7 Steps To Designing Your Woodshop Logo
You want to design a new logo, but have no idea where to start? Like any woodshop build, there are critical steps to follow. There will be some planning, some measuring, some cutting, some research on technique, and some creativity. But you’ve been down this road before. (Remember that first cutting board?) Now look at you. You're a maker... and you can make this too!
Here’s a 7-step blueprint for designing your own woodshop logo.
Overall, the goals of your logo design should include the following:
- It should be unique from competitors’ logos.
- Your logo should be a cohesive unit; all the parts working together in harmony.
- It should be easy to understand, even from far away.
- It can be used in many different sizes and mediums (maybe even a branding iron).
- Your logo should clearly represent your business and possibly your industry.
To accomplish these goals, there are a few steps to follow:
Step 1: Define Your Brand Identity
Your brand is an embodiment of your business’s purpose, values, and identity, represented by symbols, names, and customer experiences. Your logo is a front-and-center way to quickly express your brand to potential customers. So you want to make sure your logo includes a few key elements.
How will you indicate you are a woodshop?
- Will you use a common shape like a saw blade? Visual elements like that are common because they are effective at communicating your work to customers. But they will not differentiate you from other woodshops.
- Do you include phrases like “woodshop,” “woodworks,” or “woodworking”? This is another common element because it quickly shares with the customer what they can expect from your business.
Don’t worry, though, if your business does not include these words! “Harry’s Custom Gifts and Crafts” can work perfectly well if you are strategic about conveying your woodworking skills in other ways.
- You’re in a mountain region?
- Your favorite color is blue?
- You are a veteran?
- You have an epic beard?
- You only build out of reclaimed whiskey barrels?
Incorporate these elements into your logo!
- “This is gonna be fun!”
- “That’s a serious master craftsman”
- “I feel like he really understands his art and creativity”
Make a list of answers to these questions and see if there is a common theme. Then edit the list to include just 2 or 3 of the most important aspects.
Step 2: See What Other Woodshops Are Doing
Your cousin who works in advertising downtown calls this market research. Included here on this blog post are about 60 woodshop logos to use for inspiration. They were each created to mean something important for that woodshop. So while you want to see what the possibilities are, you need to find what represents you best.
For ones you like, dig a little deeper:
- How do those logos look on their social profiles? Especially check the sites you plan on using: Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, etc.
- How do they look on merchandise for sale? How does it look branded on wood? Stitched on a hat? Printed on their packaging?
- How do they look on mass-printed products, like stickers or letterhead for invoices?
Also see what other businesses are doing, even if it looks like they don’t know the difference between dovetail and a half lap.
- Check out the logos of your favorite Instagram accounts. What do you like, and what do you want to avoid?
- Check out logo design services. 99Designs is a professional graphic design service, who has some excellent examples of woodworking logos here: https://99designs.com/inspiration/logos/woodworking
- You’ll also find a multitude of ideas on free online logo makers including:
Step 3: Brainstorming
Get out the old pencil and paper, or the Microsoft Paint, or Google Drawing, and get some ideas down. Write down or try anything. Seriously, even bad ideas can inspire a better idea. Solicit ideas from friends and family. Like a bad miter cut, some will need to be redone. But eventually, you will get to that beautifully perfect dovetail joint. No one is a master craftsman the first time they buy a kreg jig. Just hang in there.
Step 4: Typography
Let’s dive into some details, starting with the text font for your logo. Even the font you use affects how effective your logo will be. For example, focusing on your veteran-owned aspect with a flowing cursive font may look conflicting. Likewise, focusing on hand-painted signs with a big bold font may not work either. Narrow down your font search by following these general guidelines:
- Serif Fonts - Traditional serif fonts look like text from a book or newspaper, so they can convey authority or maturity. They are also associated with traditional handcrafted woodworking.
- Sans Serif Fonts - Sans serif fonts work well when your logo is a timeless classic theme. They also convey you are fresh and modern as opposed to the more traditional-looking serif fonts. So a modern construction company might employ sans serif fonts.
- Script Fonts - Script or cursive fonts give a sense of warmth and would be appropriate for a more artful, creative shop. Handwritten fonts can also convey that your product is handmade. And finally, they would work if you want your logo to be like your personal signature.
- Vintage Fonts - Vintage or distressed fonts can convey a feeling of nostalgia and old world craftsmanship.
Step 5: Symbols
Commonly used woodshop symbols, like sawblades and hammers, are often included in woodshop logos. But to stand out, think about symbols that aren’t so obvious, but still relate to you.
- A California woodshop might include a surfboard.
- A Wyoming woodshop might include mountains.
