Whether you’re a logo designer or a client in need of a logo designer, you should be aware of the processes that help make a logo successful. People unaware of the design process think a logo is something designers can create in a few hours when really, a few hours is enough time to research the client and/or industry. For a logo to be great, phases like research, brainstorming, and sketching all happen before a designer ever opens a design program. These phases are necessary for the logo to be unique, memorable and meet the clients needs. If every designer created a logo from his/her first thought or idea, most logos for any industry would look the same (and this already happens enough).

I’d like to share some of our processes in making a logo great – to the designer and the client:

1. Research & Development Phase


Get to know the client – meet with them to discuss their needs, find out who their competitors are, find out who their audience is, find out what makes them different from their competitors, and summarize these answers up into a ‘design brief’. A design brief will help the designers, project managers, art directors and clients start out on the same page which helps save time (clients money) and achieve a better logo.

If you’re the client

Let loose! This is your chance to tell the design studio exactly what you’re looking for. The more information you give them, the better. Do your own research ahead of time – everything the design studio is asking from you will be a good refresher of your goals, audience, and how to stand out among your competition. Personal preference only goes so far – of course, you should like the logo as you’re paying for it, but above all, think about your audiences tastes.

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2. Design & Layout Phase


Take everything you’ve researched, word listed, brainstormed, and sketched and start creating digital comps of ideas you feel worked more successfully. Think quantity vs quality (quality comes later) – try to produce as many different ideas as you can. This will allow you to review your entire workspace to rearrange typography, rotate out different icons you’ve created, and work on new ideas that may spring up in hopes to create a handful of logo comps the client may review. We typically wait on color comps as color sometimes influences clients to pick their favorite color over a more successful idea.

If you’re the client

Sit back and relax… but not for long. You can be critical, but also have an open mind about the logo comps you’re about to review. Let the design studio give any explanations of what you’re about to look at – they may have taken a different angle on the design since they’re on the outside of your company, looking in. This may be completely different than anything you imagined you’d see, or it may be exactly what you were hoping for. Either way, take your time to review each logo comp and choose the best one that fits your company, goals, and audience.

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3. Modification & Color Phase


Time to make some client revisions, or maybe you nailed the design on the first shot! After final revision(s), it’s time for color. Think about printing processes, stationery materials, promotional items, website, emails, etc. Choose color options that fit the clients needs and give the logo you’ve created some extra zest. No matter how many colors end up in the final logo, it should work well in one or two colors (ie. black and white ads, promotional items, etc).

If you’re the client

Personal taste on color aside, try to think of your company and audience. If your favorite color is lime green, and you own a law firm, you may want to consider other color options. Carefully review the color comps you’ve been given and decide which options best suit your company.

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4. Finalization & Celebration Phase


Now that color has been decided, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the logo. Make sure the logo is knocked out where needed (so there are no obtrusive white shapes that could potentially obstruct other elements), final PMS, CMYK and RGB colors have been determined, and any icons or custom lettering are polished. Then, make sure your client has all the proper formats of the logo to use when printing (.ai, .eps, .pdf) and for web/internal document use (.jpg, .gif, .png). If applicable, a logo spec guide should be created for the client and/or vendors to reference before printing any job. This will ensure consistency in the clients brand.

And, pat yourself on the back. You’ve (hopefully) produced a great logo for a client that fits his/her audience!

If you’re the client

Do a final review of the the logo you’ve been given, make sure you understand the logo spec guide so you can hold your vendors accountable, and review the file types you’ve been given (so you can use/distribute as needed). Having a consistent brand and understanding the product you’ve been given will help keep your audience familiar your brand, company, goals, and future endeavors – and you deserve it!

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Hopefully, this has helped you gain a better understanding of the processes involved in designing a logo. As a designer, what are some processes you have the most trouble with? Or, what steps would you add? If you’re a client, what would make the processes more streamlined?

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Links

Logo design process via Just Creative Design (Jacob Cass)

Logo design process via Web Designer Wall (David Pache)

Logo design process via David Airey

Logo design process via The Design Cubicle (Brian Hoff)

Logo design process via Idea Book (Chuck Green)