For a business, a robust logo is like a great first impression. It’s a firm handshake and a warm smile, a symbolic way of communicating that instantly expresses the values of a business on a conscious and subconscious level. It’s a tall ask for a single graphic, and a challenge to get right without employing professional design skills.
After all, we’re not used to identifying ourselves with a symbol (unless you’re Prince). Balancing subtle communication with raw aesthetics – that will look good on-screen and off – is enough to have anyone stuck at the drawing board. Luckily, with these tips we’ll put you on the right path to creating your own logo, or communicating your vision to a designer.
What is a logo?
Logos are a part of everyday life now. We’re so accustomed to seeing them on our coffee cups and emblazoned across our chests, we rarely stop to think about what they actually are. In fact, that’s the true power of a logo. To be able to influence us without us even realising.
A logo can be many things to many people, but at the core of it, a logo is a symbol – and symbols have always been a powerful means of communication. From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to modern day emojis, our history is littered with compelling symbolism… and silly smiley faces.
Consider the ancient yantras of Indian tantric traditions. Mystical diagrams, constructed through specific compositions of sacred geometry. “Yantra” literally translates to machine, which is why each confer a unique purpose in meditation. As the meditator gazes upon the yantras, they’re able to better focus their minds.
It’s through shape and composition that symbols convey their meaning and purpose. Like the iconic Nike “swoosh” and its representation of motion and speed, your logo is your means of conveying your brand purpose. In Nike’s case, the drive is to “just do it” – what would your logo inspire your audience to do?
What’s the difference between logo and branding?
Logos and branding are intrinsically tied, but separate concepts. Like our senses of taste and smell, you can’t truly perceive one without the other.
A logo is a single graphical representation of a brand. It’s clear, defined and tangible. Branding on the other hand, is a much more ambiguous concept. A collective of thoughts, practices and purpose that gives a brand – and therefore the logo – its meaning.
Being the sum total of your brand experience, there’s a lot to consider with your branding. As Jän Ostendorf of Purpose Branding says in our article, From verbal to visual: How to bring your purpose and mission to life, “It takes time and diligence in communicating a purposeful and intended message that is clear and reinforced in every experience, colour, typeface, website heading, email, Facebook post and so on.”
Although Jän recommends starting the whole branding experience with a purposeful vision in mind, don’t get bogged down with analysis paralysis. Both branding and logo design are a fluid exercise, and it’s okay to iterate over time.
Why do you need a logo?
Your logo is the tip of the spear when it comes to your branding. It’s likely to be the first thing your audience sees, and so it’s your first means of communicating your brand and its values.
If you have an audience, a relevant logo is necessary to connect with them. Without it, you’re just another faceless business. Even in the most practical sense, a logo is needed so your audience can identify you.
This is true everywhere your brand exists online. Social media profiles are given their authority through trust. If your audience can’t be sure who you are, they won’t engage with your message.
What are the parts of a logo?
Whilst a logo is a singular expression of your business, it can still be broken down into several parts. Three to be exact, as discussed in our article, The 3 parts of a logo and why they matter. In short, you have a:
- Brand mark (the graphic element)
- Brand name (the main text element)
- Strapline (the short phrase that adds context)
The brand mark is perhaps the easiest part, with symbolism being so deeply rooted in the yoga world. From universal symbols like the tree or lotus flower, to the more religious symbols of Ganesha and Shiva – there’s a lot to use as material for a brand mark.
Despite this (and much to our confusion), so many yoga businesses continue to copy each other with the same generic symbols. This is the area to get creative!
The brand name is generally just the most succinct version of your business name. Nobody needs to read your limited company status in your logo. And finally, the strapline. This is your way of explaining the “what” and “how” of your business.
Do you need a logo now?
If you have a yoga business and you’re reading this article, the answer is probably yes. In any situation where you’re representing yourself and your business – both online and offline – having a logo is a good thing.
That being said, there are some caveats. For new yoga teachers working with established yoga businesses, having a logo needn’t be your top priority. As long as you represent another brand, you can focus primarily on developing your teaching skills and your network.
Having a logo becomes necessary once you step out as your own business entity, and have an audience of your own. Or at the very least, are taking steps towards building one. Which is why new independent yoga teachers, studios and retreat centres should look to get a logo at the earliest possible time.
For everyone else, if you’re at the stage where you’re ready to build your own website, you definitely need a logo now. If you need some direction in that area, read our article on which website platform should you use for your yoga business.
And before you rush out to get a logo made, it’s important that you spend the time to really consider your new brand and what it stands for. That way your new logo can be designed with these things in mind (and your designer will be grateful for some direction).
Examples of logos we’ve designed
Yoganatomy is the world’s leading yoga anatomy brand run by David Keil, author of Functional Anatomy of Yoga and a series of online anatomy courses. We refreshed his original logo by simplifying it. The Yoganatomy brand has continued to evolve over the years and the strapline has evolved from “Anatomy for the mat” to “Educating & inspiring”. The original strapline reflected what Yoganatomy offered, while the new iteration written by the client is more aspirational.
Stillpoint Yoga London
Stillpoint Yoga London is a busy Ashtanga yoga studio offering ‘Mysore style’ Ashtanga yoga and inspiring workshops and retreats with founder Scott Johnson. We designed his logo around the concept of the mandala, a meditative symbol reflecting Scott’s integration of Ashtanga yoga and mindfulness. The strapline ”Supporting your practice” emphasises how Stillpoint supports practitioners rather than the authority of the teacher.
The Yoga Spot
The Yoga Spot is a yoga studio run by Michele Ross located in the heart of Aberdeen. Feedback from students led to the ”Serene in Aberdeen” strapline.
Need more inspiration for your logo? Take a look at all the other logos we’ve done for our clients in our case studies section.
Tips for creating your own yoga logo
- Think carefully whether you actually need a logo.
- Consider and capture your values and personality as a teacher/studio owner. These notes will be useful when you get someone to help you bring your ideas to life.
- Do hire a professional freelance designer or agency (how about us!)
- Always look at examples of their work (we’ve done some great stuff).
- Ask what the process is so you know what to expect.
- Be as specific as possible with your feedback when you review.
- Make sure the designer provides different formats for your logo, e.g. stacked and horizontal. It needs to be flexible.
- Your logo should come with a colour palette and complementary fonts that all work well together. You’ll need this for designing a website and other marketing.
- Remember it doesn’t need to be perfect – you can, and should, refine your logo and strapline over time.
- If/when you change your strapline – make a list of all the places that it needs to be changed, e.g. website, email templates, flyers, social media channels, videos, etc.
- Keep it simple.
Avoid these common mistakes
- Being too literal. Keep it abstract: it should allude to meaning, not spell it out!
- Avoid getting too complicated. Logos that are too detailed and complex in design, or those that have very light fonts and delicate lines, are difficult to read at small sizes on screen or when printed on fabric.
- Never use a lotus flower as the main graphical element. It’s been done to death, and you want to stand out, right?
- Don’t use delicate decorative fonts that are hard to read.
- Avoid constantly tweaking your logo and strapline – once a year should be enough for small tweaks.
Are you ready to create your own yoga logo?
Designing a logo seems to start off as a simple exercise, but then often turns into a beast of branding, ideation and existential dilemmas (what is the moral purpose of my business?!)
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. From abstract theory to practical implications, we hope you’re feeling more prepared to tackle your own yoga logo.
With so much to consider, it’s incredibly helpful to get expert assistance right from the beginning. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’d be in good hands with us. Our Logo and Style Guide Package is based on our tried and tested process, developed over 25 years working with clients.
Ready to take the first step? Book a free consultation today.