When I am hired to do a logo design for a client, I usually follow a specific logo design process. This logo design process allows me to efficiently and expertly develop an effective plan for your branding needs.
Creating a logo, for me, is not about creating something beautiful alone. I hope to create logos that communicate what your company is all about to your target audience and attracts the right clients to your business.
This process starts with talking to the client, asking questions, and finding out more about what they are looking for. I ask questions like:
- What do you want this logo to do for you?
- Tell me about your company and organization.
- How do you plan to use this logo (the web, print, sign outside of the shop)?
Once I’ve asked some questions, I do a little research on my own into the field/niche that the client is in. I look into what kinds of logos have worked well in this industry; I try to understand the target market a bit and get a feel for the project I’m being asked to do. A logo is primarily to communicate with a company’s customers (and the public) about that company in the simplest way possible.
Sometimes I also do some mood boarding. My mood board is usually not for anyone’s eyes but my own, to inspire me and give me ideas.
For example, when I had a client ask me to give her new color logos for her goat’s milk soap labels, and to make them look like her goats, I gathered up as many pictures of goats as I could, and I sketched them over and over until I felt comfortable with the shape and anatomy of a goat. A logo is to be a much more simplified illustration than the detailed photographs they gave me.
I needed to so familiarize myself with the content that I can break it down into simple yet accurate shapes.
Creating Logo Concepts
From there, I sketch out some basic ideas and concepts. This usually is nothing detailed at first. I am just trying to get an idea of shapes and how to lay them out together. Because of social media and profile pictures, I prefer it if a logo fits neatly into a square-shaped area without looking strange or distorted. Getting the ideas and concepts to look great and communicate well within a square or circular parameter can be tricky.
I also try to figure out ways to make different variations of a logo, from more complex to simpler, for use across different formats. For example, with my logo for Thoughts and Designs, I have a simpler version that I use as a watermark on most of my media online, and I have an even simpler version that the favicon on my website. I also have a simple version of the logo I use as a rubber stamp, and I even have a brass wax stamper that I use with a simple version of my logo.
It’s only after I have a few good ideas that I work digitally and develop my logos into vector artwork, using Adobe Illustrator. When I create a logo (or any other design) as Vector artwork, this means they can enlarge it without loss of clarity, because we create Vector Artwork using mathematical formulas (polygons and vectors connected through anchor points), instead of pixels.
When I create a logo using a vector program like Adobe Illustrator, a well-designed logo will look great on a business card and on a billboard. A set of logos I made for a group of Animal Hospitals reflects this. In fact, recently we had to take our daughter’s cat to the emergency hospital. I had never been there, but they were the only ones open that time of night. It was easy to spot since I designed the logo on the sign outside. It was surreal to see my logo on everyone’s shirts, on the cards, on brochures, etc. Proud designer moment. I resisted the urge to Instagram it, since we were there for an emergency (the cat is doing well. Allergic reaction).
Working in Adobe Illustrator, I first create the logo in Black and White, and I make sure it works well in black and white before adding color to it.
Taking a Break
I like to take some time away from my work so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.
One reason for this is the fact that sometimes, when we are developing logos, we have stared at the screen so long we don’t see how the shapes we’ve created not only show what we intend to show, but they also show some shapes we did not intend, including shapes that may be inappropriate. It happens. Yikes.
More often than that, though, I notice shapes that don’t quite line up the way I want them too. Perhaps they create lines that seem a little off visually. Whatever these minor issues, some time away from the project usually helps bring them to light.
It’s kinda like how I only see typos months after I’ve written something. 🙂
The Big Reveal at the End of the Logo Design Process
In college, they called this “presentation” but I like to borrow a phrase these days from HGTV…the big reveal.
It also reminds me not to say, “Well, what do you think?” Instead, I explain my choices.
When creating a logo, it’s more than just “creating a cute picture”. It’s about making specific decisions about how to best represent your brand across different media, and in a way that can also grow with your brand.
Sometimes small edits come up, and as needed, I take care of that too.