How does a designer go about creating a logo? Let’s take a look at the process so you can copy it for your needs. This is my personal logo creation process, but you might find, most designers work more or less similar.
The 7-step logo creation process
The most important thing before you start the actual creation process is to find out what exactly your client wants. The best way to do this is to send out a questionnaire for your client to fill out. This questionnaire contains questions about their background, the company’s history, their product or service, customers as well as branding questions concerning their brand message, colors, visuals. Find out more in this post: 6 Tips for working with a designer
If possible I will urge the client to create a collage of images, patterns, and colors to give me a first hint in which direction we are going. Pinterest is perfect for this task. Let the client create a Pinterest board and add you as a contributor.
Once the client sends me the brief, I start doing some research myself. I try to find out specifics about the profession, look at the products and services offered and spy on the competition in order to get a feeling for what might work and what surely doesn’t.
During the research process, it’s easy to collect some images as well and look for fitting colors, accents, patterns and so on. I will also get inspiration by the client’s collage. Out of the client’s collage and the inspiration I collected, I create a mood board. This is an important step in the logo creation process because I can already identify certain patterns like elements that appear repeatedly, colors, or just a general mood e.g. dark earthy tones or light pastel tones. This post will help you to create a mood board >>
My tip for you, when you are looking for elements or symbols to incorporate in your logo, look for the obvious and then create something that’s a bit abstract. You want your logo to stand out. Example: If you want to display love, the obvious would be a red heart. By creating just a shape resembling a heart, you make it abstract. You can apply this tip directly in the next step of the process.
Then it’s time to get out pen and paper. I start doing some pencil drawings. This helps me to find elements to use for the logo and fonts. I also get a feeling of the arrangement of the logo. Will I create a wordmark, will I add a symbol, what kind of symbol? + the general shape of the logo, is it round, square, rectangular?
From there I will take it to my computer. I do all of my logo creation in Adobe Illustrator. Creating your logo in a vector-based program like Illustrator gives you the advantage of making it scalable ( = Want your logo on a huge neon sign on top of your shop? It’s doable.)
I start with black and white. Looking at my scribbles I can decide which direction I am taking with font selection ( serif, sans serif, handwriting etc.). I always start by selecting a font. I type out the business name to see which one works best. Then I will draw elements I can add and see what works.
Afterward, we have to do the composition or arrangement of the things you have. This part of the logo creation process is a combination of experience and feeling, at least for me. Over the years you come to know what works and you establish an eye for composition.
The last step is to add color. Starting in black and white gives you the opportunity to focus on elements and shapes. Tip: If your logo works in b&w (it is readable, recognizable, transports the brand message), you have already won. It also makes it versatile because there are production processes where you can’t use colors. Once you start playing with the composition, you will see that you will, very fast, come up with 2 or 3 variations. These I will send to the client to get feedback.
Mostly you already have picked a top candidate out of the variations yourself. That’s when the client writes you back, he is all in for the one you didn’t like that much but added anyway. Now the continuation of the process depends on the client. Does he have nothing to add? Congratulations! You can go directly to the next step.
Naturally, this is rare, though. Depending on the changes the clients wants you to make, this can just be a small tweak or a full list, you will go back to your design and alter it accordingly. Sometimes the changes a client wants you to make, can’t be translated to the logo. A good way to make this understandable is to show your client what it would look like and present him with a version of how you would do it. You send off the logo again and wait for his response.
The final step: fine tuning. Now you have to go into the details. In Illustrator, this means to check if all vector lines connect where they should, if the spaces are right between the letters, and if the font is converted to vectors; just to name a few things. Now you can pack it up and send it out. I provide the client with different file formats to ensure compatibility so he can use it for web and print.
The rundown for you
- Brief Collect information about the business and brand
- Research Get information about the line of work, products, customers, and competition
- Inspiration Let yourself be inspired by images, colors, and patterns and create a mood board
- Scribbles Do some preliminary sketches to find fonts and elements to use
- Rough draft Convert your sketches to Illustrator. Choose fonts and design symbols and put these together. Starting in b&w; adding color later.
- Revision Decide on what works and what doesn’t and make required changes
- Fine tuning Go into the details of fonts, colors, and composition. Make sure everything is perfect
Now I would love to hear about your process. Tell me about it in the comments! And if you are in the process of creating a logo for your business yourself right now, tell me what is the biggest hurdle for you to take?