You’re scrolling through Instagram and you pause to look at a new pic of your friend’s baby. You decide to run down the workday clock looking at gifs of baby elephants on Reddit. Why? Because they’re cute. And because you’re a human, you love cute things. Cute things—like babies—automatically jump to the front of our mental queues because this ensures their survival. But our sense of cuteness doesn’t just cover babies of our own species, or even just sentient beings. We love all things cute, whether that’s cute animals, cute drawings or even cute objects because they grab onto our brains and demand that we pay attention to them.

Logo featuring a cute sloth
A cute logo instantly grabs your attention and makes you go ‘aww’. Logo design by 3AM3I.

So how do you get your logo to demand attention? Make it cute. Cute might be the norm for your field or you might be the first one to try it. Using a cute logo in an industry that typically doesn’t use cute logos can be a way to set yourself apart or to target a demographic that industry doesn’t usually target.

Keep in mind that you can take cute too far. In most industries, opting for a cute logo means giving up some of your position as an authority in your industry. Notable exceptions are industries that literally run on cute, like baby products. But if you’re going cute to advertise a line of office furniture or gardening items, there is absolutely such a thing as too cute. Recognizing too cute is a know-it-when-you-see-it kind of situation that happens when a cute image undermines the product it’s representing.

Take a look at these different ways to do cute logos. Cute can be somewhat subjective, but because our sense of cuteness is rooted in psychology, it’s not as purely subjective as our senses of what’s cool or what’s beautiful. You can use elements that trigger our cute senses to build a cute logo, and here’s a few ways to do it:

Cute n’ cuddly logos

We all love cute animals. Otherwise, they wouldn’t make up most of the internet. As a species, there are few things we love as universally as other animals… especially baby animals. We love imagining what animals think about and giving them voices to speak their minds. If we didn’t, talking animal movies wouldn’t be some of the highest grossing films we create.

We love our pets. We love wild animals. We love animals so much that we created new ones to populate our folklore and inspire our imaginations. A cute animal logo is a great way to connect with pet owners or really, anyone, even if your product doesn’t directly have anything to do with animals. The Car Fox is one example of a product that has nothing to do with animals cementing itself in our minds with a cute animal mascot. Geico is another.

You really can’t go wrong with a cute animal logo, and if you’re marketing to pet owners, nature lovers or kids, it’s one way to guarantee you go right.

Black cat clutching a mug of coffee
Personifying animals makes it easy for viewers to project emotions on them. What’s this cat feeling? Relaxed from a hot cup of tea? Energized by its coffee? Logo design contest entry by Spoon Lancer.
Logo design by Cross the Lime
An animal logo doesn’t have to be detailed to be cute. Via ASPCA.
Pig eating a bowl of noodles with chopsticks
And sometimes, there’s no need to make the emotion ambiguous. Logo for Little Fatty restaurant by Soniaydesigns.
Dog and cat looking forward near a large glass of beer
And pairing animals with other things humans love, like beer, works too. Logo design contest entry by Cross the Lime
puppy logo
by Widakk
flying pig logo
Logo design by maneka
Dog holding a pair of sneakers in its mouth
A cute animal logo will always be a hit with pet owners. Logo design for Exercise my Mutt by Cross the Lime.

Deliciously adorable logos

You ever see something that’s so cute, you just wanna eat it up? Like a baby’s squishy thighs or a big-eyed baby bunny? You can thank your brain for that—research shows that the smell of a newborn triggers the same reward center in the brain as biting into a delicious piece of food. Cuteness is already intricately linked with chowing down in our brains, so capitalize on these crossed wires by choosing a cute logo for your food brand.

Keep in mind that cute probably won’t work for something you’re branding as high-end or artisan. When somebody’s shopping for caviar, they don’t want to see packaging with adorable baby fish looking back at them. Choose cute for sweets, snacks, inexpensive foods and anything aimed at kids because cute is fun and youthful, not established and authoritative.

