Logo design process
- Design Brief
Get to know the client’s business.
Conduct research focused on the industry, its history, and competitors.
Conceptualize ideas and make decisions on the possible design directions.
Develop the logo design concepts around the brief and research.
- Design Execution
Select promising logo design concepts and execute them digitally.
Present logo designs concepts in context of applications relevant to the client.
- Revisions / Approval
Make changes if necessary. Together with the client arrive on the best solution.
Deliver the final logo artwork and identity guidelines.
In this article, I will guide you through my proven, step-by-step logo design process on a real-case scenario.
Logo design process is a combination of investigation, strategic thinking and design excellence.
Whether you’re a designer or you’re looking for one, this article will give you some valuable insights into the logo making process.
What are the logo design steps a professional designer takes? How the logo design process looks like?
Before you jump into the process itself you might want to find out what makes a professional logo first, so that you can distinguish between good and bad logo design and what it actually takes to design one.
Keep in mind, that this is not a logo design tutorial but rather a walkthrough of my logo creation process.
However, you can get inspired by this insights to the process, even though you decided to create your logo yourself or hire someone else.
In this article I will unfold my logo design process with client, as I have people asking me how to do it step by step.
My goal is to give you some understanding on how to start sketching and exploring your logo ideas.
The process of designing a logo can vary drastically from designer to designer.
Check my logo design process example, but before that, let me tell you about who the client is first.
Getting the logo design client
After moving to New York I had to search for new clients, so I came up with an idea to leverage Upwork.
So I searched for “New York” in the “logo & identity design” category on Upwork, and soon after sending the link to my portofolio, I got on the phone with Akshay Ramanathan.
During the phone call we scheduled an intro meeting at my office in Brooklyn, New York.
99designs vs Ebaqdesign
I hear time and time again, when clients call in search for a custom logo I often ask them about whether they use other logo design services before and what was the experience.
My client asked me for a new logo after having bad experience with 99designs.
Learn more about professional vs. amateur logo design.
1. Design Brief
Nearly all designers agree that the initial accumulation of information from the client is the most important step while in the logo design process.
Before meeting Akshay, my client, he sent my an email with some documents describing his business.
I was lucky and it save me a lot of time in the discovery phase – I just had to read through it all before we meet.
Otherwise, you would want to ask some of the branding questions, prior to starting developing a logo.
In general, the three basic questions are:
- What distinguishes your company from peers in your field?
- What are you business and marketing goals?
- Where are you going in the future?
Remember, the more you know about your client, the smarter solutions you can come up with. You can additional questions e.g.
If you’re really serious about your business you should consider running a simple brand strategy workshop before doing any design work.
What does the company name stand for? – Sukoon in hindi means peace.
Understand the organization, its mission, vision and target audience before embarking on logo design
My distilled information about Akshay’s business:
Sukoon, is a luxury boutique travel agency whose mission is to deliver creatively curated itineraries for those seeking unique experiences while visiting New York City.
During creating the brief, together with the client, I also decide on the scope of work.
In the brief, decide on specific deliverables, and what exaclty needs to be done:
- Establish and refine brand strategy.
- Design new logo & identity.
- Create basic stationary.
- Develop graphics for social media.
- Deliver logo artwork, digital and print-ready files.
- Deliver identity guidelines document.
After crafting the list of desired deliverables, I usually ask my clients to allow some time to prepare a proposal.
After the proposal was accepted – now it’s time for start with the research.
You must further research the industry, it’s history, and the competitors before embarking on any logo design project.
Research is a critical stage, that can't be overlooked in the process of logo design.
Researching the industry helps designers get a sense of the environment the logo’s going to live in.
You have to understand the client’s field in order to ensure that the solutions will be linked to his business goals.
You need to know what can work and what’s appropriate and foremost how to differentiate the company from its competitors.
Understanding may be achieved by experiencing the organization from a customer’s perspective.
The goal is to understand how the organization fits into the larger competitive environment.
Therefore, I gain insight from navigating the competitors’ websites.
I want to see how easy it really is to understand the product offerings or using the products.
Anyone can access research on the web, but the research itself does not provide answers.
Interpreting data is a skill in itself – I consider all the data but I go with my gut’s feelings as well as my experience.
Logo design research
In addition I also conduct a visual research.
This is a part of the research not into the client’s business, but into the actual design style.
This is where I seek out a look or a style, an approach or attitude.
In other words, I want to refresh myself with what is new or successful. For these reasons, I would find logos of similar business’ and critique them constructively.
First, I look more for techniques and to ask myself why a certain logo looks good, or why this particular logo works.
Second, why I like or dislike that one?
This is where I look for inspiration for my next phase.
In this phase, based on the brief and research done, I brainstorm and generate ideas.
First, I start by organizing the information found so far into conceivable pieces.
Create a mind map and look for key words that can serve as a base for developing logo design concepts.
Having these words, will help me to create a logo that reflects them.
So next, I find visual representations of these words and create a mood board.
This help me to stay focused and make further decisions on possible design directions.
Remember to always stay focused on clients objectives.
Making a formally successful logo is important, but making something that communicates as a base for all the client’s endeavors is critical.
As a designer, you must address the challenges and parameters clients bring to you in search for a visual identity system.
