An excellent grasp of the fundamentals is necessary for success in nearly all fields of endeavor, and the design of custom logos is no exception. At EmbroidMe San Diego, we highly recommend working with a professional graphic designer to create your company logo. Professionals know design fundamentals backwards and forwards, and will keep your creative genius on a productive path so that all the elements of your vision are brought together in a strong, coherent message.

With examples from well-known San Diego brands, here is an overview of design fundamentals and how they impact the overall message of your logo:

Color.  We've posted previously on the psychology of color. Other than the obvious impact on aesthetics, colors carry a host of meanings drawn from both society and nature. For example, the color blue helps induce a relaxation response in people across many cultures, while death is represented using black for North Americans and white for East Asians. The blue in San Diego's own Dr. Seuss' logo subtly signals relaxation - a perfect frame of mind to enjoy the author's whimsy.

Line. Lines can be used to create shapes and direct attention to desired areas. Lines can also imply moods and sentiments that contribute to the logo's overall message. For example, thin lines lend an air of delicacy or elegance, while thick lines emphasize strength. The flowing curves in the logo of the San Diego Symphony reinforce their artistic mission.

Shape. Geometric shapes that incorporate lots of angles and sharp corners bring to mind order, and are generally associated with man-made systems. In contrast, organic shapes suggest freedom and natural settings. For example, the angles and straight lines of the Dixieline logo help to reinforce an association with the built environment, and imply dependability.


Texture. Texture refers to how the logo might feel should one manage to brush fingertips across its surface. For example, the Apple and Windows logos appear cool and smooth, evoking the plastics and metals that go into computers. Similarly, many companies use logos that seem to be careworn or even peeling to convey the impression of authenticity, toughness and great age.

Value. Referring to the lightness or darkness of a particular area relative to the rest of the image, value is sometimes lumped with color instead of given its own space. Lighter values bring forth more positive emotions, while their darker counterparts can be used for strength or drama.  Buck knives uses deepest, darkest black (reinforced by the symbol of an anvil) to convey its message about the strength and durability of their products. There is nothing wishy-washy about this logo!



As a small business owner, you needn't be an expert in the fundamentals of graphic design. But if you have some idea where your graphic designer is coming from, it makes good communication a little easier!