How I design a logo
There’s this idea that designers have a constant stream of ideas waiting to be channeled into something amazing and all they need to do is switch on their computer.
But with any kind of design work there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that the client rarely gets to see. This is particularly true in the case of a logo design project.
I wanted to write a short post about the way I tackle designing a logo and hopefully this will give anyone who’s interested a good insight into the process.
There are some key stages that are essential to the success of a logo design project and the first one begins, like most creative pursuits, with a good cup of tea.
The question stage
To start a logo design project I ask a series of detailed questions about the client, their business and the industry they’re operating in. Over the years I’ve refined these questions to make sure I’m getting the right information.
I encourage the client to answer every one of these questions and provide as much detail as they can. The results of this document are valuable and they give me a crucial starting point for the whole project. Without them the design process would become a bit of a stab in the dark and the project wouldn’t be a success.
The research stage
Once I’ve got answers to these questions I start on the research stage. I look carefully at the client’s competitors and how they brand themselves. I’ll then compile that into a short document which I’ll add my comments to and share with the client.
I use a Pinterest board to capture competitor’s logos and elements of their branding.
I usually focus on the client’s local competition but I often spread the net a bit wider and look at larger businesses in the same industry across the whole of the UK.
This research along with the information provided at the questions stage starts to give me an insight into how I can differentiate the client’s business.
The ideas stage
At the ideas stage I start to do some simple word association and mind mapping to give me a starting point and from there I’m able to start generating ideas.
When I’ve got some ideas that I’m happy with I’ll start to sketch them out with an art pen and a sketchbook. I’m a born doodler so this approach works really well for me and it feels far more natural than jumping straight onto a computer with all it’s distractions.
With pen and paper you can experiment quickly and carry on making as many rough sketches and marks as you like.
I like to create logos that are easy to remember. If I can draw a logo without thinking too much about what I’m drawing then I’m happy that it’s on its way to being simple and memorable enough.
When I’ve got two sketched ideas that I’m happy with I’ll go to the computer and start to create them as finished artwork.
I don’t create multiple logo concepts for a client. I’d much rather put all my time and effort into creating two really strong ideas than five that are just ok.
The presentation stage
When it comes to presenting the logos I create an example branding document which talks about the goals of the project, how I arrived at the final designs and the decisions I took along the way.
The document shows the client their logo in a real world context. They get to see the logo on a number of real-world items such as business cards, letterheads and clothing.
The final stage
Once any amendments are done the logo is sent to the client in various formats, with a guide on how it should be used. Once the final invoice has been paid the logo becomes their intellectual property.