Updated: Jan 1, 2022
The logo design process can be hard to define outright: every graphic designer has their own approach to logo development. For some, it’s methodical and disciplined—60 minutes of concept development followed by 90 minutes of execution, all while listening to their favorite album to boost creativity. For others, it’s like watching reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. until they find inspiration from the commercial breaks.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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. 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.
Also Read: 10 Must Have Plugins To Use In Photoshop
So whether you’re a designer, or you’re looking to hire one, this article will give you a valuable insight into the logo making process and make your logo stand in the designing trends of 2022.
Now, before we talk about each and every step that led my to that final design, it’s important to briefly remind ourselves what makes a great logo in the first place.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD LOGO?
Every designer will give you a slightly different definition of what makes a great logo, but basically you can boil it down to these fundamental logo design principle:
SIMPLICITY: A simple design is easy to work with, but a sophisticated one may be harder to understand. Your target audience may not identify a complex logo design.
SCALABALITY: Your logo should still be effective if it is printed the size of a postage stamp, or as large as a billboard.
MEMORABLE AND IMPACTFUL: Your logo is useless if your target market can’t remember it. That’s why a simple, original design is most effective.
VERSATILITY: When building a logo design, go for something that looks equally good on all internet devices. Responsive web design means your logo suit all devices and there is no need for the viewer to enlarge or minimize it for their screen.
DISTINCTIVENESS: A distinct logo is a great asset in branding as it makes it easier to build brand awareness, increase visibility among other things.
Now let's discuss the process of logo making.
1. EVALUATE THE BRAND
Your first step in the logo design process is to understand what the brand embodies and what the business’s goals are. This is known as the Client Discovery phase. There’s no one-size-fits-all for logo design—a logo is only as good as its representation of a business, so it won’t be effective unless you first know what kind of impression the brand is aiming for.
And this is because logo design is not art, so we shouldn’t just start coming up with logo ideas out of thin air relying purely on our sense of aesthetics. A logo is the centerpiece of all brand communication—it’s literally everywhere—so it should stand the test of time. We naturally don’t want to redesign that logo in the foreseeable future, so we want to give ourselves the best possible chance at designing a logo that will endure.
When participating in a project here’s how you should start:
Read the creative brief properly.
Understand the client’s business, industry and products/services.
Ask the client questions if you want to know more his/her services or about the kind of logos that appeal to him/her.
2. RESEARCH PROCESS AND LEARNING ABOUT COMPETITORS
So the next step in the logo design process is to research what kind of logos competitors and industry leaders have. This is referred to as the Industry Discovery phase, and it can mean the difference between a logo that is generic and one that is too far out of left field. Researching the industry helps you as a designer get a sense of the environment the logo’s going to live in. The goal of this phase is to better understand the client’s field in order to ensure that the solutions that you will later come up with can work for them effectively.
Conduct detailed research regarding the client’s company and industry:
Study design elements: the various colors, fonts and design themes used for the client’s particular industry.
Research about the client’s competitors to get the feel of the market. Don’t let research be the missing link in your logo design process because it may crumble your whole project.
Learn what kind of colors, images or design themes the client wants you to use and what he/she is expecting from the logo design.
Research and ask questions to show the client that you are interested in the project and you take it seriously.
3. DEVELOP IDEAS AND START SKETCHING
Here is where I seek out a look or a style that could convey my client’s brand. I use the brand personality and tone of voice exercises to help me brainstorm ideas and create mood boards.
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.
Just like the brand strategy, the physical or digital space the logo will occupy should also inform your design choices. Research where the logo will be used—this is known as the Application Discovery phase. Although you may not yet have a complete list, the earlier you can predict how your logo will be used, the better for logo development. Where you need your logo might determine the color model, the shape or even design software used.
This is an important step that many designers overlook:
Start off by designing your ideas and thoughts on paper. This helps to execute ideas properly. It also allows you to boost the creative process while you the pay attention to minor details.
Check out other industry related logo designs for inspiration, but do not copy. Do not use copied logos, clip art, stock photos or derivative concepts.
Sketching allows you to form an idea and come up with original logo design concepts.
4. CREATE A VARIETY OF LOGO CONCEPTS
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.
