A logo is an important part of every business and service. Without one, you have no identity and simply lack the credibility needed to generate brand recognition.
And growth only comes with brand recognizition. Because of the weight it holds, designing a logo has many factors to it. How do I approach a logo design project? Well, here is my 7 step process to designing a strong logo.
Give it some thought/Put some thought into it. The purpose of a logo (and furthermore, a brand) is to not only give your brand an identity, but also attract your target audience. For the attraction to happen, your logo should be appealing to them (your target audience). Take the time to do a bit of research and testing to find out your target markets likes, dislikes, interests etc. Picking styles that appeal to your customers is what you should gravitate toward- don’t just go with your favourite colours and or fonts.
2. Mood Board
A mood board is exactly what it is called – a board that determines the mood of your brand. Here’s where you compile a bunch of images in the colour palette you’ve chosen. Incorporate patterns, fonts and items that reflect who your brand is and what you would want associated with it. Put them together and see if there is a harmony in the finished product. Looking at it, does it reflect the feelings you want associated with your brand? Here’s an example of a mood board I did for a client. My client wanted words like, feminine, cute, clean and fresh associated with her brand.
3. Be Original
Now that colours and aesthetic has been determined, it’s time to start exploring ideas and concepts. You may gain inspiration from brands that you admire and follow. I absolutely love brands like Kate Spade and Drybar. I sign up for their newsletters as I like getting that random pop of inspiration in my day when I am not really looking for it. Otherwise it is “Out of sight, out of mind” for me. If you really like someone else’s logo, don’t copy it. That is stealing (Unless ofcourse it’s a logo you purchased online-the ones that are sold multiple times). Instead, redesign it in your own style as much as possible. Give it character and make it unique. You are unique and should stand out.
While you are “standing out”, remember to KISS a.k.a. Keep it simple, sweetheart (heart icon). I always hold to “less is more”. A logo should be simple – not a Picasso or Van Gogh. Please don’t add photos in your logo. Keep it simple. Remember you need it to be scalable, from 6ft big to as small as an inch. Whether on a billboard on Times Square or on a pencil, your logo needs to be clearly identifiable. Limit the number of fonts used in the logo design to three. The most effective logos are the simplest ones.
Important tip: Please be sure to keep all your raw vector files of the logo, so you can make it super big and still have a clear crisp image. What’s a vector? My next point, keep reading.
Once the moodboard and concepts are ready, I present it to the client. If you are designing a logo for yourself, this step can be omitted. The most difficult part of designing a new logo can be the approval process. Why? Because many designers don’t get a chance to have a voice to voice call to explain their approach for the concepts. This one conversation can save you several rounds of changes that most likely will bring you back to your first concept anyways. And because we all think differently, sometimes the clients completely miss the points and foundation of the design ideas. Also, when a team of people are involved in the approval process, this becomes even more challenging. Who will ultimately have the final say on the logo? Sometimes it’s the CEO, sometimes it’s a task force or the Board of Directors or the Communications team.
6. Create your logo in Illustrator
Always create your logo in Illustrator vector format. A vector is a scalable graphic that allows massive sizing without producing pixelated results. The edges will always be sharp. Having .jpg and .png versions of your logo are great, just make sure you don’t send that to print or publication. The results will pale in comparison to a vector lofo file. Once, you have decided on a concept. Make sure you create atleast two variations of your logo. I like to do a horizontal and vertical varaition. Black and white versions are also important.
Last but not least is the brandguide. A basic one page brandguide might all you need, or you might prefer a detailed booklet. Whatever the case, having a brandguide helps whith informing people that work for your brand on how the brand needs to be displayd. It is great for get colour codes and font names – incase you don’t know those things by heart. It also saves face in front of your printer or whoever you are working, by showing them you are organized and have your brand details handy.
Before the research process, I like to ask a few questions so my clients are in the right headspace and have had a chance to explore some thoughts. You can download my Logo Creative Brief here to have an idea of what those questions look like.
I hope this 7 step process to designing a strong logo is informative and helpful in your logo creation process. Is there a step you feel is important, but not in my list? I would love to know as I always look to bettering my process for all parties involved.