Cookie with a face smiling as it shows off the cookies its baked and is pastry bag
And just like making animals cute, making food cute often involves giving it human characteristics. Logo for Cookiestomize by Nico Strike.
Delighted peanut with the text “safer peanut”
Just like animals, food can be made super cute by giving it a face. Logo design contest entry by Cross the Lime.
Logo design by Musique!
Beehive-shaped beer glass
Cute logos can be a cheeky way to communicate a brand’s multiple facets. Logo for Beerhive by Zarkum.
a spotted cow patter
Cute and whimsical are close cousins. Playing with colors and patterns in unexpected ways make an otherwise bland logo twee. Logo design contest entry by ananana14.
Simple image of a pineapple with a face
Reminding the viewer of other cute things they love can also be a way to connect with them, like this pineapple that looks like a Lego minifigure’s head. Logo design for Ananas by Armanto.
Cookie with a face smiling as it shows off the cookies its baked and is pastry bag
And just like making animals cute, making food cute often involves giving it human characteristics. Logo for Cookiestomize by Nico Strike.
Green video game controller shaped like a teabag
Using cute to compare and connect seemingly unrelated objects in a clever way can make your logo unforgettable. Logo design contest entry by cucuque design.
Colorful collection of vegetables in a glass jar
Another aspect to making food cute is making the viewer imagine how they’d eat it. Here’s a little salad just waiting to go into your lunchbox. Logo for Tegla’s Salad in a Jar by Dusan Klepic DK.
cute cupcake logo
Cute cupcake logo design by Naomi Theresia

Nonthreateningly neoteenie-weeny logos

In evolutionary biology, neoteny is the retention of juvenile traits into adulthood, like a proportionally larger head, shorter limbs, and larger eyes. Humans are attracted to animals with more juvenile traits, pushing them to protect and eventually, domesticate them.

A wolf with a long-haired chihuahua
This type of change doesn’t happen automatically. But millennia of humans picking out the cutest pups can change a species dramatically. Via ksta.de.

In design, neoteny refers to characters drawn with purposefully exaggerated, youthful features. Logos that make use of exaggeratedly cute “baby” characters are great choices for baby products, toys, products for little kids, and products aimed at parents-to-be and parents of babies and little kids. These characters are non-threatening and friendly. They’re the perfect ambassadors for connecting with new audiences, especially when you’re connecting across language barriers. Cute is cute, no matter what language you speak.

Three variations of Mickey Mouse
Over time, Mickey Mouse got cuter. This art evolution happened alongside his personality development, as he went from a mischievous character in early cartoon shorts to a family-friendly, wholesome figure. Via Tribe Tech magazine.
Pastel-colored elephant directing a needle and thread through buttons
Soft colors and lines are perfect for cute baby logos. Logo for Little Ones by SanDzine.
Big-eyed owl on a branch with the text “LittleOwly”
Baby animal logos are great for baby products. Logo design contest entry by merci dsgn.
Logo design by Cross the Lime
Round blue logo of a baby reaching for a star
Don’t be afraid to really distort your proportions in a cute logo, like how this one takes a baby’s features and pushes them to a more extreme place. Logo and brand identity for Luniska by Angela Cuellar.
A moose and a cow holding hands with the text “Moosey & Moo”
Even with certain adult characteristics like antlers and horns, these animals have oversized heads and eyes, two juvenile features that translate to “cute.” Logo for Moosey & Moo by Art and Pixels.
A smiling clapboard and film projector with the text “clapboard kids”
Turning items into children with simple details can make them quite cute. Logo for Clapboard Kids by Loveshugah.
Little boy in boots pulling two wagons with the text “Little Troopers kids shoes”
Showing the boy wearing an adult’s shoes just makes him cuter by emphasizing how small he is. Logo for Little Troopers by Loveshugah.

Kawaii logo design

Cuteness as a concept, known as kawaii, is prominent in Japanese culture. It has its roots in the 1970s, when high school girls using mechanical pencils popularized a childlike handwriting style known as marui ji, or round writing, also known as koneko ji, or kitten writing. Now, kawaii is everywhere, even at dinner theaters.

Hello Kitty is kawaii. Many pokemon are kawaii. But what sets kawaii apart from Western interpretations of cuteness? Kawaii is simple. Although it’s deliberately childlike, kawaii aesthetics have found their way onto a wide, wide range of products and carved a special niche among adult women. Lots of different things can be kawaii, but everything that’s kawaii shares a few key characteristics:

  • Rounded edges
  • Minimal details
  • When kawaii means anthropomorphization—and it often does—it means big eyes

When you go kawaii, you go specific. You’re not just targeting an audience that’s drawn to cute things, you’re targeting an audience that’s drawn to things that are cute in a distinctly Japanese-inspired way. This can be an important distinction for you if you’re in the video games or comics field.