Sketching is cheap, easy and fast, but most importantly, it’s an effective brainstorming tool. Sketch out a bunch of different logo ideas to see how they look outside your head. For one thing, the act of sketching alone can get the creative juices flowing. But more to the point, sketching a wide variety of concepts lets you see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll start to notice certain threads or themes you like, and you can mix and match different elements until you settle on the perfect one.
Once you’ve settled on your preferred concept, try sketching some variations on it, adding or removing elements, changing minor details, and beginning typography explorations.
5. DIGITALIZE THE DESIGN
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. 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. 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. By now, you should have a messy smorgasbord of logo sketches as well as a better sense of what you want the final logo to look like. Of those sketches, take around 3 of your best ones and recreate them in your design software. This is where your final logo really starts taking shape.
Once you have a few strong logo ideas, then you just need to use Adobe Illustrator to design vector graphics. Now you can make all those crucial design decisions you couldn’t in the sketch phase. In your digital draft, you can experiment with logo colors as well as typography. Once you have a solid draft, go the extra mile to create a presentation to showcase your logo. This involves presenting the flat logo along with any variations, an overlay with brand imagery, and mockups of the logo out in the real world. The goal is to communicate your vision of the brand with a persuasive, knockout logo presentation.
Once you are done with sketching and forming your ideas, you are now ready to take those ideas to the computer:
Start creating the logo design using graphics software. Adobe Illustrator is the most popular choice among logo designers.
Experiment with various ideas, shapes, angles and colors.
Create multiple variations of the logo design keeping in mind the central theme and purpose.
6. RECIEVE FEEDBACK
Here’s something you don’t need to be a designer to appreciate: everyone’s a critic! No matter how perfect you think your logo design is, chances are someone, somewhere, is going to request changes.
That’s not always a bad thing. When you work on the same image for hours or days (or weeks, or months), you tend to mistake the forest for the trees. A fresh set of eyes on the final product can reveal some room for improvement you hadn’t noticed before.
Sometimes clients can be skeptical about your logo design concepts, but this is simply because all new logos tend to feel foreign at first.
You need to remind your client that only after a logo is officially adopted, we can really embrace it and attach a meaning to it. Getting feedback on your design is the easy part. The real challenge lies in interpreting and acting on client feedback. Ask follow-up questions and use your best judgment to decide what feedback is most valuable. Your logo’s job is to represent a brand, and the question you should ask yourself is whether the feedback is helping the logo do that better.
Once the client sends in feedback, take notice and understand:
Try to look at things from the client’s perspective and take note of the feedback given.
Touch base with the client, provide necessary changes and submit 1 or 2 additional samples (in different colors or font variations) after the initial feedback.
Learn from the feedback given to other logo designers by the client. This will give you a better understanding of what the client wants to see in his logo design.
Keep submitting changes and edits till the client is fully satisfied.
7. SUBMIT FINAL FILES
With your logo finalized, it’s time to deliver your final files! You should determine what design files your client needs at the start of the process. But in general, it is best to include:
Layered source vector files, such as AI
Layered EPS/PDF files
High resolution raster files for web, including PNGs with transparent backgrounds
You should also save logo files for different use both in print and digital (vector & raster) e.g. AI, ESP, PNG, JPG etc.
Remember to inform the client about any commercial fonts being used in the logo or brand identity, just in case they want to design other applications in the future. In your style guide you also should specify on other brand identity elements like: color palette, typography system, photography style, perhaps illustrations, animations and other elements.
When you have done all the work focus on these things:
Finalize the logo design files and submit them in proper format.
In case of any confusion you can read details about logo design file formats.
Once the final files have been submitted the project holder will send in the money.
This is all information that is great to include in a brand style guide. Not only does this ensure that your logo will be used correctly long after you are gone, it makes a great parting gift for the client and increases their confidence in the brand vision you’ve crafted for them.
You could say that great design takes talent, but you can never know for sure what that means or whether you have it. What you can say for sure is that great logos do not happen by accident. They are the result of critical thinking, interrogating, collaborating, exploring, failing and starting again. Great logos do not happen by accident—they are the result of strategic thinking, exploring, failing and designing again. Each aspect of your logo, whether it is shape, font or colors—can help you influence people’s perception of your brand.
Some logo designers might grunt over this entire process, claiming it to be time consuming. But if you want to develop a serious career out of designing, its time you haul yourself into a well organized logo design process. Is there anything you would like to add to the process? Do give us your feedback. We’d love to hear from you!