HOW TO: Logo Design & Process
Step-by-Step Guide to My Logo Design Process
Many customers ask before we start a project what my process is, or what I need to begin a project. Many designers have their own way of preparing and executing a logo design, whether it's completely starting from scratch or basing the design on what the client specifically wants or needs. Below are the steps I take to organize, draft, and complete a customer order - and maybe these can be used as tips to help you on your own design journey! Visuals used are from a recent logo design project completed for Elemathary.
1. INDIVIDUAL CLIENT BRIEF
Interviewing the Client and Establishing a Goal
Before beginning any legwork on a logo design, I always interview my client. This way I can get a feel for them as an individual, what kind of business they are operating, and what goals they have for the project and what they want the logo to communicate.
Important questions to ask are things like "What logos appeal to you and why?", "Where will you logo be used?", and"What feeling or message do you want your logo to convey to those who view it?".
This helps me establish a direction to head in and where to go first in my research. It can also help me provide the client with a proper quote for the project based on a more complete idea of what will be involved and if there will be any additional graphics needed to coordinate with the logo.
(Pssst...Need an idea of how how to set up your own client brief? Scroll down to the bottom of the post to download your free starter Logo Checklist!)
2. RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH!
Planning the Design and Checking out the Competition
At this stage, I take time to plan and do research. The internet is a powerful tool!
Research includes checking out the competition, what other companies are doing in the same field or with similar graphic elements or colors, or how to establish an appropriate aesthetic for the design based on the client brief. I check out sites like Creative Market, Behance, or Dribbble to see what the current trends are, or to find inspiration. I might put together samples of color palettes or font types to show the client later on, or even samples of patterns or symbols or photos to save as reference.
Some designers even go so far as to create a Mood Board for their project - and so do I! I can combine image references my client has sent me along with separate images or links I've saved to use as inspiration during the project. It's especially helpful if there will be several elements to put together and I want to make sure to keep track of all my ideas later on.
3. CONCEPT SKETCHES
Developing the Logo Concepts to Present to the Client
Using my research as a reference, I can now begin sketching out the logo design concepts to present to the client. I either use my sketchbook and draw things out freehand, use thumbnail pages I've printed out, or as you can see below use graph paper to help with proportions.
Sketches don't have to be perfect! Sometimes there's a lot of stress involved in making sure the sketches look so refined that they are already complete. Don't worry about that now. Many of my sketches start out super rough with lots of wiggle room for editing based on client feedback. The client needs to see what I am communicating with the logo and how it will be developed digitally - that's what is most important! At this point a client may also change their mind about a specific idea or request they had and I want to be able to make adjustments before moving forward digitally.
This image is of the chosen concept. As you can see, the original use a star as a graphical idea or placeholder, but was later removed.
4. DIGITAL DRAFT & PRESENTATION
Translating the Concept to Digital and Combining the Brand Elements
Now that the concept has been chosen, I move on to developing it digitally. Sometimes I will make small adjustments to the design, like adding detail or changing shapes. Sketches sometimes require tweaks when they are transferred digitally. For the design you can see I added a line for the inner ear and added spacing between the ear and the head and back. Small changes, but they add a bit more character to the design and help me incorporate the brand colors evenly.
Part of the PDF presentation will be colors, fonts, the graphic element (if applicable to the project) and different samples of how the elements can be combined together. Before presenting to the client, I'll sometimes even put together some mockups like these below to show how the logo will look in action.
5. DESIGN REVISIONS
Getting Final Feedback From the Client and Making Any Needed Changes
After the client has received the initial presentation, I use their feedback to make any needed adjustments. Sometimes they are very specific, sometimes they are very vague - whatever it is, I use it to move forward and tweak the design and redeliver the draft until client satisfaction is met. Since many of my clients are creatives as well, I understand the need for visuals when communicating!
6. FINAL PROOF!
Polishing the Logo Design and Getting Final Feedback From the Client
Now I can deliver the final proof for review before putting together the project files into a zip for delivery to the client. This also allows for any last minute changes, like a request for additional graphics or web or print designs to add to the project. (A customer may be really happy with the project and want to add-on a flier or business card to coordinate!)
7. PROJECT DELIVERY & CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Sending the Final Files Digitally and Offering Any Additional Support
Last step! I assemble the final files and deliver them digitally (by e-mail or by Dropbox). This usually includes a variety of file types so the client can more easily use them in the future for web or print, like AI and EPS, PDF, transparent PNG for layering or watermarking, and web safe JPG.
When I work with a client on a project it includes customer assistance with uploading any files online, like on Etsy or social media, or ordering for print. I always welcome follow-up questions!
Every logo order also comes with a snazzy little single page Branding Board like above so they have it available for reference, which includes the logo image, any alternatives, the type, the colors, and either inspirational images or patterns used. This can help the client stay on point in their business branding!
I hope this guide answers any questions you have, or helps you in your own design journey. Feel free to comment below if you would like to know anything else, or share your own strategies for logo design or your process.
Freebie time! Need your own Logo Design Checklist? You can have mine to get started! Includes great sample questions to send your customers or use yourself to plan out designing your own logo. Available as a PDF and editable Word Doc.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE LOGO DESIGN CHECKLIST