In addition to being large, successful companies, Nike, Pepsi, and Apple have something else in common: the average American consumer can recognize each company's logo without hesitation. A successful logo is simple and represents the company it represents. A strong logo takes time, money, and effort to create. Designing a small representation of an entire company can be a daunting task, but if the process is done right, a logo can be a very effective marketing vehicle. All creative professionals have different workflow systems, and there are many different paths to a successful endpoint; but the general sequence of the process is usually the same.
The first part of the logo design process includes a discussion with the client about the company's goals and visual aesthetic. Then comes the research and development phase. Next comes the production of drafts, and finally refines and develops the brand identity using the new logo design. Drawing the logo on the computer is only a small part of the process; Research and preparation usually take up most of the time. Despite the simplicity and small size of the final product, designing a logo can be a surprisingly complex process. In this article, I will break down the 7 steps in the process.
Most design projects begin with signing a contract to protect both parties legally. While it is not a flashy part of the business, it is a necessary evil to protect all involved. In addition to the legal advantage, agreements can also help map out the progress for a project and define any specifics like revision limits, payment deadlines, and products.
Step 1: Design Summary
The first step in the creative part of the logo design process is called the design brief. This is where the designer discusses the project with the client. Understanding the company's goals for the logo is important. The designer should collect as much information from the client as possible. It is important to find out where the logo will be used, at what scale and at what capacity. A logo that will be used on a billboard may contain more details than a logo that will be used on letterhead and business cards. The designer should also learn about the company's target audience. The logo should reflect and appeal to the right demographics. It is important for the designer to find out if the company has established a visual aesthetic. If there's an existing color scheme or style established, it's important to find out if the client wants to incorporate those traits into the new logo. In some cases, a new logo can be an opportunity to start fresh and create a whole new visual identity, while in other cases it is important for clients to maintain a consistent number.
Step 2: Research
Once a sufficient amount of general information has been collected, the designer must move further into the research phase. Often times, clients cannot express exactly what they envision about a logo, so it is the designer's duty to solicit pertinent information from the client. Asking relevant, strategic questions will help the client deliver any pertinent information. Successful logos can refer to any number of things; for example, some logos subtly refer to the geographical location of the company. Establishing potential themes will benefit the designer, providing more material to use when brainstorming and sketching later in the process. Subject can be literal at this point; The art is in converting them into non-literal representations later on.
In addition to talking directly to the client, designers often do some brief market research about the company and their competitors. Customers' opinions about their own company only tell half the story; Any good designer should look them up (online and offline) to get a glimpse of the company's target audience. Examining the identity systems of similar companies can help to better understand the effectiveness of different logo styles. Researching current trends in the industry can also be a wise thing.
Step 3: Brainstorm and form concepts
Again, it's important to note that all designers are different. But identifying keywords related to the company and its products or services is a common practice at this point in the creative process. These words will be used to inspire possible representations of the company. As ideas begin to flow onto the page as text, visual icons and shapes will also begin to take shape. Now it's time to start formulating the themes and texts that were established earlier in the brainstorming phase. Sketching these ideas on paper is a necessary step that encourages the designer to slow down and consider all possible angles and directions.
Step 4: Producing the manuscript
Once enough time has been spent on research and drafting, draft production begins. The digital implementation is usually done using Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based drawing program. At this point, the most successful ideas developed in the sketching stage will be reproduced on the computer. They will begin to come to life with the addition of color and detail, and they will be refined until they accurately represent the client's wishes. Some logos rely solely on words or text, known as “word marks,” while for others the text is just one piece of the puzzle. However, it's important to note here that choosing a typeface sets the tone for the entire logo. Testing each logo option with a number of different fonts will ultimately result in a more effective final product.
Step 5: Step back
At this point, many designers will leave the project for a short time. This respite serves as a period of reflection, giving the designer an opportunity to return to the project with a fresh perspective. This can also be a good opportunity to gather feedback from unbiased outside parties. Designing a logo can be a very involved process; so it is very beneficial to get insight from one (or two) additional eyes. After going back to the logo designs, the most effective iterations must be selected and assembled for presentation.
Step 6: Customer Feedback
Now that several options have been created, the most effective options will be presented for the customer to consider. Logo options can sometimes be delivered contextually, to help clients visualize what they will look like on a piece of collateral. Usually, a written description of the project will come with logo options. At this point, the client should review the ideas and respond with notes. The designer will then review the customer feedback and make changes accordingly. The improved logo is once again presented to the client. There are often several rounds of revisions before the customer is satisfied with the final product.
Step 7: Delivery
Once the client is satisfied with the resulting logo, the designer creates a variety of different file types that can be used for different outputs. Important file types include EPS, JPEG, and possibly TIF in certain cases. Some customers may also need a black and white version of the final logo. A separate simplified version may be needed in cases where the full-size logo is highly detailed and doesn't scale well. Trying to anticipate all possible customer needs can be an advantage, preventing future repair and modification needs.
After delivering the final files, it's time to think about using the logo on marketing materials and promotional products. Many times the designer will continue to work with the client to create a full brand identity system using the new logo.
While successful logos look very simple visually, the process of creating a logo is quite the opposite. Logo design is a time consuming project with various stages of development required to create a powerful final product. This is a collaborative process where communication between the designer and the client is required. However, the investment is worth it – when the process is successfully implemented, the resulting logo becomes a valuable asset to the company's marketing efforts.
Whether you are a designer embarking on logo design or an entrepreneur looking to create your own logo, I hope this article helped you understand the 7 basic steps to creating the perfect logo. . Happy designing!