17 Aug Creative Process of a Logo Design
Creative Process of a Logo Design
There are multiple techniques and methods used in designing a logo. Sometimes, designers have a brief with strict guidelines to follow, other times they have to do their own research into the company before putting forward an initial concept. There are some widely known, simple stages which form the creative process of creating a logo. To demonstrate each step visually, a logo recently designed for our client ‘Oratto’ (an online platform which connects consumers with a lawyer suitable for their needs) will be used as the example along the way.
The Company & Target Audience
Finding out as much information possible about the company; how the brand started and why, where it is now and where it’s going, are crucial for ideas towards a visual representation of the business. Plus, what values does the business uphold and how does it want to be viewed by consumers? If the company has a website, the designer should read through it thoroughly. Even if direct contact has been made and the business discussed, an in-depth knowledge of how the business presents itself to its target audience can result in a logo with more meaning and depth.
“A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it means is more important than what it looks like.” – Paul Rand
If it’s a redesign of a logo, the designer must dig a little deeper into the reason behind the change to find out why the client thinks the old logo no longer represents the brand and what values they want associated with the re-design.
Once the designer knows where the idea for the logo is coming from and who it will it be going to, there are a number of questions to ask regarding the target audience:
- What age group is being targeted?
- Is there a bias towards males or females?
- Is the target audience located in a specific geographical area?
- What do they need?
- What are they interested in?
- What products do they buy?
Thinking about context for the consumer is very important, knowing the target audience helps to keep the design relevant and related to the end user.
Before a design team starts trying to build a visual image words need to come first. Generating a mind map of words and phrases helps pick out the strongest themes to sketch ideas around. Putting the logo/company name in the centre of a page may not be inspiring enough to you get started, especially if it’s a word/name with no meaning attached to it, so try starting from a particular value or explanation of the business. For instance, are there any words in the slogan that stand out?
Don’t hold back on this part, the more words generated– the more ideas will be available to use in the sketching phase.
The best way to start a logo is to write the required word/s. Get a feel for the shape of the letters together and how they work next to each other (or how they don’t!) Going back over the mind-map to highlight key words which appear relevant and interesting is a good way to begin the sketching process.
At this stage the designer is free to express themselves on paper with no boundaries and no limitations of a mouse or tablet. This is where they will get the sense whether the logo needs a particular shape or image or if they feel it works better typographically.
It’s always a good idea to give a project some room to breath and, in terms of a logo, this is the perfect place in the process. So, just before the point of working up sketched ideas onto a computer, it’s good to allow at least a whole day for ideas to settle. If it feels like no ideas have come through in the sketching stage – stepping away from the logo gives the designer’s mind a chance to make sense of all the information they’ve absorbed so they can return to the project with more clarity and calm.
To the Mac
After steps 3 & 4 there should be some roughly sketched ideas ready to be taken to the computer to start working up. Always remember, when digitalising ideas, stick to black and white. Don’t introduce any colour at this stage as it can cause more hindrance then help when attempting to assist the client in seeing the idea behind the logo. The reason for this is that almost everyone has pre-conceived, very personal associations of what different colours mean, so staying in black and white will initially help to establish a strong design.
Typography is a very important factor during this stage and when the most suitable arrangement has been found, testing out every variation of font is important to see how the relationship of the letters work together and whether any further testing of tracking (space between the letters) or kerning (individual space between each character) is needed to make the logo clearer.
Presentation of Ideas
Now, it’s time to show the ideas that have been worked up in Adobe Illustrator. It may be appropriate to show the research, brainstorm and sketching processes to the client – to take them on a journey of how the choices were made. Or designers may decide to just dive straight in and present the vectorised ideas. There’s no rule on how many logo ideas should be included in the PDF – three is a nice amount – but, if there a multiple examples, only include them if it is believed they are strong enough.
Don’t forget! Presenting the logo at a small scale is good so the client will be able to see the legibility of the logo at any size.
Feedback & Critique
This is where the client will pick out their most favored design and possibly give their comments and opinion on aspects of the logo. They will hopefully ask for alterations and improvements at this stage. If the design team must critique the logo without the client’s input, members should remember to ask questions and look at the design from the perspective of the target audience. For example, if designing a logo for a children’s nursery school, ask whether the typography is both engaging to the children, but still authoritative for the parent?
Refinement & Variation
It’s time to make the changes that the client has requested. There are two approaches; 1) make the changes the client has asked for, show them, and then move onto colour variations. Or, 2) refine the logo, but offer other routes that the logo could be taken down, as it can sometimes be useful to show the client slight variations of the logo and how the design team sees it working.
The symbol incorporated into the Oratto logo was chosen as it derives from a handshake, which is a mark of a professional relationship. This abstracted symbol of reaching out to one another represents the slogan ‘Connecting you to the right lawyer’ subtlety, without being too literal. It evolved from several different symbols tried out during the sketching phase then discussed and refined with the client.
By now the logo is decided and colour can be used to bring it to life. It can be easy to overwhelm the client with 101 different colour options or let personal preferences get in the way of the context of the logo, but deciding what colours are to be used is extremely relevant in helping to keep the message clear and strong.
The colour variations for Oratto used only blue tones, to convey a feeling of trustworthiness and honesty.
Presenting the final logo for sign off is the last step of the creative design process. If the logo is for a product then it may be a good idea to show the client the logo in context. For example, if the logo is for a sports clothing brand, showing the logo as it will appear on t-shirts and hats, for example, will be an added bonus in the process of final approval.
And that is it. Ten steps to an effective, business winning, brand-oriented logo. Good luck!