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Your logo says a lot about your event. It’s the first thing any of your guests see, and the first thing they engage with. It’s more than just a pretty picture you can slap on to conference bags, brochures, and your website; it’s the visual representation of your event. The better it looks, the better people are going to feel about attending.

If you want your logo to look like anything more than clipart, then the design process is going to be long, involved, and demanding. The reward, however, is more than worth it. If you put in the necessary work to create your logo, your event’s branding is going to look incredible – and you can bet that’s going to draw more guests to attend.

We can’t walk you through every single facet of the logo design process, nor can we tell you exactly what your logo should look like. It’s unique to your event’s brand. What we can do, however, is tell you what makes a great logo; from there, you’ll be able to work things out on your own.

Keep It Simple

Look at the logo for the TED Talk Conference. Or The Electronic Entertainment Expo. Or SXSW. Or The Consumer Electronics Show. What do they all have in common?

They’re incredibly simple, and all the more recognizable for it. A needlessly-complex logo is just going to end up looking tacky or confusing. An understated, Spartan design is the best choice here.

“Make your logos as simple as possible,” advises Yeti Inc; “simple logos are more recognizable than complicated ones. Avoid using too much detail on your design, and leave out anything that’s unnecessary. Focus instead on how your logo will relate to your company; make it simple yet compelling.”

Know Exactly Who You Are – And What You Want To Represent

Now that we’ve hammered home the importance of simplicity, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. What’s involved in designing a logo? Where do you start, and how?

According to Yeti Inc, you need to start by knowing yourself, your firm, and – most importantly – the event you’re running. What do you want to convey to your guests? What’s the most important, most vital core idea of the entire event?

“Your logo will be an important part of your brand identity. You need to spend more time on planning than on any other step of the design process,” reads the Yeti Inc. blog. It advises that you take the following into account:

  • Your target audience. Who is attending your event? What do you want to communicate to them with your logo?
  • The purpose of your event. Why are you hosting this event? What do you hope to accomplish with it, and how will you accomplish that? What are the core values of your event firm, and the brand your event represents?
  • Study the competition. Look at other events in your industry. What sort of symbolism and imagery do they use? How does this reflect what they are and what they do?
  • Figure out wording. Do you want your logo to be purely visual, or do you want to include text in it?

Put Some Heart Into It

A logo that’s designed in a mechanical fashion is going to look mechanical – and it’s going to be all the more boring for it. Think about your own personal feelings for your event and your event management firm. Can you translate these feelings into imagery?

Can you create a logo that accurately depicts your passion, and conveys that passion to your guests?

This advice may sound a bit airy, but trust me on this. When you’re doing creative work, it’s always best to do it with emotion. You cannot approach the creative process as you’d approach a logistics meeting or a strategic planning session. You’re not going to wind up with much of use if you do.

Make It Unique

In addition to accurately conveying your event’s message, you also want your logo to look unique. Try to avoid using any artwork you find online (especially if you don’t know whether or not it’s fair use). Your aim here is to create something that distinguishes you from everyone else.

You want your event’s brand to be more identifiable to guests. A unique logo lets them pick your event out from all the others; it lets them ascribe a specific identity to your firm. A generic logo, on the other hand, well…it’s both boring and forgettable.

There’s another reason you want to make your logo as unique as possible, however – copyright infringement.

Consider, for example, the case of Seattle design firm Modern Dog, whose artwork curiously appeared in a logo meant to advertise High School Musical. Naturally, they were none too pleased about this. As of the time of writing, a court decision on the lawsuit is still pending.

Look Around For Inspiration

While you should avoid copying anyone else’s logo or artwork wholesale, there’s nothing wrong with drawing on inspiration from other events and organizations. Trundle through Pinterest looking at artwork, pay attention to the branding on some of the biggest events in your field, look around at businesses in your industry. The key here is to always be open to inspiration from a new source, no matter what it is.

Display It Creatively

Your logo’s design isn’t the only thing that’s important – how you display it is every bit as vital as how it looks. To that end, you’re going to need to get a bit creative with how it’s displayed. You need to go beyond the standard stuff (which you should already be doing) and try thinking outside the box.

“Just relying on banners and flyers to be a sufficient way to display your logo is out of the question if you want your event to really stand out;” writes Amy Capron of The Event Manager Blog. “Branded goody bags and logoed photo walls are no longer ‘new’ ideas.” So…what can you do?

Think about elements of your event that are consistently visible to your guests, but that no one’s ever thought to attach a brand to. Look around, and try to come up with some unusual, crazy ideas – then consider that they might just work. You might think about putting a few robots on the floor to wander around, or offering branded food, says Capron; or employing a digital caricaturist.

Basically, you’re going to need to rack your brain here, and think of some way to display your logo that’s both unique and tied directly to your industry.

Remember That It’s Going To Take Work

Before we wrap things up, I have one final piece of advice to give you – don’t get discouraged. As I have already said, this is going to be a long, involved, and difficult process. You’re probably going to design quite a few misses before you get a logo that works perfectly for your business, and that’s perfectly alright.

Eventually, if you keep working at it, you’ll come up with imagery that perfectly represents your event, and conveys to your guests the precise message you desire. Once you do that, all the hard work will have been worth it.

“Don’t expect to hit a home run instantly,” advises Yeti. “Just like every endeavor, logo design success requires time and patience. Don’t make drastic changes just because you get the impression that your logo isn’t working for you. Remember that it’s just the first step – recognition is the end goal.”

Where Do I Find a Logo?

Chances are, you are probably not a graphic designer yourself, which is fine, there are plenty of great services that can use your ideas and turn it into a spectacular product.

  • 99Designs: This website lets you post your needs and holds a contest where graphic designers submit there ideas and let you chose the best one. This gives you lots of different ideas and you get to chose the one that best fits your vision. This is a great way to see a designers work before putting up the dough.
  • Fiverr: This is your cheapest option for getting a logo, with graphic designers making you one starting at just $5! The issue is the designs can be inconsistent or  have lower quality. There can be some gems if you need something very quickly with a low budget.
  • Aviary: If you would like to give a whack at it yourself, you can use this Adobe product to design your own.

Closing Thoughts

A logo says a lot about an event, if you know how to read into it. It conveys an event’s core purpose, the emotion it’s meant to inspire in attendees, and the core values of the firm hosting it. Most importantly, it serves as a powerful identifier for your events; a symbol that your guests will instantly associate with you, for good or ill.