Updated: Apr 9, 2021
The logo design process is much more than grouping shapes and words to form a logo. The process is structured and methodical with multiple steps to support the Graphic Designer to find inspiration, develop concepts and design logos. The process combines research, analysis, a strong intuition, and requires digital skills to then develop the logos using design software.
Below are 8 phases to logo development, with examples.
1. Client Discovery Phase/The Brief
During the client discovery phase a brief can be established. It’s fair to say, the project is as good as the brief. It is vital to kick start with one to establish business objectives and expectations, budgets, design parameters, etc.
For a well-rounded brief, the Graphic Designer will gather further background information by asking a series of questions, for instance:
What are your brand values? (energetic, influential, conscious, etc)
How do you want people to describe your brand?
Who are your competitors and audience?
Describe your business in one sentence?
Why are you getting a logo design?
What options have you explored?
Are there any colours or fonts to avoid?
What don’t you like about your current logo?
Where will the logo be used?
An important step during this phase is to establish where the logo will be used, so the Graphic Designer can ensure it fits in its surroundings. This may vary across website, social media, billboard advertising, product packaging, etc.
It’s popular to produce responsive logos, so its not limited to just having one design. It’s possible to design a logo with elements that can be used, yet remains identifiable to the brand.
For example, this can be seen on the logo below, which I produced for The Tribe. During the client discovery phase we identified WhatsApp is a huge part of their marketing strategy, and Instagram Reels and Tik Tok, so the logo must be responsive to these platforms, and adapt to animated intros.
Considering the different design specifications on these platforms, I designed the full logo yet pushing it further to be responsive. I developed the letter E to include a diamond, which represents the level of service and the customers themselves. This then became a brand element to use separately.
2. Market Research
From the brief comes the next phase in the logo design process, market research. This research may be more in-depth about the client and the current industry, to gather as much information as possible to establish ways to inspire and gauge which direction to go.
The Graphic Designer looks for industry commonalities, shapes, colours, what is dominating currently. For example, colours can play an important part in design, and there is good reason why the colour red is used in the food industry. Red is associated with movement so this fits well for fast food outlets, and revs people’s appetites making people hungry.
A moodboard is a layout of colour, typography, textures, any findings from the research etc, which supports the project and its direction.
It’s so tempting at this stage to start sketching ideas and jump straight into using logo design software but establishing the moodboard really helps the logo design process, and acts as a good visual aid to refer back to.
This is the creative technique to problem-solve the client’s brief and create concepts. Mind mapping is fun and works well to capture the ideas, however bizarre. The most whacky and original ideas can spark even more ideas.
5. Sketching ideas
Another brainstorming method is sketching creative ideas and variations. Sketching helps to settle on a concept and a theme, and will give you further concepts to keep up your sleeve should the client dislike the logo design.
6. Create digital vector logos
Now is the time to create the logos, this requires technical skills of design software. A vector file is the best format, as logos often require scaling, and vector allows for this and avoids losing quality and pixel fuzziness.
7. Client feedback
Once the Graphic Designer has finalised the digital versions of the logo, it’s time to present the finals to the client. This may be a single design or various concepts, depending on the client brief as mentioned previously.
It’s good practise to prepare a presentation with the logos in black and white. I have learned that B&W designs are more impactful and memorable. They’re also the most cost effective for printing, and more versatile across mediums. Colour palettes can be presented alongside to show as backgrounds or in the design itself, if B&W doesn’t fit.
The Graphic Designer will also prepare mock-ups to assist the sign off process by showing visuals of the logo on apparel, signage, websites etc. This shows the client how the logo works with the brand and how it looks in the real world.
Iterations of the design may be required at this stage. If so, the process may repeat through all or some of the phases until final sign-off is achieved.
8. Prepare and deliver final logos
So the client has approved the final logo, it’s now time to prepare the design files. These are packaged for print and digital. The basic files to include are:
Vector files, such as AI
Layered EPS/PDF (for different programs)
High resolution files for web
Including PNGs with transparent backgrounds
Social Media JPEGS or PNGs scaled to each platform size and dimensions
Notes on fonts can be included, if relevant. The client may provide the fonts initially for the logo, or they may wish to use the same font used in the logo for future projects. (Some font licenses require clients to purchase themselves).
A Brand Guide can also be prepared (depending on budget), to show a presentation of the logo lockups, logo guidelines, colour palette, typography, mockups, etc which helps the business use as a guide and to stay on brand.
So these are the basic phases through the logo design process, which I go through for each project. Obviously, some of these vary if the project is more complex.
When it comes to designing logos for a client I offer three concepts. This supports the decision making process, as design is often subjective. Budgets do vary per client this depends if the project involves branding, responsive logos, animations etc.
Do you want a logo for your brand? As a Graphic Designer I can make this happen.