Everybody knows what a logo is. What you might not know is that the word logo comes from the greek word ‘logos’, which means “speech”. A logotype translates a thousand-word story, your story, into simple and limited graphic elements.
If your company specialises in travel, this complex translation exercise becomes much easier. Travel logos aim to inspire, to ignite the wanderlust in all of us. Your audience is already primed to plan leisure holidays and undoubtedly have a yearly budget allocated to it.
Half of the job is done; there is no need to convince them to like the product, because they already like to travel, and no need to convince them to buy the product, because they will buy a trip eventually, just maybe not with you. Therefore, your main goal is to convince them to book with you and not with a competitor.
Here is a little guide to help you create your travel logo that will wow your customers and truly represent your brand.
- 1 The Best Travel Company Logo Designs and How to Create Them
What makes a good travel logo?
To cover all efficiency criteria, it is essential to make as many drafts as possible, only to retain one which will unite all required qualities:
-Simplicity. Too much going on will confuse the main focus, and you don’t want that.
-Visual impact. It should strike, have that ‘wow’ factor.
-Originality. Don’t just stick an aeroplane on a globe, try to think outside the box, avoid cliches.
-Clarity. It should be easy for anyone to comprehend.
-Readability. Is the font readable from far? Could you choose one that your eye can read faster?
-Aesthetics. Think harmony, symmetry, geometry, expressiveness.
-Timelessness. Think about your brand in 20 or 30 years. Will your logo still work then?
A good logo is a vector or it isn’t
Independently from being travel related or not, all professional logos must fill this technical aspect.
Vector graphics are mathematically generated images. The graphic consists of points connected by lines which build up a shape that can be filled with flat colour or gradients. Each point’s position is dictated by a mathematical value which allows the image to be scaled infinitely while keeping a consistent crispness. The downside to this is that intricate or excessive detail is difficult to obtain and maintain, so it is better suited to simple designs, such as logo graphics.
For further explanation, I recommend reading this article : https://iimagedesign.com/vector-vs-raster-for-logo-design/
What you get with a designer
Unfortunately, creating your own logo via an online logo maker only lets you download a raster version. If you hired a designer, you would get not one vector file, but multiple. Here is what I deliver when sending over a finalised logo:
For one logo, a designer will provide print versions in different sizes (for T-shirts, mugs, business cards, you name it), and the same again for web use.
The’ reverse’ is the negative version of your logo, to put on a dark background or an image. Of course it comes with a guide for you to make sense of all these different formats.
What you get without a designer
Well, you’ll get one version of your logo, and not even a vector. You can pay between £15 and £30 to download them though, so all isn’t lost. You can get a decent logo on your own, you might just have to deal with the tech stuff later on.
Maybe you’re thinking ‘I can vectorise it online for free, right?’. Well, you shouldn’t. For one it isn’t free at all, it always ends up surprising you when it’s time to download the file. Second, the automated result is usually not up to scratch.
How to create a logo like the pros?
If you’re creating a logo from scratch, you are then endorsing the role of the designer. The most important step is to take one back. You have to work as if you were working for somebody else, not for yourself. This extra level of distance between you and your future logo will ensure no biased opinions come into play.
Write your own brief
The biggest chunk of work when it comes to designing a logo is research. The more you do, the better the logo will be in the end. Analysing the below topics is crucial, and don’t go believing the answers are obvious. If they are, then dig deeper, develop, write a lot of keywords (they will help you down the line).
Who are you as a company? Find 3 keywords to define your brand / values.
What makes you so special?
Why are you different from the rest?
What is your core message?
What is your speciality?
What is your USP?
Who are you up against?
What do they do?
What story do their logos tell?
What do you like or dislike about their logos?
What is your target audience?
If you were one of your customers, what would you like and expect?
What would make you say ‘Yes, I want to work with them’?
Choose the right fonts
If you don’t find a font you like amongst the ones suggested by the logo makers we’ll talk about below, you have the option to upload one. In that case, Google has the solution for you.
Google Fonts is the best place to find free, compatible and quality fonts for your design project.
Note that other websites (not naming names *cough*dafont*cough*) offer free fonts which are often badly crafted. If either the format or the presets aren’t created with professional care, they won’t install correctly on your machine, not to mention online use.
As a designer I would strongly advise against ‘decorative’ fonts, it is amateur territory:
You might find it quirky and so much different from these Times New Roman and other boring default fonts Word chooses for you… So when it is finally your turn, you are going to try and find ‘pretty’ fonts, ones you find ‘pretty’ on their own. But a font is never to be used on its own. In the case of creating a logo, my advice would be : Do not let decorative fonts steal the spotlight in your logo, please.
