THE LOGO DESIGN PROCESS
It would be a huge overstatement to state that every logo designing project done successfully in the past have had uniformity in their process. Because this is simply not true. Some designs have stood out from the rest when it came to implementing them, while others were just visuals in the crowd. However, if we are to boil this egg into an edible, palatable omelette, then great logo designs go through these simple steps in almost uncanny universality. This article aims to explain what steps do most of the logo design processes consist of.
Needless to say that this is the most important part of the process, where the designer & client meet to discuss the goals and intentions to be conveyed by the logo. Any misconceptions here and you will find that all your time and efforts need a revisit, needless to mention the wrath of your client. It’s important to understand what the client wants to convey to the marketplace. Is it going to be a latch for an established brand, or a limelight for the global appeal of your brand? This really should be the stage when your designers start making suggestions and ideas to be implemented.
Not a single designer in this world is an expert on every niche market that needs a logo. So the next best thing would be a thorough research. An ideal method is ascertain the competitors to your clients, especially if they have been in the business for a long time. It is just so that you can take cues from your client’s competitors, assess what they have been doing and how. Analyse, do not copy.
Now hang on, it is still the initial stages from where you go beating about the bush to a clear picture of what needs to be done. Clients often expect designers to curate “out of the blue” concepts every time. Of course, that’s not a remotely realistic expectation (it would be great if it were) and the client needs to have a little bit of patience. Keep him occupied with rough sketches, digital mock-ups, early font choices etc.
A tip for designers: Be realistic and patient with your client, expecting that your client appreciates your brilliance on every design a bit too optimistic.
There’s nothing that expands the timeline and budget of a design project more than trying to work with dozens of different concepts, in a dozen different directions and permutations. This may seem like “value for money spent” or whatever parameter you’re using, but this is actually counter-productive in narrowing down a “look” for a new brand. Pick one, maybe two, concepts to work with. Or get new ones if nothing strikes your fancy in the first round. It’s highly unlikely that you pick multiple concepts you’re not happy with and try to art direct them into submission.
This is a stage when clients want to see micro-tweak after micro-tweak of a particular design, and ends up showing you the ‘miraculously crafted ingenious’ designs of his competitors. In the logo design process it refers to “Move this over here” and “flip this over there” kind of stuff. Here’s one thing to keep in mind – by the time a client is looking at a semi-final design, it’s been tweaked, flipped, spun, sheared, moved over there, rotated over here already. This is where as a client, you need to realize that their designer is showing them the very best designs, possibly after going through hundreds of variations beforehand.
Now it is time to realize the actual end usage of the logo, rather than simply trying to put a process together. In logo designing, the icing at the top of the cake is as important as the cake itself. Yes, it is time to choose a color for the logo. Consider the overall visual fidelity you wish to achieve, the psychology of the color that would render meaning to the brand.
Logo files can look great when the client views the bitmap version on their monitor, or even the vector version using a PDF reader, but what lies “under the hood” can only be viewed in wire mode (using something like Illustrator) and even then, you’ll have to know what you’re looking for in order to see if it’s missing. The importance of this step cannot be understated – though fixing bad digital assets isn’t really a big deal as long as it’s done early on and before the messed up files have been added to a ton of digital artwork, racking up a load of unnecessary charges to take them out.