If you’re new in the world of Design there’s probably one thing that you want to know how to do above all else, and that’s Logo Design. I mean, how hard could it be right? Actually, if you’re starting out it’s pretty damn hard, especially if you want to develop a professional Logo. No worries though! I’m going to share with you the 7 steps you need to take to develop and deliver an effective Logo Design.
Research is the first step, and arguably the most important. You’re probably thinking, man I’m an artist I don’t need to research for hours on end I just need to create! Well I’m sorry to inform you that you’re wrong. When you first receive your brief you’re probably going to be presented with a lot of information about what your client wants to communicate, who they’re trying to communicate to, and what they want to portray. So being able to do the research to establish a process on how you’re going to communicate those values is so vital to this process! One phrase you might hear being thrown around is mood-boarding, which is a research method used to get a sense of the feeling that your client wants to portray. We all have our own ways of researching, and doing what’s most effective for you is important, but it all comes down to being able to establish a base on which to build your design.
The Discovery phase is where you can really get your creative juices flowing, and surprisingly this is probably the most skipped phase of all! Contrary to beginner’s belief, Logo Design doesn’t start on the computer but with the good ole’ paper and pencil. Sketching is a great way to allow your mind to be free and spit out every idea that comes to mind. It’s important to remember during this process that not every idea has to be gold! Trust me, I’d say that probably 75% of the concepts I throw out go no further than that piece of paper, and that’s ok. It’s not about producing a fine art sketch every time, it’s about exploring every possible concept that you can! That’s why it’s called the “Discovery” phase, you’re simply discovering a possible concept.
This is the part in the process where you have to take a step back from your creative process and analyze the concepts developed in your Discovery phase. It’s important to keep in mind during this step the information that was presented to you in your brief. What concept do you have that is communicating their values? Is one concept too literal, or is that one maybe a tad too conceptual? Being able to step back and review your concepts to determine which ones are worth exploring further, and which ones maybe miss the target is just as important of a step as all the others. Remember, design is all about communication, and without that it’s just simply decoration.
The Development stage is the one that most beginning Designers want to get into the most. This is the part of the process where you take your sketches into Adobe Illustrator (or whatever vector based program you may be using) and actually begin to develop them! I’ll admit, this is probably my favorite part of the process because I love seeing concepts take shape, and the process of building them is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. It’s at this point where you can take an initial concept, build it out, and begin to make slight variations of it to further develop the concept. I’ll also give you a quick tip: ALWAYS start in black and white first when developing these concepts. Color can bog you down, and it’s important to ensure that your designs have the proper amount of contrast in black and white first!
The Revision stage is similar to the Review stage in the sense that you have to take a minute to step back and analyze your designs. It’s really easy to get into a design and want to keep adding little elements that you think might beef up the design, but this is a pretty dangerous practice to get caught up in. Take a minute to step back from your designs and ask yourself, how can I reduce this to it’s simplest form? Most logos are at their best when they’re in the simplest of forms. Check out logos like Apple, Nike, Windows, etc. They’re all in the simplest of forms, and that’s not just by coincidence. Always remember the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid! (but you’re not really stupid though!).
Ok, you’re almost done! This is exciting, you’ve done your research, you’ve produced concepts, and you ‘ve developed your logo idea, but now what? This is where you finalize your logo and dot your I’s and cross your t’s so to speak. Did you know that Adobe Illustrator allows you to zoom in 6400%? UTILIZE THAT! When you’re zoomed out your logo might look perfect to the naked eye, but sometimes within the development process points can get out of place, or be slightly off, and trust me, when your logo is blown up to larger sizes those flaws are going to come out. So, take the time to carefully examine your logo and make sure that everything is where it’s suppose to be. This is also where you want to make sure that the kerning or leading within your logo is exactly how you want it to be. There’s nothing more embarrassing than sending out a logo only to realize that your kerning between two letters is off! Essentially, approach this process like this is the last time you’ll ever be able to edit this logo again, and make sure that everything is as neat and tidy as it can possibly be.
You’ve done it! You’re at the final step. So what is that exactly? Well now that you’ve completed your design it’s time to Deliver it to your client. Depending on what you and your client have negotiated as far as deliverables, you’ll need to make sure you export and package these files appropriately. Are they looking for EPS, PNG, JPEG, PDF? Do they need it in CMYK or RGB? Is it for print or for web? It’s important to know these file types and what they’re appropriate for because the last thing you want is your logo to have a white background from a JPG when you actually needed a transparent background from a PNG, or to have your logo printed at 72dpi when it needed to be 300. Preserve the integrity of the design by utilizing the correct file types.
In all, Logo Design can be a complicated and challenging process, but utilizing these 7 steps will ensure that you’re on the right track to creating an effective Logo Design!
What are some things you like to incorporate into your creative process? Music, coffee, silence? Let me know in the comments below!