Top 5 Design Principles for Creating a Great Business Logo

A logo can be one of the most important features of any business. A logo is what your business stands for, it’s how you show yourself to the world, and perhaps most importantly, how consumers will recognize and remember your brand. 

In fact, a recent study by branding firm Siegel+Gale shows that logos are 13% more likely to get consumer attention and 7% more likely to make them want to learn more about the business.

However, creating such a logo is not an easy task. This article provides the top five design principles for an effective and unforgettable logo. 


  • Appropriateness 


As is the case with most rhetoric (especially visual rhetoric), considering and adapting your message to your intended audience is key. Fonts, color schemes, images, shapes, these should all be chosen with your audience in mind. 

A great logo doesn’t need to say what your company does–Mercedes’ logo isn’t a car and Apple’s logo isn’t a computer–however, it should stand out and allow your customers to connect with the logo.  



  • Simplicity


Simplicity is also one of the biggest characteristics when it comes to producing a first-rate logo. Examples of simple logos can be found is a majority of the most successful companies in the world. 

Look at Nike, McDonalds, Target, FedEx, IMB, The North Face, etc. These are some of the most recognizable and memorable logos ever created. And the one thing they have in common besides being the face of a successful business: simplicity. 

When creating your logo, just remember the K.I.S.S. Principle of Design: Keep It Simple Stupid. 



  • Versatility 


In addition to creating a simple logo that is designed for your intended audience, a great logo is also a versatile logo. This means that it can work across a wide variety of media formats and applications, and can be scaled to any size. 

Nike is another good example of a versatile logo, and reinforces the importance of simplicity. The Nike “Swoosh” can be formatted large and small, printed in black or color, turned in every which way, and you’ll still recognize it as the popular shoe brand. 

Although this can be subjective, consider colors that may clash or images that people may have to strain their eyes to see if it’s scaled down.


  • Timelessness 


The best of the best in the logo design world are those that can stand the test of time. Try to avoid a logo that uses current trends or popular images. Ask yourself, will this logo be as popular in 50 years? If the answer is no, you may want to go back to the drawing board. 

This doesn’t mean that it should be the same exact logo for the next few decades, however. Even large corporations such as Apple and Pepsi have tweaked their logo every decade or so. Just make sure yours can keep the same essential elements as it morphs. 


  • Originality 


Developing a logo from a blank canvas is difficult. Creating one that is simple and connects with your audience, while also withstanding trend changes and being versatile significantly compounds the task. And while it may be easier to cut corners and use elements from other successful logos, the lack of originality eventually comes out, and your customers will take notice. 

A logo that is creative and original shows that much like your business or product, it stands out from the crowd. An original logo will also show something to your customers that they have never encountered before. And this new design is what both current and future consumers will associate with your brand. 

If designing amazing and effective logos were easy, every business would have one. We wouldn’t be able to point to the Nike’s, the Apple’s or the Gucci’s of the world. But as we all know, this isn’t the case. By following these five design principles in your logo, you can expect a design that will be striking yet simple; trendy yet timeless. And most importantly, it’ll be something you can be proud to showcase as your businesses brand. 

The Top 5 Graphic Design Trends of 2019

Activism, chaotic typography, negative space designs and metallic elements dominated graphic design in 2018. However, that was so…well, 2018. 

Not to say that these trends have completely faded into obscurity–trends such as activism and metallic colors are still popular–but this is a new year and with it comes new graphic trends. Below are the top 5 graphic design trends this year that will show you have that trend-setting aptitude in your brand.     


  • Three Dimensions 


3D is at the top of the list for a reason. With the ever-evolving and rapidly-expanding advances in technology, 3D is allowing graphic designers to create 3D masterpieces that immerse the user in their designs.

In addition to recreating the flat world seen in most illustrations, we can expect designers to also use 3D to enhance webpages and create new VR and AR experiences. This stable trend is expected to expand immensely in 2019.



  • BOLD Light and Dark Color Schemes 


We all know contrast is nothing new and has indeed been a staple of successful design campaigns for decades, however this is 2019. Light and dark color schemes that really make that logo or font POP is the rage this year. 

