We recently had a show and tell with a client, proudly the logo concepts presented were spot on and they said “how do you do that!” interested in how we generate the ideas for a logo design. They asked if we ever get bored of designing logos to which there was a resounding ‘no’ but it did spark an idea for a blog!
How do we design a logo?
It’s not simple and it’s not fast but I can tell you about our process which helps us create ideas and a result that’s authentic to our client and their business. We love it when a logo has a meaning behind it, it might not be an obvious meaning but it can be a conversation starter or result in something memorable.
Our first step in a branding project (or any for that matter) is discovery. We immerse ourselves in the business. Here’s why that’s important to us.
Many people think that a logo design is just a shape, font and some colours. It’s a lot more than that and it’s the visual identity of your company. We’ve always believed that a strong way to differentiate is to have something inspired by the values of the company.
Once we’ve gotten to know your business, even tried your products we turn our attention to your values and vision. The slightly more intangible aspects of the business and we might ask some strange questions to uncover the story. We then develop a persona for your target audience so we can research what brands they are used to and buy from, go through your sales process as well as looking at the competitors and industry to get a visual benchmark. It’s sometimes insightful going through brands you like or dislike as it’s difficult to put into words what connects you to a brand.
After our discovery workshop we go away and start generating ideas. This usually involves the design team but a few others too. We’re strong believers that ideas can come from anywhere! Our sessions can be fun and sometimes involve pizza parties.
Armed with ideas your graphic designer will start sketching ideas. That’s right, sketching. We start with humble pencil and paper to get ideas down at which point we can take the strongest concepts to screen.
With the strongest concepts developed we present three to four options and always in black and white first. We feel that if a logo works in black and white it’ll be strong in application but mostly we feel that it’s too early on to be swayed by colour. During the first show and tell we ask to eliminate concepts that aren’t hitting the mark. This doesn’t hurt our feelings but we can then start to have meaningful discussions once the final contenders are left on the table.
Ok, now we’ve got a single logo design concept. We can crack open the paint box and start exploring colours alongside typography, composition and structure. Colour plays an important role in branding, we will have discussed brand values early on in discovery and that comes into play. There’s psychology behind colour beyond what looks nice.
Have you ever wondered why so many financial institutions use blue? It’s commonly peoples’ favourite colour (maybe because the sky is blue) but it signifies calm, trust and security. Brand colour is another topic for another day but mustn’t be underplayed.
Once the final, polished logo is developed with colours, fonts and composition nailed down. We then go onto creating the logo in all the file formats you’ll ever need for print and digital reproduction and writing your brand guidelines*. Brand guidelines can be a brief style guide or it can be a detailed guide on tone of voice, language, logo usage, fonts, styling, colour references, use of imagery and photography, paper stocks for stationery and so on.
Clients have often told us that the brand story and guidelines we’ve created for them are now part of their new employee induction process. That’s great feedback and really promising as consistency is what builds trust in a brand.
*An important point to relay here is that once your logo is paid for in full it becomes your intellectual property. This isn’t the case in a lot of situations, make sure you own the intellectual property to the creative assets of your company.
Once your brand is in place, it’s time to take advantage of that intangible asset by having well branded products, services, campaigns and collateral.