Previously I wrote an article about my design process which was a general guide of how I approach design projects from start to finish. In today's post, I'll focus on a design process when working on a new logo design project.
Typically the logo design process takes about a month.
Why does it take so long? Is it just a symbol? Well, let's break this to pieces. The logo design starts with the initial conversation and lasts until the delivery. Sometimes there might be a week if not weeks of emails going back and forth between the designer and the client deciding on what is right. Then is the research phase which takes some time, sketching ideas and a bunch of other small elements so let's just get right into it.
Everything starts with a conversation. This can be an email, inquiry through social media, or a call. I'll usually follow up with a response to get to know a bit more about the person or the business. A couple of things to mention right away before scheduling a meeting: the budget, the timeline, why do you need a logo? and why me? If after this initial conversation both of the parties are still interested I'll usually try to schedule a meeting if possible or a phone / Skype call.
2. Client discovery
At this point, I'm not interested in making yet. It's all about you and your business. This conversation is to help us to get to know each other and learn about the business. Below are some of the questions I'll ask on a first discovery designer-client meeting:
What is your business all about?
Who is your target audience?
How a new logo could help you achieve your goals?
Have you worked with a designer before?
And touch on some basics in terms of visuals and style:
What is your favorite logo and why?
In your opinion, what defines a successful logo?
Are there any restrictions to consider when designing the new logo?
I'll go through my design process, the terms of the contract and answer any other questions you - the client might have.
3. Kick-off the project
Before I start working on the project I usually require 50% of the agreed fee paid upfront. Occasionally if the project expands to full brand identity I might agree on a monthly plan. I found this strategy to work well. It keeps the client safe that I'm starting to work on the project right away and will deliver on time. Full terms and conditions are outlined in a contract. Once the contract is signed and the money has been transferred I can start creating a logo design.
We talked briefly about styles and visuals before. A moodboard helps to refine the mood for the logo design and make sure that everything aligns with the client's expectations.
Things I consider when I create a moodboard:
- Brand voice: various images and keywords
- Colour palette
An important thing to remember both for the designer and the client: It's a guide to, not copy and paste instructions.
Here it's where it gets really interesting. There is no right or wrong answer to how long this part of the process might take. Sometimes a good idea happens in the first hour of sketching sometimes after a day or few weeks. What is important is to keep going until it happens. I do like to take some breaks from sketching to refresh my mind and come to the drawing table with a new and fresh idea or have someone look at my sketches and gave me feedback on what they see. I'll always have a few of the best current ideas on my wall and those will guide me. I found it helpful to not sketch in micro size - it's hard to get it right. I'll almost always use a dotted notepad, pencil, and black sharpie.
6. Design execution
Creating a digital version from a sketchbook is not that hard. It's the idea of what matters the most. My process usually looks like this: I scan the best three sketches and using a pen tool in Adobe Illustrator I'll recreate the artwork. What is worth to mention is that not always the best sketch turns out to be the best digital artwork. This stage is a real test if a logo sketch can look as good if not better when is transformed into a vector shape. Pairing the symbol with a typeface is also part of the process. Often clients want to see their logo next to the company's name, and those elements have to work well and compliment each other. Finding the right typeface is crucial.
Here it comes - presentation time. I found that the best way to present a logo design is to show it in a real-world setting. What does it mean? I'll show how this logo could look on a cap, a mug, a lanyard, on a paper and so on depends on the nature of the business. Showing it without a context might often lead to dissatisfaction later for example when it turns out that the logo is not readable on a pencil and this is one of the promotional material the company is using most often. When I present my logo design to a client I'll try to be present at the meeting if possible or schedule a phone / skype call. I present three concepts of a logo design used in a variety of different real-world settings, colours, with the name of the company and without.
Sometimes the client might want to change something in the design. Of course, it's not a place to start the project from the beginning. This usually refers to small changes such as a change in the typeface or a slight change in the colors or adding/removing some of the elements of the design etc. My contract includes up to three free revisions.
When we have the winner - the best logo design is time to pass all the files on to the client.
Export files: editable version: vector graphic saved as .ai in colour, greyscale, black and white and inverted and raster images: jpeg, png, SVG all saved in colour, greyscale, black and white and inverted. I'll also always include a PDF with the final presentation of the logo which was chosen.
Every designer might have a different design process. An important aspect of my design process which I didn't highlight enough is to work closely with the client and make the client part of the whole design process from start to finish. Being in touch with the decision-makers on every stage of the process and making sure that it alights to the brief.
And that's about it! This is my logo design process step by step guide. I hope you found it useful. In the next blog post I'll be covering a different design process for identity design so please check back for more.