Uncluttered and clean visuals are becoming necessary for viewing content on smaller screens, and contrasting colors such as black/hot pink is a big trend that spreading to designers generally. Many designers are now creating multiple versions of their light and dark palettes and it’s taking off with users. 



  • Gatsby-style (or Art Deco)


Back in the 1920’s, Gatsby-style art with elegant and geometric shapes were all the craze. In fact, the “modern” design era gets its name from this artistic movement that began after World War I. And this trend from the roaring twenties is roaring back in 2019.

Designers are embracing art-deco-inspired designs, especially in logo work. Logos or typography featuring art-deco feel luxurious yet comfortable and are set to blow up this year. 



  • Simplicity 


We semi-mentioned it in #3, but clean and simple graphics really are a staple of any successful design in today’s techno-world. The idea of minimalism is one of the most classic and timeless design trends, and continues to be the go-to, especially for web design. The fewer the elements of content, the less your audience will have to work. When surfing the web, that’s a good thing. 



  • Open Compositions


Its 2019 – leave it open to the imagination. After years of using boxes and frames to encase design elements in a strict order, this year the trend is to embrace a more open concept. Designers are creating pieces where viewers feel like they’re only seeing part of the whole thing and there’s an entire world off the page. 

In 2019, let your audience’s mind wonder and think, “what else is out there?”

Common yet Easily Avoidable Graphic Design Mistakes

Most graphic designers fall into the same traps at the outset of their career.  There is no shame in making these common mistakes. However, it is best to learn from the errs of others and sidestep setbacks when possible.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common graphic design mistakes to heighten awareness and help others avoid these pitfalls.

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Leave Enough White Space

White space is essential to every design yet it is often overlooked in favor of excess design and color.  There is visual importance in an area that does not have a design element. Leave ample white space to balance out the overarching design and the viewer’s eye will move through the piece with ease.

Mistake #2:  Using an Excess of Fonts

Using more than a couple fonts in any one presentation is a mistake.  Fonts are certainly visually pleasing yet they have the potential to distract the viewer.  Keep your fonts limited to a maximum of one or two so they do not overpower the rest of the design.

Mistake #3: Failing to Align the Elements

Each of your graphic elements should have a similar alignment.  Make use of the ruler/grid lines to ensure each element lines up exactly as it should.  This way, it won’t look like text is scattered every which way. Furthermore, elements aside from type should also be aligned with one another.  The piece is not ready until all shapes, lines and other visual elements are fully aligned.

Mistake #4: Too Much Design

There is such a thing as over-designing.  The polar opposite of leaving an excess of white space is overfilling the space available with font, color, images, etc.  If you think your piece might have a little too much visual flair, spend a few hours away from it, return and you will be able to perform more of an objective assessment.  When in doubt, err on the side of less as opposed to more so the design does not flood the viewer with an abundance of shapes, colors, etc.

Mistake #5: Skewed Type

Using excessive fonts and design elements will negatively impact the presentation yet skewed type can prove even more disastrous.  Do not drastically alter fonts. Do some resizing, tinker with kerning (the amount of space between letters), alter sizing as necessary, keep things within reason and your end result will prove engaging as opposed to distracting.

The Best Fonts for Graphic Designers

Graphic design is no longer constrained to the artful presentation of documents or websites.  Improvements in mobile tech and the world wide web have forged new paths for communication. Everything from the design of online stores to the aesthetics of logos, banners, flyers, slogans and brochures shapes customer perception.  Font is particularly important at conveying a message in a truly artful manner. The best graphic designers select fonts with care as each typeface has its own unique style.

The Font Selection Process

Choosing a font for a particularly project seems fairly easy yet the process is quite difficult once all of the options are on the table.  Choose the wrong font and the text will put customers in a bad mood, fail to convey the merits of the product/service or possibly sabotage an otherwise-acceptable design.  So don’t underestimate the importance of selecting the ideal font. Above all, the font you select should be legible. This means the font should be clear and readable with ease.  Each font character should be easily recognizable, regardless of whether it is presented in caps, lower case letters, italics or bold.

The target audience matters a great deal when it comes to selecting a font.  Learn everything you can about your target demographic and where the advertisements will be placed.  Once the typical customer’s perspective is established, it will be that much easier to select the appropriate font.  It might even make sense to use several different fonts in unison. Keep an open mind and always opt for the font with the most visual appeal.

