When I am designing a logo I follow my standard process of creating a brand identity. Professional logo design is more than just the logo itself, it is about brand development. A logo is a visual centerpiece of a company blog or a symbolic entity that takes time to develop into a brand. Essentially, it is just part of a brand.
Before starting any design work I take the time to learn and understand a business story, objectives and target audience to create a concise set of goals. My creative process has a few steps:
- Design Brief: I have created a questionnaire for my clients so that I can understand and learn more about them/their company or entity.
- Research and Inspiration: I conduct research on which industry they are in, their competitors, and their goals.
- Sketching, brainstorming and conceptualizing: Every logo that I design is a custom design that started from scratch with a pen and paper.
- Digital Production: After I select 2-3 different sketches, I recreate them in Illustrator and refine them, improve them. Concepts are compiled into a presentation for my client.
- Revisions and feedback: After reviewing the concepts and consulting with the client, revise and optimize the logo until a final design is approved.
Here is an example of my basic logo design questionnaire:
- What is your company or entity name?
- Does your company/entity have a tagline or slogan that should be included with the logo?
- What services or products does your company provide?
- Who is your main competitor(s)?
- Who is the primary target audience? (who is most likely to use your services/product?)
- Do you have any ideas or styles that you want to include?
- What color palettes might you prefer? If any.
- Do you prefer typography (text based) logos or an icon or symbol basis, or both?
- Anything else I should know about you or your company/entity?
It’s ok if people don’t know what they want! I love having creative freedom if a client is not sure which direction they want to go.
I first focus on the client’s industry and review other logos in their line of work. I always prefer to understand the history of my client’s company/entity and what their vision is. I also have to understand exactly what services or product that they provide and who their primary target audience is. One of the most important considerations is to evaluate my client’s main competitors; I feel it allows me to put a focused effort in making their logo stand out. What is their competitive advantage? Why are they different than other people in the same industry? Why will a customer want to choose them? This is all necessary to achieve my primary goal: providing tangible benefits to my clients through my graphic design services.
Sketching, brainstorming and conceptualizing:
Why sketch? Simple: I find there is more agility and freedom when using pencil and paper. When I focus on just those 2 tools, I am focused on what I am doing and I can shut out distractions such as the extra effects or other tools that can often be the “last touch” in creating a logo. I love Adobe Illustrator, but it is a powerful program that helps refine and enhance a digital logo that allows me an opportunity to explore and expand, but for creating the initial composition, basic ideas, and shapes of design concepts? They are best completed through my sketches.
The sketching and research steps actually go hand in hand. Naturally, sketches include some basic elements of the company, their goals, or target market, so I am still researching and brainstorming how my logo design can represent the company.
This process always creates a lot of different concepts on paper, and then chose a few that will be digitalized.
Back to the software I love: once I can discard the pencil, I select just the best logo concepts to digitize and enhance in Adobe Illustrator. This is a vector program that allows all designs to be scalable and therefore they can be utilized across different platforms and media. As a vector it isn’t resolution based, therefore a logo design has to be made by vector software so it can be scaled to any size without losing quality.
With Illustrator, it seamlessly allows me to continue exploring, tweaking, and selecting different types of icons, fonts, layouts, until I find the right designs to pass along as a first draft.
Revisions and feedback:
The most effective concepts are presented to a client for their consideration. Often these are presented with and without color, sometimes on a sign, building, or other mockups, and I always provide a written description of the designs to explain how I have met my client’s goals to assist them in making a decision. Once feedback is received, we will work through a number of revisions, if necessary, until a final logo is approved. Of course, the creative process is not limited to this structure, there is always the possibility of a new idea sparking at any time, to enhance, modify or even create a new concept even near the end!