Many people are curious about the design process. How does it work? Why does it take designers so long to create something as “simple” as a logo? And what do designers actually do? All designers have a different approach to logo design, but today I’m going to share with you my design process so that you can better understand how graphic designers do what we do.
Step 1: Research
Some things I think about and research when I get a new project are:
- What is the industry?
- What are the competitors doing?
- What are the key services of this company?
- What are their Unique Selling Points (USPs)?
From here I can determine what kind of visual language I want to use. What shapes, symbols, font types and colour palettes would be most appropriate. Say for example the company is a coffee shop that stands out from their competitors by using organic freshly ground African coffee. I would immediately think of rich warm colours, coffee beans and ceramic cups.
Step 2: Sketch
From here I sketch out a rough idea of the logo, incorporating the things that I learnt during the Research phase. Continuing with our coffee shop example, I would do several sketches or rough drafts with several combinations of symbols (coffee cup, beans, comfy chairs), fonts (Serif or sans serif?) and colours (brown, green, beige, orange). I try to avoid decorative elements like drop shadows, gradients or bevels at this stage (and sometimes completely!)
Step 3: First draft
At this point I would look at my sketches and try and refine them into workable first drafts. I normally produce six options for the client to have a look at. Some of the most important elements when looking at a logo are the use of shape and negative space. The first draft is usually still a bit rough, but I can’t go any further without some input from the client.
Step 4: Revision Cycle
This is usually the most complicated stage of the design process. Here the client sees the progress I’ve made for the first time and most times I’ve done a fantastic job of researching and incorporating the company spirit into the design; but on the odd occasion, there is still a lot more work to do!
From these 6 options, the client then chooses which one’s they like best and which one’s don’t work for them. We then discuss what we can do to refine or perfect the chosen options or elements. In the end the client chooses “The One.”
I call this stage a cycle because it’s the give and take stage. It’s an exercise in communication and patience on both sides. Sometimes it goes smoothly and sometimes it’s a bit rocky, but in the end the logo that is produced is always worth the time and effort. Usually the revision cycle is repeated up to three times.
Step 5: Delivery
Once the client has chosen “The One”, it’s time to deliver! When you receive a logo from your designer you should get:
- The full colour logo in various file formats (AI, EPS, PSD, TIFF, PDF, JPEG)
- A black and white or one colour version of your logo in various file formats (AI, EPS, PSD, TIFF, PDF, JPEG)
- An RGB version of your logo for web
- A CMYK version of your logo for print
- A swatch page with the RGB, CMYK and Hexadecimal colour breakdowns
- A folder with the fonts used in your logo
We usually provide clients with a CD that has all these elements on it. Having all of this ensures that you can go to any printer or any other designer with this CD or folder and they will be able to use it for whatever purpose you require.
So how long should it take to get a great logo? As long as it takes! Your logo encompasses your whole brand in one small symbol and it’s going to be with you for as long as your company is active. So it is a good investment not only financially, but time wise as well. Of course like with everything there are limits: logos shouldn’t be in development for a year, but do allow enough time for your design to be as perfect as possible.
If you need a logo for your fledgling company, or if you want to revamp your existing logo, drop us an email.