Font Examples: Serif/Sans-Serif

Serif fonts are those with lines at the end of the characters.  This style of font is ideal for serious projects. The font type is also available without the forementioned lines at the ends of characters.  The line-less version is referred to as sans-serif. If you are looking for a modern design, sans-serif is worth consideration.


Gotham is a relatively new font, debuting less than a couple decades ago.  This ultra-modern font is professional and sleek. If your presentation requires a bold look, give serious consideration to this distinct font.


Rockwell hit the scene way back in the early 1930s.  This font is grouped with slab serif as it has a mono-weight aesthetic created with geometric shapes.  Rockwell’s luxurious aesthetic appeals to upper and middle-class audiences while empowering the designer to retain a high level of quality. This font is typically used to inject some charm into a presentation.  


Named for designer William Caslon, this font is available in numerous forms.  Caslon is generally suitable for body content and corporate typefaces. Furthermore, Caslon is used in books of varying sorts, magazines and journals.


Graphic designers around the globe favor Helvetica for good reason: it is a a professional font that has a truly idiosyncratic aesthetic.  Though some insist the spacing between Helvetica letters is insufficient, most onlookers admire this highly unique font.


Bodoni is best noted for its distinct typeface that has proven optimal for logos of varying sorts.  Bodoni has also been used in headlines, highly decorative texts and fashion advertising. The unique use of thin and thick strokes makes Bodoni quite visually intriguing.   


Garamond arrived nearly 30 years ago.  This subtle yet striking aesthetic is optimal for website, magazine and even textbook design.  Anything geared toward education will look fantastic when presented in Garamond font.


Made by Swiss designer Adrian Frutiger, this typeface has been dubbed humanist as each character is designed with a focus on legibility.  Take one look at Frutiger characters and you will immediately notice just how clear they are. You can read Frutiger characters from close or far.  Whether you are looking for a font to be featured on a sign or any sort of display work, Frutiger is one of the better choices.


Trajan has more of an authoritative feel.  Commonly used on movie posters, this font looks both professional and forceful.

Bickham Script Pro

Created by Adobe back in the late 1980s, this font was initially meant to be used in-house yet quickly spread to designers across the world.  This distinct typeface is optimal for generating visuals and items to be printed for formal events. Bickham Script Pro is artful while simultaneously simplistic, presenting a lovely visual balance with true mass appeal.


If you have limited space to work with, consider the Futura font to maximize your impact.  Futura is the ideal match for those designing a new logo or slogan. The font’s geometric base makes each character appear similar to circles, triangles, squares and other basic yet visually appealing shapes.

How Graphic Design is Used for Content Marketing


Graphic design is essential to content marketing.  Carefully crafted visual content has the potential to prove quite engaging and persuasive when presented by true professionals with extensive industry experience.  So don’t think of graphic design as drawings; this line of work is more about communicating in an artful manner with visually appealing images. From the perspective of a business owner or manager, it is best to think of graphic design as a bridge that connects the company to prospective clients.  Here is a look at how graphic design is used in the context of content marketing.

Graphic Design: Blog Images

Blogs have quickly become quite the important tools for connecting with potential clients.  However, blogs are rife with words that the human brain does not process as quickly as images.  Enlist the assistance of an experienced graphic designer and he or she will set the stage for the presentation of your blog content in a truly artful manner.  Even the use of a single graphic in a blog post has the potential to keep a substantial percentage of visitors on the page and engaging with the content. Furthermore, the best graphic designers know how to strategically implement images to break up those extended sections of text and keep readers interested.

Graphic Design’s Role in Calls to Action

Calls to action, commonly referred to with the acronym of CTA, should feature a graphic that makes an emotional impact on the audience.  Such an image proves indelible, linking the target customer’s emotions with your company for the long haul. Ideally, the CTA will be presented in an artful manner that inspires readers to complete an action such as clicking the link, entering contact information, subscribing or leaving a comment that opens the door for additional interaction.


The best designers understand just how important images are to content marketing.  Infographics are visually pleasing as they command attention in a way plain text does not.  A carefully selected graphic or photo really will generate ample interest and engage the audience.  These images are especially important if the text in question is somewhat dry.

