark that a company or brand can use to represent them in their marketing.
Easy, right? Not so fast. While it may look simple enough to put together just one element of a business’ overall branding, it’s arguably one of the most important aspects to get right. The goal of every company is to be memorable and recognizable. Logo design is the key to getting people to remember your brand when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Some of the best logos in the world are even more recognizable than the brand name itself. No matter where you are in the world, people instantly know the companies behind the McDonald’s “M” Golden Arches, the Amazon yellow arrow, and Starbucks’ siren—just from an image of their logo alone. These are all examples of how effective a great logo can be.
What Does a Logo Designer Do?
When you look at different logo designer job descriptions, you’ll probably see some areas of overlap with a standard graphic design position. Tasks like working with the marketing department to ensure brand continuity and keeping up to date with trends in the design world are areas that any creative position will require.
But as the logo designer, you’ll be responsible for a single element of a wider branding project: the logo itself. Your day-to-day might not always involve sketching, though. You could be:
- Meeting with clients or creative directors to get a better understanding of the concept or motive behind the brand or new logo.
- Researching competitors and others in the industry to see what their logos look like.
- Coming up with multiple concepts for a possible logo that you can present to the client.
- Refining designs and working with the marketing team to test with the target audience.
- Helping to roll out a new logo by assisting the product team in deciding on placement and size on marketing materials and packaging.
It’s highly unlikely that the logo you design will be a one-off, standalone project. Typically, a new logo is part of a wider redesign or rebrand of a company. That means there are lots of moving parts, deadlines, and team members to keep track of, so being organized and collaborative are traits that will serve you well.
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How to Become a Logo Designer
Degree and Education Requirements
Most logo designers entering the industry in the last decade have a graphic design degree or art degree with a specialization in graphics.
As part of any design degree program, you’ll learn the basics of composition, color theory, and branding, along with how to use graphic design programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. You’ll learn different techniques for drawing digital and print logos and graduate with a solid understanding of typography and how logos fit into the wider world of graphic design.
Throughout your course, you’ll have the opportunity to work on real-world projects and start to build a portfolio of your work. Particularly if you’re interested in becoming a freelance logo designer, starting to find your own unique style and what makes you stand out will be helpful once you’re looking for jobs. A degree program is a great chance to take on internships and attend industry events, along with learning from some of the most accomplished designers in the world.
Looking for a non-degree course to give you a career boost? The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) offers hundreds of different programs to keep your skills up-to-date or dabble in a new technique or two.
Experience in Place of Formal Education
Having a formal design degree can help you to get into the field faster, but for talented, creative, and artistic individuals, there are other options. As with most jobs, who you know can be a helpful foot in the door, so networking is critical if you’re bypassing college and trying to get into the industry with experience alone.
Continue to build your portfolio of work as much as possible, taking on logo design projects for friends, family members, local businesses, or organizations that you volunteer with. Having a roster of happy customers behind you is always a good thing.
Just as you would with a degree to your name, you’ll want to be familiar with the top graphic design tools and software out there, along with having an excellent understanding of graphic design trends and timeless styles.
Without a design degree, you likely won’t head straight into a junior designer or entry-level role. Instead, look for positions like design assistants where you can get on-the-job training and work up to the higher positions in the graphic design department.
Logo Designer Salary
Thinking to yourself, “This all sounds great, but how much does a logo designer make?” As of 2020, the average logo designer salary was around $53,000 per year. Freelance logo designer rates were typically $26 per hour but could be much higher for experienced artists.
With so many companies expanding their digital presence, the graphic design industry has seen shifts in growth opportunities. Where the industry was previously only expected to grow by around 1%, that has now increased to 3% over the next eight years.
Logo Designer Jobs
As companies typically only rebrand every few years (which may or may not include their logo), finding full-time work as an in-house logo designer will likely be within an agency or bigger corporation.
You’ll be working in an office environment, often as part of a wider team of graphic designers, and handling several different projects at once. Particularly in an agency setting, you’ll collaborate with marketing and design teams within both your own company and the client’s to ensure that everyone is working to the same brief and creating designs that are consistent across all aspects of the brand.
If you’re a new graduate, you probably won’t find many entry-level positions that are specific to logo design, but don’t let that discourage you! Look for other graphic design roles that could help you build the skills and network that you can rely on in the future to become an expert logo designer.
Since logo design is such a specialized skill within the wider graphic design industry, many people choose to work as freelance logo designers rather than taking a corporate position. Some even take on freelance work alongside their 9-to-5 graphic design roles to carve out a niche skill set and earn some extra cash.
As a freelancer, you’ll have complete flexibility to decide which projects you want to take on and how many you take on at once. You might prefer to be completely focused on one client at a time, which you likely wouldn’t have the luxury of doing in an agency environment.
When you’re working for yourself, you’re also in charge of your own design rates. There’s the potential here to earn significantly more than you would in a traditional job, depending on your skills, level of experience, and client history.
As with many freelance jobs, you’ll likely come across people who are looking for cheap, or even free, logos designed for their businesses. While there can be benefits to working pro bono for a charitable organization that you care about or a friend while you build your portfolio, remember that your work and skills are valuable and worthy of a paycheck, no matter how much experience you have.
Could You Design the World’s Most Memorable Logo?
Working as a logo designer is incredibly rewarding, especially if you’re lucky enough to create the logo for a well-known brand. You can probably picture it now: walking down the street and seeing someone wearing or holding a product with an image that you designed right there on the front.
Something that you pulled out of your mind and drew with your own hands could be on display in hundreds of countries if you choose to jump into this career. It doesn’t get more exciting than that!
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