In a recent blog post, How To Create Your Own Photography Website, I discussed designing a personal logo. If you have a personal photography business or you are looking to start one, a logo is a simple way to make your business look more established and professional. There are three major things to consider when designing a logo, and because we are in the process of rebranding our company from Indy Photo Coach to Lightbox Photo Academy, we've got plenty of examples to share.
As a photographer, unless you've given your business it's own name, the text of your logo will most likely be your name. The fonts you choose make a huge difference as to how your clients see your business. A script font conveys a more human, personal feel because it mimics handwriting. Blocky, bold fonts symbolize seriousness, which could be good for your business if you want your clients to know you are reliable and work hard.
In college I designed a personal logo for myself and made the "anna" all lowercase in a script font to show that I'm casual and personable, but I put the "POWELL" in all caps in a sans-serif font underneath to show that I've got a serious, hard-working side, as well.
For our new Lightbox Photo Academy logo, we chose a modern, thin, sans-serif font. The thin sans font is trendy and modern, but the lines are also clean and deliberate. These are all characteristics we wanted we wanted for the company. We chose to put "LIGHTBOX" largest and in all caps to convey importance. Photo Academy is smaller because although it's still part of the logo and name, it's more of an afterthought. Lightbox is who we are; photo academy is what we do. Once you know what the company does, the "Lightbox" part is really what sets us apart from other photography schools.
Choosing a font is a big decision as there are countless options to choose from. Make sure to try out a lot of them and don't delete any of your drafts. As long as you can recognize what's cheesy and overdone (looking at you, comic sans), you should be okay. You can use fonts given to you in Word or Indesign or Photoshop, but there are also numerous fonts available online that you can add to your font library. Font Squirrel is one of the best resources for free fonts.
A graphic isn't totally necessary for your logo, but it is a nice touch. With all the logo inspiration around from professional graphic designers, it may seem intimidating to make something of your own, but keep in mind that some of the best logos are also the most simple ones (Target, Apple, Nike, etc).
For the one I made, I just added a circle behind the text and changed the colors. It isn't much, but it shows that I've got a bit of creativity up my sleeve.
Our Lightbox graphic is, well, a box. The box is open to symbolize light being emitted. It took several drafts to decide on the final design because it seemed too simple to us. We wanted something more, but in the end, we decided that the simplicity looked best and most effectively reflected the values of our brand. The process takes a while, but breaking it down into steps helps to understand how it works.
- First find inspiration. Browse through sites like Google images, Behance, or Dribbble to find ideas.
- Next sketch out some ideas (even if you know they aren't good), it gets your creative juices flowing
- Then, move forward with one or more of the designs you really like and make professional rough drafts
- After that, challenge the idea. Make sure it stands up against outside opinion and reflects what you want it to say about you.
- Finally, when you feel confident and you've ruled out any second guesses, make your final draft!
Below are some examples from each stage of our design process - Inspiration, Sketches, Rough Drafts, Challenges/Critiques, Final Draft
The colors you choose for your logo communicate different meanings to your audience. The graphic below is a really good reference.
Lightbox Photo Academy is black and white because it reinforces the idea of light which works on a couple levels. Light is what we use to make photography, and light also resembles the idea or learning or being "enlightened".
This graphic says that our color choice represents balance, neutrality, and calmness. It's like, you may be stressed learning to use your camera or starting your photography business, but fear not, Lightbox Photo Academy is here to put your worries to rest.
In conclusion, if you're serious about your photography business, a logo is a necessity. Just remember to make sure the logo you design accurately reflects the goals and values of your brand. Good luck!