The Prudent use of Graphics Creates Lasting Connections

Visitors to your website, blog, social media, emailed newsletter and other online content will feel that much more connected to your brand if your web presence is handled by a skilled graphic designer.  Elite design shapes the audience’s experience with your brand and ultimately steers clients through the sales funnel on the path to conversion.

Useful YouTube Channels For Designers

There are plenty of books, blogs, and articles on design. However, designers really are a visual bunch. After all, designers use their creativity to create visually appealing, stunning, and eye-catching work. Thus, it really makes sense that, when looking for ideas, tutorials, advice, and inspiration, that we look for visual guides.

YouTube is the place to look to find the visual guides you’re craving. Designers and other creatives on YouTube offer tutorials on software, UX, branding, marketing, and more to help fellow designers, artists, and creatives with vibrant, entertaining, and information videos.

Here’s a list of some of the best YouTube channels for designers:

The Futur:

The Futur is a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching designers about design, marketing, business, passion, creativity, and more. Videos range from a minute to 35 minutes, all meant to inspire designers. This is a website for both amateurs and professionals, and amateurs looking to become professionals.

Yes I’m a Designer:

Youtuber Martin Perhiniak is a Certified Adobe Design Master and Adobe instructor. He was voted one of the top ten Adobe Instructors according to student feedback. He has worked as designer and retoucher on the films Cars and Toy Story, BBC’s series Dr. Who, and Mattel’s Team Hot Wheels. Perhiniak specializes in teaching viewers how to use the Adobe family of products, but he also excels at teaching the basics, like design principles, composition, and best practices. With hundreds of videos, it’s possible that a budding graphic designer may just be able to learn everything he or she needs to know from this channel.


Dan “Dansky” worked professionally as a designer for 11 years before discovering his passion for teaching. Now, he works on his video tutorials full time. This is definitely a “pure” tutorial channel, offering tutorials on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch, as well as a series on designing logos.

Howard Pinsky:

Howard Pinsky is an Adobe XD Evangelist, with a focus on XD and Photoshop. Designers of every level can find something useful on his channel if they’re using Photoshop, from retouching photos to editing, special effects, and more.

Adobe Photoshop:

The official Adobe YouTube channel is a one-stop shop for videos on using Adobe products. The videos cover a wide array of topics, including a very comprehensive set of videos on photo editing and manipulation.

High Resolution:

High Resolution is a design channel focused less on teaching designers techniques and more about the business and the process of design. High Resolution has videos from industry experts discussing the design philosophy used by successful companies, the future of design, and the issues and problems inherent in the profession and process of design. This channel helps designers take a step back from the sketchpad and take a look at the bigger picture and the actual business of design, particularly it’s role in marketing and user experience.

How to Design a Business Card


Your business card is a visual representation of you and your brand, so it’s important to design a business card that provides the reflection you crave. Many people are handed business cards every day, so it pays to make sure yours stands out. With the right design, you can leave a lasting impression on someone who could become your next customer. Follow these steps to design the business card perfect for your business.

Decide on a Message

Think about what message you are wanting to send with your business card. Do you want to appear unique? Creative? Professional? What are you hoping your brand communicates about you? Reflect on your personal brand identity so that you can share this messaging with your designer.

Consider a Different Shape

In a world full of the same rectangular cards, one easy way to stand out is to use a different shape. Technology is available today through new printing techniques that allow you to cut your card in any shape you want while still allowing you to print in bulk. You might prefer rounded corners, a card in the shape of your product, a shape that mimics your logo, or cards that have a portion of the card cut out for artistic purposes.

Add Your Logo and Other Graphics

Next, add your logo and other desired graphics on the card. You can work the text around these visual elements. Ensure that your logo has its own place to shine as this is what most people will associate with your brand. Some designers prefer to use one side of the card for your logo and the other for your information and other graphics. Additional graphics can fill the space on a business card. These graphics allow you to provide a more creative look to your card. You can showcase pictures of your staff, products, small and big logos or other images or graphics that reflect your business.

