Recently, Japan offered up the opportunity for the public to design their mascot for the 2020 Olympic Games. It’s not the only time during these Olympic preparations that an open competition has been used to bring in creative ideas from the public: the Tokyo 2020 logo was designed by competition entrant, Asao Tokolo, after the original was scrapped due to a plagiarism dispute.

Tokolo said to win, he treated the design like ‘it was his own child’ and, while that’s admirable, we’re here to offer some more practical tips for logo design from experienced professionals.

In that spirit, I’ve gone down to the basement, through the magic wardrobe, and lit the correct candles in the right order to open the secret temple entrance so I can talk with our design team. After offering up the usual sacred libation, they agreed to share some of their top tips for logo design.


Q: What’s a good way to come up with ideas?

A: Understand your competition! Before you even start working up a logo concept, research the target market thoroughly. Compare all the logos in their competitive set. This research can reveal some common branding conventions in that specific sector, which can help your design process by playing on familiar visual associations to create something different.

Q: How should one begin when drafting ideas?

A: A good rule of thumb is to start by designing your logo in black on a white background. This helps you focus on the symbol or letterforms and not be distracted by other identity elements. As you develop your logo design, stay flexible, and consider how the logo interacts with the rest of the brand experience, from business cards to billboards, to onsite elements.


Q: What factors should a designer consider when constructing their logo?

A: In today’s digital age, it’s very important to consider how any logo or mark that you design will be applied on screen. Logos are often displayed at a minute scale, such as a favicon or app icon. Because of this, it’s a good idea to explore possible shorthand versions of the logo. I think it has never been more important to work smart, always bearing in mind the need to design a flexible brand-mark system capable of any application, big or small.


Q: How can a designer create something that will be truly representative of the brand?

A: Know the ins and outs of the brand for whom you are designing. From personality traits to their location, everything must be considered in the initial design process in order to get a look and feel that best represents the brand for your intended audience.

Q: How can we make sure the design won’t become dated?

A: In the current fast-paced and digital-driven world, some brands can find themselves left behind while others use the change to their advantage and adapt their visual outlook. The most successful examples adopt a modern approach whilst remaining true to the fundamental aspects of their brand’s heritage. Identity design is constantly evolving in today’s connected world and that’s why the challenge is so fun!

Those are our design tips straight from the professionals at Dusted. Perhaps our sage advice can be used to design the logo for the 2024 Olympics in either LA or Paris. For now, it’s time I left the designers to their own thing before I get sucked into one of their ‘rituals’. Designers, amirite? Savages.