It’s not about you, not about impressing other designers, but it’s about how it works.
So I define the problem and consider the problem as a challenge to overcome.
One of the first questions I ask myself is whether the client and their design problem will require a symbol or simply a memorable typographic treatment of the name.
In other words, whether the client needs an icon or a graphic image that appears with the name or just a word-mark or logotype as a main part of the visual identity.
The name, Sukoon, is short and can be memorable.
There are different types of logos, but in this case the decision was made, that the new logo needs to appear with the full name “Sukoon Travel Group” whenever possible.
The full name is to long to create just a word mark, so decision was made to find a distinctive mark that could be used as a visual identifier, a favicon, a visual shorthand.
Sketching logos is where creativity comes into play.
Since I’ve done my homework, now I can my logo design sketches against the brief and research.
While sketching logos, the goal is to find a connection between an idea and the creation of a form.
Some designers use a sketchbook and the others start right away with the computer.
However, most famous logo designers would agree that sketching logos by hand works best.
Also check logo sketches of some of the top brands.
I prefer using traditional methods: pencils on paper.
In this phase, I allow myself for intuitive exploration of conceptual design solutions.
This is where the thoughts and feelings take form.
This is where the science – which is everything I learned so far and the strategy that grows from it – meets the art.
I believe that in the early conceptual phase, the computer’s preprogrammed functions often just get in the way.
This is a matter of personal choice but I believe that sketching by hand gives the designer an immediacy of artistic expression.
Ultimately it’s all about the idea, right?
Sketching logos might be time-consuming.
Taking breaks is as important as the research and the brief, your ideas need mature and develop in the back of your head.
When you go back to your project, you have renewed enthusiasm, insight and opportunity.
You’ve probably heard about the fact that usually, the best ideas comes in the least expected moments.
While your conscious mind is consumed by other tasks (e.g. driving a car) – your unconsciousness comes up with some extraordinary ideas
After sketching tons of ideas you need to judge them against the brief and research and select the most promising ones.
Logo development process can take a long time before you arrive on a great concept.
In this logo design step, I select the best ideas and then translate them into digital artwork.
Remember to only execute the logo concepts that can work effectively for the client.
Use Adobe Illustrator to design vector graphics.
Then tweak the designs and develop many variations of the concepts.
As a result, the logo concepts improve and become stronger very quickly.
Then, I judge the concepts by the following criteria:
Is it appropriate?
I say appropriate, but not necessary expressive. Sometimes you have an opportunity to create a logo that conveys literal ideas about the entity represented (e.g. Probasket).
But more often than not, a logo concept cannot express a great deal in detail.
A successful logo as a vessel that can hold the associations relevant to the company, rather than actually illustrating them.
This is because of the next criterion: a logo concept has to be simple.
Is it simple?
By simple, I mean that a logo design has to be focused on the concept.
It has a single “story” – and, in most cases, must be uncomplicated in form.
A logo must be simple in order to work effectively and flexibly in a wide range of sizes and media.
So that it looks good in small size, as a tiny favicon, and bigger in print.
But the simplicity of the logo is only valuable as long as the third criterion is met.
Is it memorable?
A logo concept must be memorable.
By memorable, I mean that while the form must be simple, it must also be distinctive – unusual enough to be remembered.
Of course, the simpler the form is, the less special it tends to become. And so it’s often a marriage between simple and distinctive.
How memorable can the design be while remaining simple?
How distinctive can I make the mark while keeping it focused?
Sukoon logo execution[/caption]Adherence to this criteria can produce logo design concepts that have potential to endure.Logos that are relevant to the client and can be used flexibly and consistently, so they don’t need to be changed in the foreseeable future.
Finally, you present logo design concepts in context of applications relevant to the client.
Where would the logo appear in real-life?
Remember to choose a group of real applications to test the viability of logo design concepts.
In the logo design process, I might go back and forth multiple times until I reach satisfactory results.
This is because I need to see how a particular logo design concept works on applications.
Check the logo design presentation on 3 applications:
- Buisness Cards
- Stationery Design
- and Promotional Item
Remember, presenting logo concepts on a blank piece of paper is never the case.
I scheduled a meeting with the client, presented the concepts and we discussed them together.
7. Revisions / Approval
In conversation with the client, who knows their own field best, we review the advantages of every solution and arrive together at a preferred logo design.
Clients sometimes say things like: “I don’t like blue” or “dots are boring”, but it’s only after a mark is officially adopted, that the audience will embrace it and with time come to associate it with their feelings about the company or institution it represents.
Your client should be very impressed with the accuracy of the presentation if you followed the steps.
Like a good red wine, a new logo needs to mature.
So evaluating it in concept form requires the judgment of an expert.
The approach practiced in these cases can produce logos that achieve an enduring level of public awareness – indeed, that can become iconic.
After the final decision was made, it’s time to work on the deliverables.
The presentation included mockups, but now It’s time to polish the designs and put it together to create a brand identity package.
Remember to always underpromise and overdeliver.
I’ve done so by developing a motion version of the final logo concept.
See the full presentation of the Sukoon logo on my portfolio.
Once the logo design process is done, remember to trademark your logo.
I hope this helped you understand how logo design process may look like.
Is your logo making process different?
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