The strategies behind designing a successful and memorable logo involves a process which progresses through various stages of listening, research, development, feedback and changes. Below I share my logo process I go through when designing a logo:
Phase 1: Client Discovery
Getting the right amount of details and having a clear understanding of a client’s problems and goals from the beginning is the most important factor when starting a new logo design. Asking questions such as,
How does your company differ from its competitors?
What keywords should best describe your new logo?
What type of logos typically appeals to you?
Will help you and your clients become more on the same page and set up for a successful deliverable. Personally, each of my clients receives an interactive Logo Handout that asks questions about their company and project.
Phase 2: Industry Discovery
After receiving the Logo Handout and initiating phone conversation to get additional details the handout did not provide, I begin researching their company and competitors to get a better feel for their market – this helps in the overall look and message the final logo conveys.
Once you get to know the client, you’ll need to find out more about:
who is the logo for (the audience)
who you’re up against (the competition)
Knowing the audience will give you some clues as to where you need to take the logo, style wise. For example, if you’re working for a teenage market, you’ll probably need something mainstream, loud and catchy. But if your teenagers are wunderkinds who dig computer programming, you may need to think harder.
Phase 3: Motivation
Every so often I’ll flip through some logo design books or online logo galleries to get the creative juices flowing. When not designing I focus as much as possible on bettering my own skills and becoming a more aware designer, this way I stay inspired and helps when approaching new work.
Phase 4: Sketching
Did you know that some design schools ask the students to come up with exactly 100 ideas before they decide on the right one? The reason is simple — the only way to separate the good from the bad is to have a lot of things to pick from.
My designs, whether it’s logos or websites, always start off on paper. This allows me to get my brain moving in the right direction and get down as many ideas as possible. Because of this simple truth, professional identity designers usually sketch dozens of logo ideas during the brainstorming phase, and then pick only a handful to present to the client.
Jumping directly onto the computer can slow the creative process – it takes more time to execute ideas and one can tend to pay more attention to minuet details early on. Mind mapping also helps in exploring and growing your topic. You can easily expand upon ideas and keywords. Consider it the sketching of keywords.
Phase 5: Implementation
After I’ve seen some sketches starting to come alive and take form, I then take my ideas to the computer. My software of choice is typically Adobe Illustrator for creating logos. Lines and shapes in Illustrator use vectors that are easily scalable and retain consistent clarity.
I also in the early stages of the process I do not add color until I have decided on a couple of ideas that I feel are successful or the client would like to see more of. This allows me to focus more on the mark itself — a good logo should work well in both black and white color.
Working closely with my clients is not only essential to my business objectives, but without a doubt helps in the process of creating a logo that represents them and their company.
I do my best to touch base with my clients frequently and get their feedback through various stages of the logo design process. This also helps in building their trust, as the gain a better understanding of what their money is being invested into.
Phase 6: More implementation
The more implementation of logos is the longest one because it involves a lot of back and forth regarding the improvements and changes for the presented logo drafts.
Sometimes the client will pick just one idea for refinement — sometimes he’ll run two or three in parallel just to see where they go.
After some client feedback I tend to head back to the computer and make changes or provide additional samples. This gives me the chance to take in more ideas from the client and understand their vision more clearly after the initial feedback.
Phase 7: Color Combination
After I’m at least 80% satisfied with the logos I have so designed I play around with color combination and font variation.
I typically provide my clients with at least 3 different logo samples, each having color variations and typefaces that work well with the mark and company’s message.
Phase 8: Identity development
After the client comes to an agreement of the best overall solution for their logo, I will go in and make any additional minor changes I feel are necessary, if need be.
At this stage I’ll also mock-up what their new logo will look like on their existing website or stationery. This helps your clients see how the logo works as a collective, not just a stand alone object.
As you can imagine, a great logo is not the end but the beginning of a great brand identity.
Business stationery, signage, vehicle branding and many other communication tools have to be designed so they all send a unified brand message. Identity development makes that happen.
During this stage, all important logo applications are designed and standardized in a brand guidelines book, known simply as “brand book.”
Phase 9: Delivering the files
After all phases the Identity of client is delivered.