My logo design process in 7 steps

My logo design process in 7 steps

September 26, 2018

Sometimes clients are surprised by the price of my logo packages. It can be expensive! Here’s why. Being identified appropriately and remembered by your customers are two non-negotiable traits of a business. It takes a lot of time, thought, and knowledge to create a unique logo that will speak to the right audience. It’s also an invaluable branding element that, if designed correctly, will last for years.

I’ve created a logo design process to make sure that each logo I create achieves these goals. It helps me to avoid subjective opinions, streamline the communication between me and the client, and have a clear view of the schedule and timeline. My process isn’t set in stone, but it’s the one I am currently using and I’ve found it to be successful more often than not.

Keep reading to see what goes into the creation of a logo!

1 - Questionnaire

The first thing I need from any client, even before we sign a contract together, is for them to fill out a questionnaire. I usually send it before we start talking about pricing. This helps me to see the client’s level of commitment (Are they willing to collaborate?), and the scope of the project (Is it just a logo, or do they need branding and more?). It also tells me their budget and timeline. All of this info will help me determine pricing.

There are a lot of topics in the questionnaire, but they might not all be relevant to the client’s specific project, so it’s ok if some of them are left unanswered. Some questions are required, such as “Where will your new logo be displayed?” and “What are your organization's strengths?”. The answer I get from these questions helps me to figure out how much thought the client has put into their branding. Of course, it’s completely okay if they haven’t considered everything yet. We can talk about it! In these cases, I offer a free 30 minute consultation.

Once we’ve gathered all this info, I’ll send the client a quote or two, along with my contract. When everything is signed and the deposit is sent, I start working.

2 - Research

I know this term is pretty vague but this is because research can be ambiguous! Most of the time, I learn about my client’s industry, history, and practice. I also learn about their competitors and how they position themselves. I want to know about my client’s contributors, products, and past communication practices. All of this will help me find the right tone for them, but also understand how they make decisions. A self-employed business owner in the creative industry won’t have the same goals and target audience as a techie start-up, for example.

Screenshot Pinterest Board

Pinterest mood board for Seasonal Palate

3 - Mood boards

Mood boards are a great way to make sure my client and I are on the same page about the artistic direction. I create a secret board on Pinterest and fill it up with inspiration and images I think are relevant to the project. Then I’ll jump on a call with my client and we look at it together. This way I know exactly what they like and dislike, and why. Plus, I can refer to it later in the process to make sure I’m staying on track.

4 - Sketches

I loooove this part! This is when I let the creative juice flow. To start, I sit with my sketchbook, my favorite pen, and a good cold brew coffee, and I let everything that I have simmering in my brain come out on paper. I’ll sketch down all my ideas, where they come from, and why they make sense. The “where and why” are important because it helps me later when I present the different concepts to the client. If I don’t do it on the spot, I WILL forget, I know myself…

Once I am happy with a few ideas, I’ll digitalize them and choose two concepts to present to the client.

Atelier MR | Branding • Logo Design | Logo Research

Sketches for Atelier MR

5 - Presentation

For the first presentation, I like to jump on a call with my client to get their first-hand impression. I will have sent them a PDF an hour earlier so they have all the documents. I explain the concepts I chose and why, including examples we talked about during the mood board call. I also create mockups of the logo on stationary or clothes (or something else depending on what is relevant to their specific organization). This helps clients visualise the end product. At this point, everything is in black and white because I really want our attention to be focused on the shape. Plus, we always need a black and white version of a logo, so it needs to work this way regardless. The color comes later on, when the concept of the shape is more defined.

Logo mock-up for Anothen Children

Logo mock-up for Anothen Children

6 - Collaboration

I could call this step “rounds of revision” but I prefer “collaboration” because I really want the client to be involved in the process. Their organization is their baby, and handing it over to someone requires a lot of trust. Most importantly, I want them to be more than happy with the result, which comes from listening to what they have to say. I’m not saying that the client has total control, I won’t change the logo to blue because it’s their dog’s favorite color. I direct them depending on the artistic direction we agreed upon, and explain to them why this color wouldn’t work for the emotions we want to arouse. I also keep them on track with their target audience. It’s a balance between client’s intentions and design best practice.

To finish, we refine the shapes, design a color palette, and if need be, other graphic elements which might make the branding richer.

7 - Final payment and delivery

Once I receive the final payment, I provide my client with at least 3 different version of their logo: black on white, white on black, and a colored version, all in PNG. Depending on what we agreed upon when we signed the contract, I will include the Illustrator file, and other formats. If the budget and the timeline allow, I also create a branding guide which contains all the important branding elements and how to use them. This is a super important document because it will help them keep their branding consistent which helps them gain trust and loyalty.

8 - Party

This step is not required but it’s highly recommended once a project is over, as it helps the happiness expresses itself and is rather simple to do. How do I party? Put music on and dance around my desk.

Accurate depiction of my dancing style

Wrap-up

So, how long does it take me to create a logo? Well, it depends… And that’s why I don’t offer hourly quotes for this type of project anymore. I offer packages instead. Some of the steps I described above are required, but some are optional, like mood boards.

I know it sounds like a lot! But having a brand identity which is perfect and unique to an organization is invaluable. It’s the first thing that connects them with their customers, and it’s critical when it comes to getting recognized and remembered.

Have you worked with a designer who had a different process? Was it similar? Where did you get your logo from?
I’m always curious to know stories behind a brand image, so don’t hesitate to share!

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