- A Nebraska woodshop might include corn husks.
- Trees are a common woodshop symbol so consider using your state tree.
Symbols can also include geometric shapes.
- Circles represent unity, peace and security (think of a peace sign). They also work well for monograms.
- Squares convey balance and stability.
- Triangles can imply speed, as well as direction (as in pointing in a direction).
Step 6: Choose Your Logo’s Colors
Color psychology teaches us that color impacts the way people view or respond to things.
Leading companies have long known about this and that’s why most of their logos are designed with one of these primary colors:
- Green (conveys health or eco-friendliness)
- Blue (conveys stability or safety)
- Purple (conveys quality or authenticity)
- Red (conveys activity or excitement)
- Orange (conveys energy or extroversion)
- Yellow (conveys optimism or friendliness)
For woodshops, browns, greens and grays are commonly associated with handmade wood products. But adding one of the colors above will help you stand out and express a specific emotion or value.
Including some red into your vintage logo reinvigorates your customers’ perceptions of ‘vintage’ from old and tired to reimagined and exciting. Some yellows or blues in your logo can help reiterate to your customers that you sell products for families, like birdhouse-crafting kits. And centering greens in your logo helps reinforce that all your products are sourced sustainably.
Step 7: Follow Basic Graphic Design Principles
- Hierarchy - The most important aspects, like your name, are front and center. Notice in the logo below that the name of the company occupies the middle of the logo and is also the largest text.
- Alignment - Shapes and text have some aspect of order. In the logo below, the cicada itself is the largest element, but it represents the name of the company. In addition, the curvature of the ribbon with the company name mirrors the curvature of the bottom of the cicada, giving the logo a balance.
- Proportion - Items have an appropriate size. You don’t want a big nail next to a small hammer. Check out the next logo, which is dominated by an image of an apricot tree. But the tree acts as a visual symbol for the name of the company, so the image does not feel inappropriately big.
Common Logo Design Mistakes to Avoid
And finally, to help you avoid some of the pitfalls, here are some most common mistakes:
- Looks too much like everyone else’s logo.
- How to overcome this mistake: Identify what makes your company or brand unique and focus on that. Remember that your logo can include imagery besides woodworking tools, like beards, trees, mountains, stars, etc.
- Doesn’t convey what makes you special.
- How to overcome this mistake: Your logo ideally should convey to your customer why they should pick you over your competitors. Add your personality! Add a surfboard, your signature, a hummingbird, or a vinyl record!
- It’s too simple and boring.
- How to overcome this mistake: Include one more color to add vitality and depth to your logo. Include a simple icon if you have no visual element. Ask the kids in your family how to layer text and shapes or how to curve or tilt your text.
- Too much going on, all crammed into a small space.
- How to overcome this mistake: Limit your visuals, stick to 1 or 2 images that are easily recognizable even from far away. Include the name of your company and, if you want, 1-2 extra textual elements, like establishment date or state of operation. But do not include any phrase with more than a few words. Try not to have more than 3 colors.
- It’s too small and becomes grainy when blown up.
- How to overcome this mistake: If you are savvy with graphic design, save your logo as a .svg file, so it retains its integrity when you scale it up or down. But if you are not a whiz at Photoshop, use the dimensions on this site to make sure your logo won’t be too stretched or shrunk on your social media accounts: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-image-sizes-guide/
- Conflicting colors.
- How to overcome this mistake: Use this color wheel tool from Canva to find colors which complement each other: https://www.canva.com/colors/color-wheel/. Check out the drop-down menu to explore different ways to find complementing colors.
- Style, font and colors don’t blend together well.
- How to overcome this mistake: Canva (again) has a great resource on pairing text fonts: https://www.canva.com/learn/the-ultimate-guide-to-font-pairing/. Make sure your fonts, colors, and style are all harmonizing with the same message.
- Make sure you have a clean black-and-white version, and possibly one all black and one all white.
- How to overcome this mistake: You do not want to have to rely on color to convey your brand. Because let’s be real, color ink is expensive to print. And besides, the color displayed on your screen may not display as well on someone else’s screen. Having a black-and-white version in your back pocket can help in a pinch.
After following these 7 steps, each aspect of your logo should have reasoning behind its selection. It should represent you and your core values. And you should feel good everytime you see it, just like that table you walk past everyday, knowing you built it with your own two hands.
Feel free to contact Scott at Scott@GeorgeSupplyCo.com, or visit GeorgeSupplyCo.com, if you want to show off your new logo on apparel, stickers, a new shop banner or any of over 50 other items.
Also contact scott@GeorgeSupplyCo.com if you need a professional to help design your logo.