Every logo designer has a different approach, but most would definitely agree that there are certain steps in logo design process that all professionals share.
In this article, I will show you my step-by-step logo design process.
The 7 steps that I go through when designing a new logo.
And I will do so on a real case study—A logo and identity i designed for one of my recent clients.
Starting with discovery, then conducting research, running a brainstorm, then sketching logos, designing those logo concepts, presenting them to the client and preparing final deliverables which I give to the client.
I’m sharing with you my process, so that hopefully you can improve your way of designing logos—if you’re a designer.
Or you can just get an overview of how professionals do it, if you’re a business owner looking for a custom logo.
And here I also use the mind map (9th exercise of my strategy framework) to start searching for visual representation of the most important keywords distilled from previous steps.
As a result I put together three different mood boards that are basically a collection of visuals that capture the strategic insights.
I simply look at the strategy to distill some keywords and then I browse websites like Behance, Dribble or Pinterest to find some visuals that would make for a great art direction.
I search for the font, color, style etc. and consider all aspects of visual langue that would embody our brand strategy.
For Medihuanna I created three mood boards: Credible, Innovative (above), and Natural and then I review them together with my client.
Next, we discuss those possible solutions and we make some decision on what direction should we proceed with.
By narrowing our focus with mood boards we try to stay objective, so that we can base our sketches in the next phase on solid strategic understanding.
4. Sketch—Create logo concepts based on strategy.
Sketching logos is where real creativity comes into play, but since I’ve done my homework I’m able to judge my sketches against clearly defined criteria.
The goal of sketching is to find a connection between an idea and the creation of a form.
Some designers use a sketchbook while others start right away on the computer, but most professional logo designers sketch logos by hand, using pen on paper.
This is because sketching by hand gives you an immediacy of artistic expression and I believe that very logo designer should absolutely start this way.
It’s also important to decide whether we need a symbol or simply a memorable typographic treatment of the brand name (wordmark).
In case of my client, the name, Medihuanna, is pretty self-explanatory (Medical + Marijuanna), so we’ve decided to go on with a distinctive wordmark.
We also decided that we need a symbol that can act as a visual shorthand, so that It can be used in small sizes where the full name would become illegible.
Now, sketching logos might be time-consuming, so it’s important to take breaks and let your ideas mature and develop in the back of your head.
So that when you get back to your project after a break, then you can have a fresh look, renewed enthusiasm, and therefore you can be much more effective.
You’ve probably also heard about the fact that the best ideas usually come about in the least expected moments.
While your conscious mind is consumed by other tasks (like driving a car, or exercising), then your unconsciousness comes up with some really great ideas.
That’s why I always recommend designers to carry something that you can sketch on.
This step usually takes a few days as you really need to go for quantity here and sketch a ton of logos.
And this is because we need to have many great ideas, so that in the next step we can pick a few strong ones and execute them digitally on computer.
5. Design—Select best options and execute them digitally.
So once you have a ton of sketches, then you can judge them against the strategy and select the most promising concepts to execute them digitally.
Now, design part is all about translating your sketches into digital form and then further testing viability of each concept.
So don’t rush here to execute every single logo idea that you have, but rather focus only on concepts that you think can work effectively for your client.
By now, you should have a lot of criteria for what could and what could not work for your client.
If you feel like all of your sketches are weak, then you can go back and forth between sketching and designing until you got some pretty exciting logo concepts.
Once you have a few strong logo ideas, then you just need to use Adobe Illustrator to design vector graphics.
Here I simply recreate those sketches on computer and then design multiple variations of each idea in order to arrive on the best option.
The design part can take a very long time (a few days to a few weeks) before you actually execute your ideas in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.
I tweak the designs and test different colors, fonts, spacing, alignment and so on—always making a new copy so that I can always go back to the previous version of my logo.
This step is simply about testing many different ways in which you can execute your logo sketches in order to arrive on the best aesthetics.
Now if you do this the right way (and don’t rush this step) your logo concepts will improve and become stronger very quickly.
6. Present—Show the concepts on relevant applications.
Once I’m done with designing my logo concepts (and I’m pretty happy with the outcome), then I just need to show them to my client in the form of a presentation.
Show the client your three strongest brand identity concepts on relevant applications.
Remember to share with your client only those solutions that can work for them effectively—don’t make a mistake of showing something that you’re not really proud of.
Each of these three logo concepts is the result of the disciplined but creatively open process I describe here.
While each of those concepts are different, they all revolve around the strategy.
I selected a few applications relevant to the client: a business card, a book cover and a bag in order to show my client how these logo will look like in real life.
How do I know what kind of mockups should I create?—In the exercise six of my strategy framework I list all the key marketing initiatives my client would be interested in, so that now I can use these findings to pick 3 to 5 mockups.
And again, as with other steps in my logo design process, you might need to go back and forth between designing your logo and testing it on applications until you arrive on a great solution.
You simply need to test the viability of each logo concept by creating beautiful mockups to see how it will work in real life.