Is your business in need of a logo? Whether you’re planning to give it a refresh or creating a new one from scratch, a logo that catches the attention of your customers is essential for building brand presence.

Wondering how you’ll begin? Here are six steps to follow to get you started:

1. Define your brand visually

When you think of your brand, what do you imagine? Take out a piece of paper and make notes. Write down the words and images that you believe represent your brand. It might also be useful to ask other employees or a close friend for their help with this exercise as they’ll likely see the brand differently than you.

Once you’ve created personas for your brand, you’ll be able to think about the kind of logo that would fit the company and attract those types of customers.

2. Research, don’t copy

During the process of creating your logo, you’ll probably study a ton of them online for inspiration. You should look at logos that you like and save them on your laptop. Make a list of things you like about these logos. Do you like the font? The use of white space? Pick out a few defining characteristics that are appealing to you.

Next, look at logos from other businesses in your industry. It’s important to know what your competitors offer so you can stand out.

However, while you can draw inspiration from others, it’s important to remember that your logo is your own. It should be unique. You should certainly do research before you create a logo, but you don’t want to be a copycat. You are your own brand.

3. Colors matter

What color should your logo be? Just because your favorite color is green, this does not mean it’s the best choice for your logo. Colors have meaning. There’s an entire psychology behind the use of colors and the emotions they evoke for shoppers.

When you’re thinking about your logo’s color scheme, consider the message each color sends:

Red: bold, loud, sexy, edgy
Orange: creative, cheery, fun, youthful
Yellow: cheery, sunny, optimism
Green: growth, organic, instructional, environmental, health
Blue: professional, calming, trustworthy, dependable
Purple: wise, blissful, spiritual
Black: powerful, strong, masculine
White: pure, innocent, clean, simple, crisp
Pink: flirty, youthful
Brown: rural, historic
Grey: neutral, calm

4. Pick the right font

In the same way that colors send a message, so do fonts. If you plan to include your business name in your logo, which most companies choose to do, you’ll want to pick the right font. Here’s a quick breakdown of fonts and their implied meaning. For more information, check out this infographic.

Script fonts: elegant, affectionate, creative
Serif fonts: traditional, reliable
Sans serif: stability, clean
Modern: strong, stylish
Display: friendly, unique

See a font online that you like? Use an online tool like WhatTheFont to identify it. Just upload an image and you’ll find out the fonts that are used. Plus, you’ll see a list of fonts that are similar to it.

When it comes to fonts, there are more to choose from than what Microsoft Word offers. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to pick a common font like Times New Roman. You can even download new fonts right to your laptop. Check out 1001 Free Fonts to find a typography you like.

5. Keep it simple

A logo should be clean, crisp and not leave your customers puzzled about what it means. Don’t use more than two fonts or two colors. Keep the imagery basic. That’s not to say you can’t be creative, but if you want to appeal to customers, a logo can’t be overwhelming. You aren’t creating a work of art for a gallery; you’re creating an easy-to-identify logo.

6. Use a professional to design your logo

Once you have some solid direction, take your ideas to a professional. While there are numerous crowdsourcing options, be cautious of this route. The number of samples and pricing may be enticing, but these sites may not offer access to expert designers with the years of branding experience necessary to create a logo that’s right for you. Deluxe offers top-of-game in-house designers and economical logo packages starting at $245. They’ve designed for more than 75,000 clients worldwide. You can check out some samples here.

Conclusion:  The most important part of deciding on a logo is to make sure that you feel it represents what you want to convey about your brand to customers. Remember, there will be many times when your logo will be the voice of your business before people even consider your products – make it work in your favor.