We are often asked how to design a logo, so we have detailed our process which seems to work well for us!

A simple question, but there are so many answers. One answer might be “use a pencil” another might be “through in-depth market analysis, creative development, market testing, refinement and meticulous implementation over a 10 year plus period”.

Neither of those examples will do I suspect, so what I will do is outline a sound process to follow when creating a new identity (as opposed to developing an existing one).

Each stage listed below, could be a posting in itself, perhaps it may turn out that way, but for now, I’ll give you brief descriptions, to get us going.

Know your client
You really need to know your client’s business, find out what they do, and find out what makes them different from the competitors. Get a sense of the companies ‘tone of voice’. Both Google and IBM work in IT, but they are very different animals.

Know your market
This is very important and often, the process is not robust enough. Ask your client and they will most likely say ‘it’s for everybody’. But that is very rare indeed.
Start to think like the target market(s), learn how they speak, what they want and try to imagine what would really float their boat.

Define the client’s brief
Get a detailed brief from the client. If they provide one that is unclear, go back to them and clarify, question, probe – engage them from the beginning – that is very important.
Get it in writing.

Define your own brief
It can be really helpful to define what you would like to see at the end of your own creative process. You don’t have to write it down but give it some thought, it will help you start off on the right foot.

Begin creating concepts, I suggest a pencil and paper is the best way to get down ideas first. Try not to get into the rut of just redrawing the same logo, but different variations. More ideas the better. Go as ‘far fetched’ as you like’. The Starbucks logo hasn’t got a lot to do with coffee beans.

There are lots of different types of logo:
Typographic only
Symbol only
Type and symbol/icon.

Sense check, coincidence check and localisation
It is incredibly difficult to perform this task properly, unless you have a huge budget and lots of helpers. But do what you can before presenting something that could embarrass later.
·      That the colours you want to suggest don’t cause offence or confusion
·      If other logos in the sector look similar in any way
·      Is there any way the text could be misread, see what happened to Weight Watchers, when they went on one line: weightwatchers
·      Search keywords and view as images.

Talk through your thinking and present you ideas to the client, include a black only version and a reversed out (white) version. It can help a client visualise if you apply the logo to a typical output.

When you arrive at a chosen route, begin development and refinement, think about:
·      Kerning and spacing
·      How does it look and read at very small sizes?
·      Does it break up at 72dpi at small sizes?
·      Do you need a different version specifically for reversed? Negative spaces change when     images are inverted.

Once the mark has been signed off, go about applying it to materials, signage etc. Be as consistent as you can in terms of size, position and usage. Try to ‘break’ the scheme. Best to find out the weaknesses in the identity now than findyou’re your new logo is unusable on a embroidered cap.

This is the key to a good recognisable and solid indemnity. Control its application and be 100% consistent.

Logo cop
If you are not implementing the identity, offer to be ‘logo Co’ and review materials produced by other to check everything is on brand.

Delivering buy in and dealing with feedback
There are two parts to this. People in organisations are quick to pipe up that the whole process is a waste of money, or the result is not to their taste. So at the beginning – at brief stage – include as many opinions before you start. Document those opinions and share them with everybody. This can form part of the brief and can be something really useful to point to, when feedback comes in. Assuming you follow the brief and deliver a relevant solution that is.

See our latest branding and identity projects.


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