Choose the right colours
First, try to understand how others do it, identify what you like, what you don’t, and why. This will help you along.
Then, once your eye is a tad more trained, follow these guys on instagram. If you don’t have Instagram, you can find their colour palettes on Pinterest too. The good thing about these palettes? They never fail to work.
If you must, they also have a gradient account.
To translate your keywords into colours, here is a non-exhaustive summary about colour symbolics.
Should your logo translate as young, fun and dynamic? Opt for warm colours.
Classy, serious and reliable? Darker tones are in order.
Choose the right shapes
Shapes aren’t to be second-guessed either.
Trust your instinct (not too much)
Above are the things you need to know, stuff I was taught early when I was only a designer-to-be. This information is intended to help you, not constrain you.
You may well end up using none of these colours or shapes, so just leave some decisions to the look and feel.
Useful tips from a designer – Dos & Don’ts
Do: Associate shapes
Merging two shapes into one can be a good angle to explore. This method requires productive brainstorming, where all the words from both aspects/themes of your brand are listed and compared.
This simple association is from the Airbnb brand guidelines:
Do: avoid ambiguity
I invite you to google ‘Worst logos ever’. Funny, yes, but is it really relevant for a travel logo, you may ask? Yes.
The worst examples of logos are often those which don’t make sense. And the designer may have been led down a train of thought where, to them, it makes complete sense but for anyone approaching the logo with a fresh perspective, they may not know right away what the logo is saying.
In the same way, you might not notice when you’ve created an ambiguous shape on your own. So I would recommend sharing it around with your colleagues / friends (with an example screenshot) before downloading your final file. Just to be sure nobody is going to interpret it in a weird or completely different way than you intended.
Don’t: stretch fonts or graphics
Try to respect the original ratio as much as possible. If you accidentally stretch something, you can use Cmd+Z on the logo maker page just as you would in any software.
You wouldn’t stretch a picture of Mona Lisa, would you? Well then, respect typographers’ work all the same. There is a lot of work and effort that goes into designing, calibrating, making a typography practical and beautiful.
Every aspect about a typeface’s height, width and spacing has been carefully thought out with purpose, to ensure the font always looks its best.
Don’t ruin it, respect it. And remember, everytime you stretch a font, somewhere in the world a Graphic Designer weeps.
Do: play with your font
You already know stretching is bad. But there is a professional way to tamper with fonts, to make them more personalised, more unique, more fitted. You are allowed to modify the space between letters and the space between lines.
‘But what happened to “don’t ruin it, respect it?”’ Well, by changing the spacing, you are walking the typographer’s steps, you are adapting his original settings to match your piece’s requirements. There is a big difference between this and distorting the letters by stretching them.
Don’t: exclude ideas
The secret to finding the right idea, is to ignore none. Once written or drawn, you can separate the good pieces from the bad. But there are associations you might not think of until it is physically before your eyes.
Do: make sacrifices
I know it might be tempting, especially if it’s your first time creating, to feel like you’re an almighty designer god with the power to create and destroy. Unfortunately, you can’t just do what you want, so you will have to tone it down.
Your company and your personality are two separate things. Remember that your logo isn’t meant to please or represent you, it is meant to attract others. Even the most skilled designers sometimes choose options they wouldn’t like on a personal level, for the sake of shaving a more effective logo.
Where to find inspiration
If you need an inspiration boost, as all designers do at one time or another, there are a lot of websites that are here to help you.
Typegang is one of my personal favourites. It isn’t specific to the style, the colour or the industry. What you’ll find here is a variety of quality logos without having to decide what kind you are interested in. You don’t know if you want it minimalistic, conceptual, text-based, or text-less? Typegang is where you’ll perfect your vision.
Pinterest will offer even greater variety, but with a twist: top-quality logos will share the screen with average / template ones. However, Pinterest’s best quality is its endless feed. Clicking on something will make you click on another, and another… You can set up a ‘logo’ board with dozens of examples you like.
The best thing about Behance when it comes to logo inspiration is Logofolios. Designers share their best series of logos on a regular basis. Again, the variety is quite extraordinary, and as a bonus you can look at the sketches and early stages of logo design, proving that you don’t get the logo of your dreams without drafting it first.
Dribble is the mirror of Behance, but you’re more likely to see work that isn’t systematically associated with the Adobe softwares. Same diversity, same professionalism. After all, people use it to get hired or to hire designers, so you will only find quality pieces there too. You don’t need a pro account just to browse and get inspired.
Good to know
On those inspiration websites, if the logos look so good and out of this world, it’s for a good and simple reason: most of them don’t actually exist. These are propositions which clients rejected (their loss), or the designers are creating logos for an imaginary company, to flesh out their portfolio. That’s right, if you want the world to be less ugly, you can play your part and make sure your logo looks as good as the ones you’ve seen so far.