Decide on Text

This is an important consideration because it is what you explicitly communicate to your customer. Consider adding the following information to your card, as needed:

  • Your business name
  • Your name
  • Phone number
  • Business address
  • Job title
  • Email address
  • Fax number
  • Website URL
  • Social media contact information
  • Business slogan
  • QR code

Select Your Typography

Now that you have narrowed down your graphics and text, you will need to think about how you want your card to look. Consider the size of each block of text on your card. Everything needs to be 8 pts. minimum for people to read. However, you might want certain text to stand out more by making it larger, such as your name or the name of your business. You may also want to retain some white space for a more professional look. Choose a font that mirrors your personality. Use a color scheme that reflect your branding. Stick to colors that provide a nice contrast on the card but that are also easy to read.

Add Special Touches

There are many more ways that you can make your card stand out. One option is to use embossing, which creates a three-dimensional image and emphasizes certain areas of your card. Or, you can choose the reverse with letterpressing in which the printer presses the paper down while it inks it, making it look engraved. Foil stamping makes your text shiny. Spot UV coating provides a sheen to certain parts of a card. Another way to make your card stand out is to make it wider and thicker. You can also consider alternative materials like metal or rubber or use scented inks. Finally, transparent cards create a modern, sleek design.

After you take the steps to design the perfect card for your business, reach out to a designer at Pel Hughes to make your vision a reality.

10 Essential Books for Every Graphic Designer

Graphic designers have the fortunate problem of having a wealth of literature at our fingertips. Whether you’re a design student or a seasoned professional, it’s always important to keep your skills current and find ways to constantly improve. While it can be difficult to sift through all of the material out there, we’ve done our homework and determined the 10 essential books that every graphic designer needs on their bookshelf. So without further ado, here is the list.   



  • Paula Scher: Works Tony Brook & Adrian Shaughnessy


Often referred to as the most influential female graphic designer of all time, Paula Scher provides a stunning monograph from Unit Editions. The 326-page book includes a long interview with Scher, and sections dedicated to her socially and politically motivated posters, New York Times Op-Ed illustrations and campaign work. 



  • How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul Adrian Shaughnessy


Design consultant and writer Adrian Shaughnessy draws on a wealth of experience to provide a career manual to guide graphic designers through the profession. How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul addresses the concerns of young designers who want to earn a living by doing meaningful work, and avoid becoming a hired drone working on soulless projects. The book provides straight-talking advice on how to establish a design career, as well as pointers for running a successful business and how to adapt to our digital culture.



  • Logo Modernism (Design) Jens Muller


Modernist aesthetics in architecture, art, and product design are familiar to many. In soaring glass structures or minimalist canvases, we recognize a time of vast technological advance which affirmed the power of human beings to reshape their environment and to break, radically, from the conventions or constraints of the past. Less well-known, but no less fascinating, is the distillation of modernism in graphic design. Logo Modernism is equally fascinating to anyone interested in social, cultural, and corporate history, and in the sheer persuasive power of image and form.



  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts Simon Garfield


This is not just a font book, but more of a collection of intriguing stories. From the typeface of Beatlemania, to the graphic vision of the Obama campaign, fonts can signal a musical revolution or the rise of an American president. Just My Type looks at a range of modern mysteries, including how Helvetica took over the world, what inspires the seemingly universal use of Trajan on bad movie posters, and what makes a font look male or female, or American or German. This one will forever change how you look at the printed word.



  • House Industries: The Process is the Inspiration Andy Cruz


This illustrated journey offers a personal perspective on the origin of ideas for creative people in any deign field. In it, Andy Cruz offers groundbreaking and inspirational ideas to help artists, designers, musicians and creative people in any industry develop their best work.



  • New Perspectives in Typography Scott Williams


Taking a comprehensive approach to contemporary type design, this book showcases the work of more than 100 designers – including David Peardon, Philippe Apeloig, and Anthony Burrill. In addition to providing a sourcebook for seasoned designers and educators, this book will encourage and inspire the next generation of designers as well.



  • Graphic Design Visionaries Caroline Roberts


Graphic Design Visionaries features 75 of the world’s most influential designers and presents the story of graphic design through the inspiring personal stories alongside large, full-color reproductions of their boundary-pushing work. The chronological book introduces many of the key designers every practitioner should know, and features the likes of M/M Paris, Wim Crouwel, Tom Eckersley, Stefan Sagmeister, Studio Dumbar, Irma Boom and more.



