My approach to logo design comes in several well thought out steps. This process involves strategic planning and implementation to create a logo that is perfect for your business, that will remain timeless, and will serve you well for many years to come.
Creating an effective and professional logo does not mean you simply grab some commercially available clip art and slap it together with some free fonts, like a cheap logo designer, or someone from Craigslist or Fivver would do. A professionally designed logo, that follows the proper processes, can take anywhere from 27 to 55 hours to design, develop, digitize, and prepare multiple versions of the files for final delivery to the client.
— THE LOGO PROCESS EXPLAINED: STEP-BY-STEP —
Design Brief > Research > Brainstorming > Sketching > Design Execution > Revisions & Approval > Delivery
The first step in the design process is to gather information. Many things must be considered when designing a logo that is customized for your company and for your industry. This tends to be the most important phase because it involves me getting to know your company and you, learning what your goals are for your company and its branding, understanding the purpose of your business, and who your target audience is.
I believe that making sure we are on the same page is the key to keeping you happy with my work and avoiding unnecessary delays due to miscommunication. This saves you time and money in the long run.
If you aren’t willing to work through the discovery process with me, then you might as well find someone on Craigslist or Fivver who will do a cheap (i.e. not necessarily effective) logo for you.
Listen, I’m going
The design brief phase of the logo design usually takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
In order to design and effective logo, it is necessary to research the industry you service and your competitors to get an idea of the environment your logo is going to live in.
I have to get to know your field in order to be sure I am coming up with a solution that works in your space. I also need to determine how to differentiate you from your competitors and what the expectations of your target audience are.
As I am researching in this phase I am also getting inspiration for the next phase of the logo design project.
The research phase of a logo design usually takes anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.
The brainstorming phase of the project is where I start to generate ideas. I organize all of the information I have collected into concepts. I work through problems and figure out how to overcome challenges. This may include things such as whether the client will be best served with a symbol, a typographic treatment or a combination of both for their logo design.
I then find visual representations of these ideas and create mood boards to focus in on those ideas to carry me to the next phase of the project. There are several ways a logo can be presented:
- A Wordmark/Logotype. This is a freestanding company name, product name, or acronym that conveys a brand attribute or positioning. Examples would be the logos for Google or eBay.
- A Pictorial Mark. This is a recognizable image that has been simplified and stylized that people immediately associate with a brand or company — think Nike (swoosh) or Apple (apple).
- An Emblem. This is a mark where the company name is connected to a pictorial element, such as Starbucks or Harley Davidson.
- A Letterform. This is a design that is using one or multiple letterforms to act as a mnemonic symbol for a company, such as the “golden arches” of the McDonald’s logo.
- An Abstract Mark. This is a symbol that conveys an idea, but may be more ambiguous at first
glance, such as the logo image for Chase bank.
The brainstorming phase of a logo design usually takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.
This is the phase where I can start to be creative. I begin taking the information I have gathered and the concepts I have come up with in the previous phases and sketching out possible logo iterations. Some designers use a sketchbook and others start right in with the computer. Which way I choose to begin often depends on where my brainstorming leads me.
I like to explore a variety of ideas during this phase, not all of which will make it to the design execution phase of the project. However, this phase is essential in the process because it is the phase where the creative juices start flowing on the logo design. And some of the best ideas generally come when you least expect it during this phase.
The sketching phase of a logo design usually takes anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.
After I have sketched ideas for the logo I then reassess them against the brief and research that was done earlier. I choose the best ideas and begin to turn them into digital artwork.
This phase is done in Adobe Illustrator so that the client gets a vector graphic, which is essential for logo design. If a designer is doing their logo in Photoshop, which is a raster-based program, you are going to run into problems with the logo in the future, as it won’t be scalable without loss of quality.
I usually create several variations of the concepts I have chosen and try to improve upon them with each iteration. I always try to keep in my the five elements of good logo design while working in this phase. These concepts are usually done in black and white first because all good logos must work as well in a single color as they do in full color. I keep in mind the psychology of color as I begin to colorize the designs for the final presentation.
The design execution phase of a logo design usually takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.
Once I have created the final digitized logo designs I am ready to present them to the client. I will narrow it down to the number of agreed-upon concepts and then present them in real-world situations so the client can get an idea of how it might work in various mediums.
It’s important to remember that a logo is generally not going to be used in just one type of situations so it’s essential to get an understanding of how it will perform in different situations. This usually means presenting the logo on various mediums such as online, shirts, hats, banners, coffee mugs, as well as in print.
The presentation phase of a logo design usually takes anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.
Revisions & Approval
After presenting the design concepts to the client we will then discuss what works for them and what doesn’t. Sometimes they like certain fonts or colors on one design, but prefer the actual concept of another. This is where we decide what revisions will need to be completed to get the logo to the final finished product.
I find it’s best to offer my input, along with the client, to determine what should or shouldn’t be executed and why. The goal is to make your logo an icon that will serve your company for a long time, so we want to get it right in this phase.
Depending on the logo process that was approved at the beginning, the client usually goes through one or two rounds of revisions at this point, as needed.
The revisions and approval phase of a logo design usually takes anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.
After the final design for the logo has been agreed upon, I begin to prepare deliverables for the logo and its variations. Logos are generally supplied to the client as digital files in several color variations and formats.
So, for instance, you are likely to receive a full-color version of the logo in the following formats: EPS, AI, PDF, JPG, and PNG, a black and white version of the logo in the same formats, and a grayscale version of the logo, also in the same formats. One logo design can come to you in the form of 15 or more different final files.
If you have opted to purchase a Style Guide for the logo at the start of the project, that will also be created at this time. It will highlight the various typestyles and colors that were used in the final logo.
The delivery phase of a logo design usually takes anywhere from 3 to 6 hours.