Travel Logos we like
1 – Travel Story by Krivenko
Sometimes shapes from 2 different universes happen to complement one another. Clever use of the feather and inkpot in the shape of a hot air balloon.
2 – Golden Ratio Parrot by EmanualeAbrate
Here is one perfect example of using the golden ratio to create quality logos. Not only it can guide you through your design process but also it will ensure the proportions are right.
3 – See You Go by EugeneMT
Good use of the shapes here; the design plays with the map pin shape and the on/off switch to illustrate something looking at you. See You Go concept nailed !
4 – Love Travel by Yoga Perdana
A beautiful and simple logo which demonstrates the impact of negative space. If two words can’t merge into one similar shape, try and hide one in the other, like this plane which is drawn inside the heart.
The gradients add a lot to the logo, but they aren’t to be tampered with unless you have the experience to do so.
5 – Chance Travel by Mir Farid Mansurzada
Another example of smart shape associations.
6 – Paper Airplane by Luke Southern
A paper airplane, a mountain and an arrow pointing forward. Being subtle is just as important as any other quality a logo should have; it shows your audience elegance.
7 – Skytropic by Victor Goncalves
Choosing the right font can really take your logo up a notch, like this example. The colour harmony is also mastered here.
8 – Tocofly by Deividas Bielskis
This little Toucan popping its head out of a circle makes this a great example of flat design used to mimic depth. The circular font chosen complements it really well.
Time to create !
A little heads up before we start creating, all the logo makers I tried aren’t actually free. The alternative doesn’t cost much though.
I chose to imagine a brand called Llama Tours as an example, because we just really like llamas here at SEO Travel.
- Go to Wix Logo Maker
- Choose ‘Create a Logo Yourself’
- Sign Up to Wix Logo Maker
- Start Designing your Logo – Enter the Name of Your Company. I recommend NOT to add a tagline. That kind of information is not to be included in a logo, it should be done separately so you always have a version of your logo without it.
- What is Your Logo for? Add your industry type (e.g Travel Agency)
- How should your logo look and feel? I chose Fun, Playful, Creative and Hipster. This choice will impact the suggested templates.
- Which of these logos do you like better? Click the ones you like or – like me – keep clicking ‘I don’t like either of them’ if it is the case.
- Where do you want to use your logo? For a web version, which I recommend to start with, click Website, Social Media, and Presentation.
- Choose a Logo to Customize. You are presented with a feed of suggestions. I click on the one I like the color scheme of.
From then on the process is pretty straightforward. All the tools are clear and the interface is very practical. I am confident that this is the closest reflection of my Adobe Illustrator software. The essentials of logo design are here for you to use. All the icons are, even if limited, top quality.
- I pick a logo which I like the color scheme of.
- I found the one llama icon they had, not too shabby. I would have preferred a little less detail but I roll with it.
- I make sure my elements are aligned where I want them to be. This should be a reflex.
- I try a ‘centered’ layout, but it looks off. The neck of my llama disturbs the balance, and the logo takes too much vertical space. (Imagine this in your website navigation, it would be too high.)
- I experiment with different suggested color schemes, but I end up sticking to my first choice. I have a little peak at the fonts they offer, and I found the perfect one to demonstrate the decorative fonts trap.
- I opt for this layout. Note that the fonts I chose were the most adapted for the keywords I chose (fun, playful, creative)
- I do a smaller version of my logo, if I need a Favicon, or just the logo without text.
- Time to export, you can choose the price option most suited to your needs.
If you are aiming for the free raster version, which again I wouldn’t recommend for the long term, you can zoom your window in, and simply screenshot it. Note that the zoom is what will make it better quality. Don’t just take a regular screenshot. Here is my example, approximately 900px wide and long.
- Go here
- Enter your Company Name
- Choose Your industry
- Pick 5 templates you like or just start from a blank one
- You can now browse from icons, fonts, shapes and colours to refine your logo. Some icons require you to have a pro membership, but if you like you can purchase the icon only for £1 or so.
- When it’s time to download, you can have a png version with background, 500x500px.
- I would obviously recommend a pro membership, because it will let you have a bigger size, better quality, multiple formats and transparent background.
The SMART TIP still allows you to have a much better quality version. Especially if you are on a MacBook/IMac with Retina Display.
If you follow all these tips and get the right inspiration, you’ll be able to create your dream logo. Remember the importance of simplicity and neutrality when you are in the design process… and have fun doing it!
Unsure of the result? Take a well-known logo from any industry, and imagine it with the colours and the fonts you chose. You’ll be able to tell if it works or if it looks off, that’s how you recognize a good colour scheme and font combination.
Good luck !
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