  • Women in Graphic Design 1890-2012 Gerda Breuer


In recent decades, female graphic designers have been working actively and successfully, but the longstanding identification of creative genius with masculinity has largely prevented women from receiving recognition in the official annals of design history. Even today, only a tiny percentage of female designers enjoy public acclaim. This extraordinary piece book takes a look beneath the surface and examines numerous contributions from design historians, programmatic texts and a comprehensive collection of biographies. It also offers interviews with internationally recognized female designers, including Irma Boom, Paula Scher, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Julia Hoffmann and Tina Roth Eisenberg, among others.



  • Type Hybrid: Typography in Multilingual Design Victionary


Type Hyrbid opens with a collection of 120 logotypes that feature synchronized multilingual details within a compact design before expanding to probe into 100 visual communication solutions. The book examines the increasing globalization of today’s society and discusses how the world is looking for a new-era language that can unite and identify with multiple cultures at once. This does not only come as a verbal challenge, but an intellectual one for designers to understand foreign values and communication systems to create an effective discourse.



  • How to Have Great Ideas: A Guide to Creative Thinking John Ingledew


An essential guide for students and young professionals looking to embrace creative thinking in design, advertising and communications, How to Have Great Ideas looks at strategies and practical projects showing how to unlock creative ideas in different ways. John Ingledew also provides numerous examples of innovative thinking in graphic design, advertising, photography, illustration, architecture, product design, furniture design, industrial design, animation, digital design, car design, engineering, art and fashion.

Graphic Design: The Bread and Butter of Successful Marketing

The ability of the human brain to retain visual information is quite astounding. And it makes sense when you think about it. Humans have always relied on their visual senses to apprehend major threats, food supplies and reproductive opportunities. If a human hears a piece of information, three days later they’ll remember 10% of it. If a graphic is added in, they’ll remember 65%.

Even with these numbers, it shouldn’t come as a shock that people process information better when there is an image involved. Graphics can be colorful with different shapes, sizes and forms. They’re eye-catching and can present an entire message in one glance.

When you consider the ability of the human brain to retain visual information combined with the large amount of material presented to us in the digital world, it becomes clear why graphic design really is the backbone of a successful marketing campaign. However, it may be even more important than you realize. Below are a few examples to illustrate this point.



Persuasion is an art. It’s the art of getting others to see things as you see them. One of the best and quickest ways to persuade consumers is with graphic images. It can only take a few seconds for someone to look at an image or logo and be persuaded to seek further information on a product or even make a purchase.

A picture by itself is not necessarily persuasive. However, with the right creativity you can change the way your audience interacts with the image and magnify its effects. You can quickly amplify your message and motivate the receiver to act in a certain way.



As touched on above, graphics can be an extremely quick and efficient way to communicate a large amount of information. By utilizing graphic designs in the best possible way, you can promote your business objectives and/or brand with the glance of an eye. Marketers must be careful, however.

The last thing any company wants is for their consumers to be confused by what they are looking at, and consequently, what your business is about. A lack of proper design decision making can result in companies failing to achieve their marketing goals. If you know your company and can convey its message through a graphic, you can reach a wide audience in the blink of an eye.



Every big name company has a brand logo we can all identify with. Think McDonalds or Starbucks or Nike. The list goes on. A well-crafted graphic can instantly make your company recognizable, and that recognition will stay with your audience (see the first paragraph of this article).

Most successful companies entire brand image start off with a great logo, then expand to other areas of the marketing process. A successful graphic design will work to target your audience in a way that is attractive, functional and professional. This will get your brand recognized.



First impressions are everything. And while creativity is a significant factor in creating graphic designs, marketing teams must also keep them professional. Graphic designs play a significant role in the decision make process of a consumer. You want your designs to not only be recognizable and consistent, but they should also build a sense of trust with your audience. The best graphics can help your business show their value as well as the high level of professionalism that their consumers can expect.

Humans are visual mammals, and as such, they interact much more efficiently and profoundly with graphic images versus text. By creating well-executed graphic designs, you can persuade your audience in an effective, recognizable and professional manner.