My latest project at Urban Geko, a Los Angeles graphic design firm, is to create a top-secret logo for a new product developed by a construction man turned inventor. Pretty awesome, huh? With that project in mind I thought I’d share with you my personal logo design process. However, as I browsed the internet for other logo design process suggestions I realized that mine really shares a lot of similarities with others and is therefore, not as secret as I thought.
But I’m going to bless you with my design knowledge any way since this blog is a great way of filtering out the information overload you often get when browsing through the internet. And I might have a few tricks up my sleeve you haven’t read about yet.
1. Get As Much Information from Your Client As Possible
A logo is a very time intensive project so you want to use that time as efficiently as possible. This means get all the information from your client right away. Questions I often ask our clients include:
– Who is the target audience of this logo?
– What characteristics would you like to see reflected in the logo?
– Are there any existing brands that you particularly like?
– Any that you dislike?
– What color scheme are you looking for in the logo?
Now keep in mind that these are just a few of the myriad of questions asked of clients about what type of logo they want. This will help reduce the amount of revisions you will need to make throughout the duration of the process.
2. Define Your Scope of Work
Since designing the logo is such a long process it’s important that you let your client know exactly what they’re getting. As a California graphic design firm, we pride ourselves on integrity which means always doing what we say we are going to do.
3. Do Your Research
Unless you’re dealing with my client, chances are the logo you’re creating is marketing an already existing company or product. This means you need to benchmark your client’s competition. Find out what works and what doesn’t work. Are there certain color schemes that are more effective in certain industries? Is there a certain style of design that sells that product well? Once you’ve figured that out, however, it doesn’t mean go ahead and copy what you see. Sometimes the solution is to create something completely different from what’s already out there to differentiate yourself. Besides benchmarking, it’s important to be familiar with all different types of logos available. The more you know, the more from which you can draw.
4. Create a Mood Board
This is something I do for almost every project I do. Compile your research of images you find useful into a simple photoshop page and voila you have your mood board! Or you can make a real life one by tearing out pages of magazines and tacking them up on a cork board. Do whatever works for you. This way you’ll always have a visual style guide that you can refer back to that will help keep you on track with your client’s needs.
5. Create a Mind–Map
This all begins with writing down the logo name and drawing a circle around it. Create a bubble map that outlines all the information your client has given you. This way you can put your ideas not only into images, but words as well: another reference tool for your process.
6. Get Out A Blank Piece of Paper & Sketch
Even though you’ll ultimately be designing your logo on the computer, it’s always helpful to start with the basics of a pencil & paper. It does not restrict you in any way and is more forgiving than a computer mouse. Sketch every idea you think of then pick a few that you think can be translated into concepts.
7. Choose Your Typeface
The typeface you choose (or create) is just as important as any piece of illustration or imagery you include in the logo. Often times people just think the typeface is just letters and don’t understand the thought process that goes into choosing one that is specifically engineered for that particular brand. Typefaces can convey certain moods, be strong indicators for the company brand and affect the overall look and feel of the logo.
8. Begin Rendering Your Logo Online
This is the step where you take your sketches and translate them into more refined computer design. I usually like to scan my drawings in, make a rough trace of it and then begin refining it from there. I also like to use PMS color books when I choose my colors because it gives your client a color scheme designed uniquely for them.
9. Revise, Revise, Revise
It’s very rare that you’ll get the logo you want on your first concept. It’s important to keep developing new ones because it helps to continues your creative process and inspire you with ideas you may not have thought of previously. Also, you need to revise it according to your clients needs and if they’re picky you’ve got a lot of revising ahead of you!
10. Finalize Your Logo
Once you have developed a logo both you and your client are happy with then make sure you have saved it in pretty much every format you can think of: black & white, .jpg, .tiff, .bmp etc. I say developed a logo both of you are happy with because you never ever want to show your client a logo that you are not proud of- because chances are they’ll pick that one and you will end up with a product that you’re ashamed to put in your portfolio. Trust me, you never want to compromise the integrity of your design; that’s not why we are here.
Give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself. Maybe you’ll get to see your logo the next time you go to the store!