Cute peach with the text “peachie”
Kawaii eyes are big like western cute eyes, but often, they don’t have irises. Logo design contest entry by K Arts.
Multiple images of a fox figure with the text “chatto chatto”
Kawaii is an obvious choice for a Manga publisher. Logo design contest entry by raven09.
Figure reaching for a star with the text “level up tattoo studio”
There’s a lot of crossover between video game and anime fans, which means a wide net of kawaii fans. Logo design contest entry by maneka.
Anime image of a lion girl giving the peace sign with the text “liosa cosplay”
Cosplay is intricately linked with gaming and anime, making it the perfect choice for a kawaii logo. Logo and social media for Liosa Cosplay by Mori Summer.
Close-up of a girl in a gray hoodie with ears and the text “mochi mochi”
Your kawaii logo can go beyond imagery and include cute wordplay, like this take on the Japanese greeting “moshi moshi.” Logo design contest entry by coccus.
Monkey robot figure with the text “Iron Monkey training center”
any kawaii images take personifying animals further than western images do, creating cute human/animal hybrids like this one. Logo design contest entry by raven09.
Smiling piece of candy and box with the text “candy box Japan”
Another example of kawaii making its way into the text that accompanies a logo…check out the “o” in “box.” Logo design contest entry by Halin.

Fun-size logos

One of the easiest ways to make something cute it to make it small. Yes, there’s more to cuteness than size, and as we mentioned above, shrinking something to cuteify it generally involves changing its proportions, but don’t underestimate how important size is to cuteness.

When somebody says “I want a cute car,” what kind of car comes to mind? Probably a Smart Car, a Mini Cooper or a Volkswagen Beetle, not a full-size SUV or a pickup truck. Now think of a cute house. You’re probably envisioning some kind of cottage or cabin, not a sprawling mansion with multiple wings. The fact is, humans love little things because little things are cute. They’re unintimidating. Compare regular golf to mini golf—one of them’s typically reserved for serious business types and real sports enthusiasts and the other one’s for families and teenagers on dates looking to drive fun-colored balls through clowns’ mouths and under rotating windmills. Little things are fun and make us feel like kids again. They make us feel safe and in control.

If you’re looking to capture cuteness without getting too big-eyed or babyish, try simply scaling down the elements in your logo. Playing around with scale can take it from cookie-cutter to cute enough to capture the audience you want to capture (in a cute net!)

logo with kids and moon illustration
This combination of two little kids sitting on a tiny moon is just adorable. Logo design by Mainstream Account
ice cream truck logo
A giga
Open laptop with a smiling doctor on the screen
A little logo can emphasize accessibility because it’s just the right size for the user. Logo design contest entry by Bak.
Logo design by Cross the Lime
Simple image of a chick hatching from an egg with the text “hatch”
Another way to approach mini logos is to choose things that are already little, like ducklings and chicks. Logo design contest entry by UnLuckyMited.
Girl riding a grasshopper with the text “bug hungry. Eat bugs be happy”
Juxtaposing images the viewer knows vary widely in size, like this girl and this bug, can also communicate that one is much smaller than usual…and cute. Logo and business card design contest entry by maneka.
A logo for little aspiring scientists by

Calling all the cuties

kitten logo
Cute kitten in a box. Logo design by John Baiatul.

There are a lot of things a cute logo can do for your brand. It can carve you a permanent spot in your core demographic’s heart or it can be a signal to new audiences outside your core demographic who might not otherwise notice your brand or know that there’s a place for them in your consumer base. How a cute logo works for you depends largely on the product it’s representing.

And sometimes, that means a cute logo won’t work. Maybe your business is about banking or law. Cute and the law can mix in an abstract, ironic cartoon way, but using a cute logo for your inheritance law firm might just make people uncomfortable. No matter how big the eyes you draw on your lawyer mascot are, there’s a chance it ends up looking forced.

Cute also doesn’t work when it crosses the line into cutesy. Cute makes an automatic connection, cutesy tries to force a connection by being overly sentimental. Think a nauseatingly, sickeningly sweet feeling like you just finished a cotton candy the size of your head, then translate that feeling to an image. That’s cutesy. Basically, if the cute is forced, it’s not cute. It’s cutesy.

When you’re not sure how a cute logo will work for you, sketch out some of your brand’s core values. If your aim is to make viewers comfortable with your product without taking it too seriously, cute is for you.

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