Unfortunately, logo design inspiration can be difficult to find. Just imagine: you have received a brief from a new client, and now you're tapping your fingers waiting for inspiration to hit you. Are you expecting the perfect logo design to magically appear, fully formed, in your mind? If so, you'll likely be in for a long wait.
Seeking out inspiration takes proactivity. If you soak up a variety of ideas, gradually they'll come together to form the logo you're looking for. The only trick is knowing where to find your inspiration in the first place.
Below you'll find some suggestions of places you can look for logo design inspiration (check out this list of top logo design to get you started, or perhaps you feel ready to dive in with one of the best logo designers). Further down the page, you'll find some tips for kickstarting your logo creative process (use the jump link above to get there). However, this can never be an exhaustive list because inspiration can come from anything and anywhere at anytime.
Behance is an online gallery for designers, packed full of design projects including a wide variety of high quality, creative logos. It's a brilliant place to go for inspiration – just search using keywords.
Logoed is a single-page archive that’s sole purpose is to present beautiful logo designs. Its simple vertical scroll makes it simple and easy to navigate, and as you move down the page more projects are automatically loaded onto the screen. Simply click on each thumbnail for more information on each project and a wider selection of images.
Logospire takes a similarly simple, infinite vertical scroll format and pares it back even further, offering just a single image and a link to the designer’s website. Without any other clutter, it's easy to spot the logos that stand out for you.
04. Brand New
Brand New is part of graphic design platform behemoth Under Consideration, and offers information on logo design trends, showcases imagery and offers advice on great logo design. It also offers critiques of the latest logo designs.
LogoLounge (at the time of writing) offers a whopping 412,515 different logo designs to peruse. The site was created for designers to offer an efficient reference library and also facilitates discussions around related topics and the chance to share ideas and concepts with peers and clients.
06. Logo Moose
Logo Moose has a daft name, and an ironically daft logo. However, it’s a helpful no-nonsense online logo design inspiration community, which showcases work from professional designers worldwide. Designers can submit their own logo designs to be showcased and take advantage of the platform’s possibilities for critique and feedback.
07. Logo Design Love
Logo Design Love is a site and book from graphic designer David Airey. Unlike some of the more overwhelming logo inspiration sites out there, the platform is thoughtfully laid out and showcases newer works alongside classic designs by the likes of Adrian Frutiger, Cruz Novillo and Paul Rand. Its considered content offers opinions, insight and news on everything logo-related, from celebrating the past to commenting on the contemporary.
Tips on kickstarting your logo design process
If you've searched all the sites and are still a bit stuck, try these tips for kickstarting your logo design.
01. Look beyond the obvious
Cast your net far and wide. Don't just look at the top best logos ever (although that's not a bad place to start). You need to also look beyond that, at design in general and at the wider world.
Whenever you see something that stands out or appeals to you, for whatever reason, file that thought. Let it inform your design process and contribute as your new logo starts to evolve.
02. Just doodle
Sometimes you can overthink these things and end up getting nowhere, so why not cut your conscious mind out of the loop and instead let the creativity flow, unguided, with a bit of random doodling?
You may well end up with a page of pointless scribbles, but somewhere in the disjointed mess of lines, you might spot something that fires up that essential spark of inspiration.
03. Plunder your client's history
Check out all the various logos your client has employed since the company was founded. This can be particularly interesting if they go back for many decades.
You may be able to hark back to the past, if the client would like to position itself as a heritage brand, or you might be able to radically overhaul tits original logo into something fresh and modern. This has the advantage of built-in continuity even as you present a new image. See our post on how to reawaken a brand's heritage here.
04. Explore your client's future
Discuss with your client its plans for the future – what does it envisage for the next 12 months or the next five years? Are there changes of direction imminent or new products coming that could have some bearing on the logo you design? You need to future-proof the logo because businesses do change over time.
Take, for example, Carphone Warehouse: no-one buys carphones any more – so should it lose a highly successful brand that has taken years to build by changing its name to something more appropriate?
05. Phone a friend
While it makes perfect sense to get as much information as you can from the client, sometimes there's nothing quite so helpful as a fresh pair of eyes. If you have some ideas worked up, take them to a friend who has absolutely no connection to the project, and see what they think. Often someone's untainted opinion can be just what you need to fire the imagination.
06. Build some mood boards
Mood boards and brainstorms can help you to straighten out your thoughts and mix up different images and ideas of all shapes, sizes and themes.
Play with keywords and synonyms and gather a multitude of inspirations from different sources onto a single mood board to see how they combine.
07. Trawl through your own design archives
It's probably a fair guess that for every logo you design you probably come up with a couple of dozen sketches before you decide which one to develop further. Never throw away these early ideas, as they form a valuable resource. Just because one of your early sketches didn't work for a previous client, it doesn't mean it won't work at all.
Go back through previous work that you've created but not used and you may find the seed that, with a bit of nurturing, could grow to become the logo you're looking for.
08. Blast your brain with random images
Scroll through Google Images and Pinterest on both related and unrelated subjects to your client's logo needs. Then add the results to your mood board.
Pick a colour here, a shape there, a word, a typeface... then see how these different ideas could work together.
09. Stay receptive
At the end of the day, inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time. Be receptive to the ideas that flow through your mind. Sketch something as it comes to you and then revisit it later to see how it might work within the parameters of your brief.
At these early stages of the design process you need to allow your creativity full rein. Give yourself plenty of ideas to work with and then take the best elements from each and discard the rest.
10. Do something else
If you've tried everything and nothing's coming up, don't try to force it. Take a break and let your brain get on with other things. Go to see a film, play some video games, cook a nice meal or just have a lovely nap. It's amazing how just getting away from the problem at hand and thinking about something else can result in a sudden flash of exactly the right kind of inspiration.
There's no point just waiting for inspiration to hit. The more you search it out, the easier you'll find it. You'll develop an eye for what works and what doesn't, and how you can apply this to your own nascent designs.