You never get a second chance to make a first impression
Everyone needs a logo they can be proud of, it’s a window to your business, and often the first impression of your company. For example, isn’t it so nice to have a positive response to your business cards other than your potential client just folding it into their back pocket? This is where professional logo design and branding come in to play.
Great logo design happens when you work with experienced designers. In this blog post, I hope to clarify the professional logo design process and what you can expect from your designer. I will also share some valuable insights into how we create a strong visual impact for your business.
What is a Logo?
Your logo is much more than a few colours, fancy fonts, and clever graphics. It forms part of your brand and will be displayed right across your business and promotional material. For this reason, you need it to represent your company values first and foremost thereby quickly and effectively communicating your company brand.
For example, is your brand formal and traditional? Maybe you are a contemporary cutting edge company or maybe your services are high end and exclusive. Defining exactly where you place yourself in the market will inform your logo design process. A new trending designer font won’t cut it if your company is more traditional and old school. Think of who it is you are targeting on your social media channels and your advertising campaigns.
You need to stand out from the crowd which means you need your logo designed to accurately represent your company. Your logo also needs to create an impact, to be unique and of course to be delightfully memorable. If you lose any of these elements, I believe you lose your audience!
“A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.”– Paul Rand
Good design adds value of some kind, gives meaning, and, not incidentally, can be sheer pleasure to behold; it respects the viewer’s sensibilities and rewards the entrepreneur.– Design Form and Chaos
What does a great logo design process look like?
Let me break it down for you into a step by step guide.
The first step of the logo design process is getting to know your business. When I first meet with you, I will have a lot of questions. These questions are designed to not only figure out your style preferences but also to get to the heart of what your company is about. This is what I call the client discovery phase. It is a very important step and will help inform my Creative Brief. This creative brief covers every aspect of the design process, from research to concept creation and on to producing your final artwork.
The Creative Brief
Some questions I will ask you include:
- What are the core values of your business?
- Who is your target customer?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What is the most important message that your business needs to communicate?
- Do you have a tag line, if not have you considered one?
- What other brands/logos appeal to you and why?
Every bit of insight you can give me about your company at this point will contribute to the success of your logo design. For this reason, I would advise you to spend some time completing this questionnaire, with as much information as possible.
It’s worth mentioning that sometimes the answer to these questions are not always obvious. Sometimes the questions themselves can help to re-define specific area’s of your business so it can be a valuable exercise for both parties.
After our initial consultation, I set about researching your industry, focussing on your company history and learning about your particular ’niche’. This will help me to uncover where you are currently at in terms of your current brand identity. I will then research your target market to get a sense of your business goals and identify with your company’s values. I also research your competitors, this helps me to differentiate your company and ascertain what makes you stand out from the crowd.
I then go on to explore design styles in and around your industry. This helps me to identify possible design directions. Further visual research includes colour and it’s meaning or symbolic reference, typography styles and creative fonts. With this information at hand, I then create mood boards as guidelines before brainstorming idea’s to create your unique logo style.
This is the exciting part! I start the process of creating a visual representation of your logo based on my research and your objectives. I provide two to three concepts at this point and through further rounds of revision, we work on the clarification and development of one of these concepts.
This is where the pen and paper come into play. I start with rough sketches determining the desired design features and requirements for your logo. Then the process becomes more elaborate. To get a better idea of how your logo concepts will translate, I move to a graph or a grid layout first. This helps me to establish the correct spacing, sizing, suitability of fonts, kerning etc. When I am sure I have some great concepts for you, I select the best ideas (2-3) and start the magic of creating your digital artwork.
Adobe illustrator is my friend here. All the final artwork is converted to vector format which gives me more freedom to experiment with colour and fonts and maybe tweak some finer details. It also allows me to create variations of the final concepts by adding or subtracting information as needed. This will enable you to easily reproduce your logo so that it looks appealing across all your promotional materials and media platforms. Who knows … maybe one day you will need your logo displayed on a billboard or wrapped around a building … or maybe even vinyl wrapped on your very own aeroplane!
It is now time to schedule a meeting where I can present the concepts to you. I usually produce a high quality design presentation using PDF files. This is done through a series of visual mock-ups of your proposed logo showing you how it would look in print and on your website or social media channels. This helps to give you a better feel and understanding of your logos visual impact. I can then discuss your preferred logo concept in detail, what it represents and how it works for you and any area that doesn’t work for you.
Some times revisions or little tweaks are required to get your logo exactly where you want it to be. Maybe you don’t like the colour or want to change out the tag line? I will make the changes as necessary and re-submit any final revisions or adjustments for you to approve. Bear in mind this part of the logo design process is limited to three revisions.
When we are both confident that we have arrived at the best solution, its time for you to sign off on the design.
Now I work on your deliverables. I go on to create your logo design in various file formats including alternative layouts for your social channels eg: landscape or portrait options and those all important transparent logo files.
This is the final part of the logo design process. You now have the complete freedom to use your new professionally designed logo across all your print and digital platforms.