Ask a fan of any sports to tell you what their team logo is. Chances are, not only can they tell you within seconds—they may even be sporting that team’s logo on their own clothing, hats, jackets and more. A team logo shouldn’t be something done in a hurry. Your team’s identity is important to you and everyone that’s a member. But understanding how to create a logo can be overwhelming for those who aren’t familiar with design.
Where do you even start? A quick search online can lead to conflicting advice, often recommending expensive programs that have steep learning curves. If you aren’t familiar with them or familiar with designing in them or don’t have the cash on hand to get the programs it may seem impossible to gain this skill.
You might get discouraged at first and begin to wonder if you really need one at all. Maybe you start to think it’s all a gimmick. A logo is so much more. A team logo becomes a key identity piece for players, fans, and the community.
Start with ideas
The first step is coming up with a rough direction and idea for your logo design. Some questions to ask yourself as you begin thinking on it:
- What do you want to communicate about your team through your logo?
- What are you trying to convey?
- What will the main message be?
- What values are important to your team?
- What’s the team’s name, or nicknames?
- What are things fans and members associate with your team a lot? Is it the team's home ground? A saying? An animal? A symbol?
- Ask your team these same questions and note their answers too.
Now you’ve got an idea or several. So for the sake of example, let’s say you decided to go with a lion. It’s time to go ahead and get inspired through external references and cement your final idea for your team logo design.
Thanks to the internet, this makes finding references extremely easy. A quick search for your particular sport and their team logos will set you on the general design path most popular. There are also many design and logo sites that can give you a starting point to begin realizing your logo.
Looking at examples should inspire you to come up with your first few rough ideas. If you’re having a hard time narrowing what to work with, ask yourself and your team:
- What do you like?
- Which one would you imitate?
- How can you make yours look different than the one that inspires you?
- Which elements of design (color, shape, style) did you like, which did you not enjoy?
- What kind of color scheme did you enjoy?
- What color is the team uniform (if you already have them), how can they be incorporated into these concept designs? If no uniform—what colors will you be using?
You’ve probably noted in your research that there are many, many different types of logos from all over the world. Some are abstract concepts or images, and others are completely font-based logotypes. Or, you’ll find a mix of both.
- Image only logos generally work better for businesses large or small that spend a lot of energy on their brand.
- The text-only logo tends to be lacking the power of association with image and emotional staying power.
- Your best bet would be finding a way to mix the two; image or symbol with text.
Get Inspired by Fonts
When thinking about the design elements of what you really like, did you notice what the majority of team sports logos had in common? Font, or lettering type, is another important aspect of a team logo than can easily be overlooked. But choosing the right font is as important as the logo itself.
We’re lucky again in that the internet has several sites that provide free-to-use fonts for all various manners, including sports. In fact, if you google your sport name and font together, there very well may be a custom font representative of your team’s sport available.
There are many fantastic resources online that can help you understand the science of why certain fonts do well more than others. Once you find one you like, check to see if it’s free to use or purchasable for your needs. You could also consider if you have the means to design your very own custom font if you wish.
It’s time to put pen to paper. Here’s the thing: you do NOT have to be a talented, well-trained artist for this point. It’s not about creating the perfect end product in one sitting, but to bring your ideas from your research and mind into ‘life,’ so that you can see if your concept works or not. Put down as many ideas and different arrangements as you wish. Quantity is fine, quality doesn’t have to happen until later.A quick tip: Think on shape more than worrying about color.
It’s time to hone the concept from many designs to the one that works best. Narrow down the field by asking:
- Is it appropriate? Does this represent the motto, feel, and team well?
- How simplistic is it? The more complicated a logo, the more confusing it can be to those who see it and don’t know the team, or possibly the pricier it could be to print or have on items for your team. Simple, clean, and effective is key.
- Is it distinct? Make sure your logo doesn’t end up resembling or copying from another. You want yours to stick out in memory.
- Understood – Can someone look at the logo and understand what it is within a glance? For instance, with our earlier example—can someone look at the logo and instantly recognize a lion?
- How timeless do you think it is? Do you and your team think you could look at it and not get tired of it or want to change it? A timeless logo becomes a highly recognizable one.
Make sure your team has a chance to give you feedback. If you ever feel overwhelmed or stuck, take a step back and take a break. Allow your ideas to grow on their own instead of forcing it. And then get lots and lots of feedback. Talking to others may reveal details you missed or give you the inspiration to get out of a creative rut.
Keep it Simple
Make sure to keep the design a simple one. One of the surprisingly hardest elements of logo design is keeping it from getting overly complicated and detailed.
It’s time to choose. Based on positive feedback, suggestions, your research, hard work and gut feeling you’ve settled on one logo.
There are now several options for you to get your logo designed:
- Hire a professional graphic designer.
- Seek out logo generator services. Several websites for free, or a fee, will offer many pre-generated elements or highly customizable ones to re-create your concept logo and offer it in digital form for printing.
When you have your logo finalized and it’s finally yours, then it’s time to go ahead and use it anywhere and everywhere. Uniforms, T-shirts, stickers, your team’s website and anything else will no doubt look amazing with your new logo!