You don’t need a complicated business design to capture your brand. Click here to get tips for creating a minimalist logo that’s pure magic!
The Magic of a Minimalist Logo: 13 Tips for Creating a Simple Design that Says it All
As the old saying goes, “less is more.” That certainly seems to be true when you look to trends in design over the last few years. Everyone seems to have agreed that simplicity is the right choice.
Minimalism is nothing new, dating back to the 1960s and possibly even further. The aesthetic is having a moment though, especially among companies looking to design a new logo.
So, how do you create a minimalist logo that’s eye-catching and conveys your brand accurately? You can follow these 13 tips to master the art of minimalism for your logo.
1. Choose a Simple Color Scheme
When creating a business logo, it’s best to choose a simple colour scheme. This might mean limiting your palette to one or two colours.
It’s often a good idea to choose colours that work well together. Think about complementary colours.
Why should you stick with just a few colours? To put it simply, it helps you when you need to reduce the size of your logo.
Think about Instagram’s old logo with a brown camera. There were two shades of brown, plus the camera lens, in addition to other minor details on the logo. A later version of the logo even added texture.
Now take a look at the new logo, which uses a white pictogram on a colour gradient background. The new logo is recognizable, and the colour scheme is bolder.
What’s more, it reduces in size much better than the old logo. As you make a logo smaller, it gets harder to make out those fine details. Colours may start bleeding into each other.
Sticking with a few solid colours resolves the issue entirely.
2. Increase the Contrast for a Bold Minimalist Logo
Next up is contrast. You might think of a design in classic black and white, which work together because they create contrast.
Contrast improves visibility. It can help your logo be legible from across a room or on a small screen.
3. Ensure Colors Convey Your Message
A final point about colours for minimalist design is to make sure the colours you choose reflect your brand. Blue conveys ideas about trustworthiness. Green might signal money or wellness.
Red can mean anger, while black might have negative meanings in some contexts. In other contexts, it may be associated with professionalism or seriousness.
4. Minimalist Logos Use Bold Typography
Once you’ve decided on your colours, you’ll want to take a look at the typefaces you plan to use. If you’re creating a wordmark, then you’ll want to give this aspect of your design some extra attention.
Minimalist logos use bold typography to command attention. They’re popular because they keep things simple, while also placing your brand name front and centre.
Many minimalist logos favour bold, heavy fonts. Sans serifs are usually considered to have a better impact. They also have better screen resolution than serifs.
Like colours, typefaces can also convey feelings or ideas. A serif font may say your brand is old-fashioned or even trustworthy. A bold sans serif says your firm is more modern.
5. Keep Lines to a Minimum
Minimalist design is so-called because it keeps everything to a minimum. The detail is reduced to its absolute basic form.
Lines can be used effectively to create minimalist logos, but you should use them wisely. Too many lines will make the design too detailed or incomprehensible.
You can think of Airbnb’s logo here. A simple twisted line has become emblematic of the company.
6. Use Shapes to Your Advantage
Speaking of simplicity, you should also use shapes to your advantage. Many companies have a simple logo that makes use of just one or two shapes.
The most famous is the Nike swoosh, which is a stylized checkmark. The logo is instantly recognizable. Adidas has simplified their logo over the years, switching to three diagonal blocks.
Target is another good example. The company uses two red circles to create its iconic “bullseye,” which also represents its name.
Another good example is the Olympic rings. Even Instagram’s current logo uses shapes to its advantage.
7. Embrace the Power of White Space
Let’s look at the Target logo again. The logo works because it uses white space to create the illusion of a target with a red bullseye on it.
White space, also known as negative space, is any space between elements in your design that isn’t used by another element.
White space creates a “breathing room” around your design. It also allows the person looking at the logo to focus on what’s important.
You can use the subtraction method to use white space in a logo. To see this in action, look to HP’s logo. The stylized letters “HP” appear on a blue background.
The letters interrupt the field of blue, which draws attention to them.
Something similar happens with Instagram’s current logo. The camera icon is “knocked out” of the gradient colour field behind it. The stark difference draws attention to the camera icon.
Other logos allow white space to fade into the background and emphasize other elements.
8. Add Some Nuance
The entire point of minimalism is to reduce an image to its essence. To that end, you’re trying to remove details or nuances that complicate the image.
You shouldn’t take that to mean your logo should have no nuance. A flat image may convey your brand in an impactful way, or it may not.
What do we mean by nuance? We mean adding a twist or detail that surprises or delights the viewer. This could be changing a basic shape so it evokes another, more complex object.
It might also mean arranging a few lines into a simple image. The Starbucks logo may be the best example of this. Wavy lines form the mermaid’s hair, which also frames her body.
Evernote’s logo is another example. A small spot of white adds an eye to the elephant. A small arrow makes the elephant’s ear appear folded over—like the corner of the pages of your paper notebook.
9. Organize Each Element for Flow
Next, you’ll want to take a look at how the elements of your logo are fitting together. Some companies choose to use a wordmark alone. Others prefer to use a graphic representation.
Most companies will have two or three versions of their logo. Combining the wordmark with the graphical element is often the trickiest part.
Be sure to use a grid here and align elements. Each piece should work together and build on the other elements.
Focus on where your eye is drawn as you look at the logo. If you’ve arranged every element properly, there should be harmony and balance. Each element should direct the viewer back to the others.
10. Apply the KISS Principle
You might think “minimalism” means “simple design.” This isn’t necessarily true. Many minimalist logos are actually quite complex.
You should still aim to keep simplicity as the core concept. Ask yourself if the design can be distilled further. Are there elements that aren’t needed?
If you can take away elements and have the same impression, then you haven’t achieved minimalism.
Always ask yourself if there’s a simpler way to present the same logo. Resist the urge to add more elements. Keep it simple is sage advice here.
11. Look to the Past for Inspiration
As we mentioned, minimalism goes back at least as far as the 1960s. If you want to design a minimalist logo, you can look to the past for some inspiration.
Logos from the 1960s will reflect the modern, minimalist trend well. Older logos may trend toward more complexity.
Minimalism has remained with brands since the 1960s. You can take a look at logos throughout the last few decades to discover what makes a good minimalist logo.
12. See What Other Brands Are Doing
Another trick for making a minimalist logo is to check in on other brands. You may want to look at your competitors. It’s also wise to look at companies from other industries.
You should check out brands that have strong value. Look at how Nike’s swoosh or the Starbucks mermaid have evolved through time. How has McDonald’s redesigned the golden arches time and time again?
Again, you may find inspiration in other contemporary examples. You may also discover some more tips for creating great logos.
13. Put it All Together
Now that you have 12 other tips for creating a minimalist logo, it’s time to put everything together. A logo creation tool can help you do that.
The right tool will make it easy to pick your color palette and add graphical elements. Try to pick a tool with a wide variety of typefaces so you can try them “on” and discover which one is right for your brand.
A Logo with “Wow”
A minimalist logo is designed to say a lot with as little effort as possible. Many of the best brands use minimalist design for their logos, and now you can too.
Looking for more tips and tools to enhance your business’s design presence online? Our community is full of amazing resources, just waiting to be discovered.