So you need to make a logo. Maybe it’s for yourself or maybe it’s for someone else. Either way, it can be a daunting task. In today’s post, I’m going to break down my typical logo design process. Hopefully, you can take something away from it to help you with your next logo design project.
What is a logo?
Before we get into the process, I think it’s good to stop for a moment and to think about what a logo is. At face value, logos are a combination of text, shapes, symbols and colours that help an audience recognise a brand. However, well-designed logos can be so much more. A great logo can convey a brand’s message in a way that creates an emotional connection with the target audience.
My logo design process
Step 1 – Evaluate the brand
In order to create a logo that perfectly encapsulates a brand, you need to know the brand. If it’s your own brand, you probably already know how you want to portray it. If not, this is the step where you need to give it some thought.
Often when creating logos for other people, it’s harder to get a bird’s-eye view of the brand they are trying to build. That’s why I set up a logo design questionnaire that I give to clients. The questionnaire covers all of the bases, from basic stuff like the name and slogan all the way to other logos the client might like or dislike. You can find my questionnaire here if you want to use it or if you want inspiration for your own. I kept mine short (only 12 questions) but there are hundreds of questions you can ask to make your job as a designer easier.
Step 2 – Research the competition
Once you’ve evaluated the brand, the next step would be to take a look at the brand’s direct competition. What do their logos look like? Are there any trends you can identify?
It’s to be noted that we don’t do this just to copy the competition. Maybe there is some inspiration to be drawn from what others have done, but it’s also your job to make the logo stand out. If you notice that a certain colour is prominent among competitors, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of it. The same goes for any kind of icons or imagery. Despite everything, your client might insist on wanting to follow the trend. I’ve always maintained that if my clients want to lead their industry, blindly following others isn’t a good first step. Learn what you can from them, but be bold in your own unique approach.
Step 3 – Sketch, sketch, sketch!
By this point in the process, you should have all the pieces of the puzzle necessary to start creating your first rough versions. You can do this digitally or on paper, as long as you can create a bunch of ideas and iterate fairly quickly. Refer to the questionnaire and competitor logos to guide your ideas. There isn’t really a limit on how many of these you should make, as long as you still have creative juices flowing, get those shapes down. It’s okay if they’re really rough, we’ll refine in the next step.
Step 4 – Create higher fidelity drafts
Once you have a sufficient amount of concepts, you can start producing some higher fidelity drafts. At this point, you’ll likely want to work in a vector-based drawing program, like Adobe Illustrator. Take your best concepts from the previous step and refine them until you’re happy. I normally try to aim for anywhere between 4 and 8 high fidelity drafts to present to the client. It’s also a good idea to keep them fairly varied. This way your client would have an easier time picking one or two favourites.
Step 5 – Get feedback and iterate!
You can start including the client at any point during the process, but I normally wait until this step. Present your drafts to the client and request feedback. If all goes well, the client will gravitate towards two, maybe three options and make a couple of small changes. Implement the changes and continue improving upon the logos you’ve made. How many revisions you allow at this point is entirely up to you. However, to avoid too much back and forth, I suggest you clearly specify a maximum amount of revisions on your initial quote to the client.
Step 6 – Prep files for the client
Once the client has chosen a logo, you have to supply them with the files they’ll need. I generally supply my clients with both vector and raster versions of the logo. This includes editable .EPS files (so future designers can work on them), some transparent .png and non-transparent .jpg versions of the full logo and icon if there is one.
That’s it! I hope the logo design process makes sense and that you’ve managed to take some pointers away from it. Hopefully, after you’ve designed the logo you’ll have a happy client with a great logo for their brand. You might also consider doing some more work for the client designing packaging, stationery, etc. and put that shiny new logo to good use. Happy designing!