My 5-Step Surefire Logo Design Process

I take logos pretty seriously - for good reason. When I've got a logo project, I'm charged with creating one design element that communicates a brand’s personality and values accurately and quickly.

To be successful, that logo should evoke specific emotions and thoughts and appeal to potential customers. If you think about it, that’s a big job for that one little image!

It's true that most logos have the support of additional graphics (or they should, anyway), but the fact remains that logos do a lot of heavy lifting for their brands. 

That’s why I’ve worked to perfect my logo design process over the years. I follow all of these steps thoroughly with every logo design project. They help me to get super clear on what my clients need and want to make sure I deliver a final logo that they’re totally thrilled with and excited to put on all of their marketing collateral! 

logo--design-process

STEP 1 - RESEARCH

I start every logo design project by giving you a logo/brand identity questionnaire to complete. It covers everything from basic information (like how many employees do you have) to in-depth questions about business goals and brand personality.

In particular, there are four areas I'm gathering information about. They include the business' brand, goals, market and visual style.

Brand 

It's crucial to get a sense of who you are, your brand vision, mission and values, your target audience, and any brand story you might have. This is probably the most important part of the research phase. I’m designing something that's supposed to represent the essence of your brand, so it’s pretty important that I get a good handle on it! 

Goals

The questions in this section are designed to get a sense of why you need or want a new logo. It’s helpful to know if you’re targeting a different clientele or think your old logo isn’t effective or are changing up what you offer. I also want to know what you want the new logo to achieve, how you want people to feel and think when they see it and what your long term business goals are. This information is also crucial to the design process, as I'll keep it front of mind while I'm developing my ideas.

Market

These questions are designed to find out who your main competitors are and what’s different about them. From the information I get, I’ll spend some time online looking at these other businesses to get a feel for the market you're competing in and to make sure I don’t design any logos that are too similar to competitors’ logos.

Visuals

I think it’s important to maintain an open mind when having a new logo designed. At the same time, I do like to hear whether or not you already have imagery or colors in mind for your logo. I also like to get a sense of your personal tastes. If I have this information, I can either choose to work from it or talk about other options we should explore.

STEP 2 - DEVELOP & CONFIRM THE DIRECTION

In Step 2, I create a visual representation of my vision for the logo and brand identity and share it with you. I want to make sure that you agree that what I’m seeing in my head is the right direction to go in.

I do this by developing my own secret Pinterest board with images, logos, colors, patterns, textures, etc. I use the answers to your questionnaire to guide me and pick images that are similar to what I I've decided is an appropriate look and feel for your new logo and brand identity. 

From this Pinterest board, I’ll create a mood board that represents the direction I think we should go in. If I’ve got a couple of different ideas in mind, I might create two versions that you can choose from. 

STEP 3 - SKETCH, EVALUATE & EDIT

Once I get approval on the mood board and have a strong grasp of the direction we want to take the logo in, I begin sketching.

I put on paper any and all ideas I have. I try not to edit anything yet and sketch out the good, the bad, and the ugly. My goal is to get down all of my ideas and begin fleshing out what type of imagery I want to use, how I might lay the elements out, what the typography might look like, etc. 

Once I’m done with my brain dump, I’ll look through everything I’ve done and select my best ideas to work on more. 

I do this by going back to your goals. I look at each sketch objectively and ask myself whether or not they’ll appeal to the target audience. Do my sketches evoke the emotions and thoughts you listed? Will they present your business the way you want it to be perceived? 

I also evaluate whether or not the logos will work at small sizes and in different places. They’ve got to be adaptable for online, print, horizontal spaces, and vertical spaces.

I immediately chuck any ideas that don’t meet your goals and that won’t work in different applications. I only keep sketching on what I think will work best for you and your brand. 

During the sketching phase, I wait as long as possible to digitize the 3-4 best ideas I’ve developed. I’ve found that once I get on the computer, I start trying to perfect the nitty gritty details like font and spacing, when I should really be focusing on general ideas and layout. It’s easy on the computer to get sucked down the rabbit hole of perfectionism, which doesn’t usually serve anyone.

STEP 4 - REFINE

Next, I present the digitized versions of my best logo ideas. Ideally, you’ll pick one idea to run with. It's typical to pick one idea and ask that I make a few minor adjustments or try a different style of font or organization of elements. 

This is when I start selecting actual fonts that I'd like to use for the logo and perfecting the layout and spacing of all logo elements. I’ll make any requested adjustments and create different versions of the selected logo to present to my client.

Because logos carry so much weight, I usually include up to 3 rounds of edits. Often all three aren't necessary, which is always a big bonus!

STEP 5 - FINALIZE

Once we’ve got the main logo selected, I make final adjustments to the logo mark and typography. I’ll then create a logo submark along with horizontal and vertical versions of the logo. I also like to include a 1-color version of the logo along with files that are full color cmyk (for print) and rgb (for web). 

Finally, I pull everything together into a digital archive that includes the logo versions in a number of different file formats (eps, jpeg, pdf, png, etc.), so you don't have to come to me every time you want to sponsor an event or have your logo included on someone else’s web page or something along those lines. 

Then you head off into the world of online business with a logo that represents who you really are!