If you search, you can find the creative process for an icon design pretty easily. If you’re learning to illustrate or create digital paintings then you can find lots of tips, videos as well as the actual drawing process itself. However, the Creative Process behind Logo Designing is fairly scarce.
Why is that? Is it the designer’s secret? Or maybe it’s too creative to specify. Well whatever it is I thought I would show you mine, including some of the problems and queries that arise on the way.
Let’s get going!
1. The Logo Design Brief
All of my design projects start with a brief and for me a brief is not there just to take creative notes, it’s there as a regulatory document as to what should be achieved with the end logo design. If you need one you can download my brief.
My design brief has evolved over the years in order to get better responses from clients but I think that the design brief is a major flaw in itself. The brief is a written document trying to create inspiration for a visual project. Because of this the brief tends to change instantly and progressively as soon as a project starts. This kind of makes it pointless but in an attempt to solve this problem I looked at fixing the brief which you can read about here.
To sum up, I’ve turned the brief into a springboard for the design project and nothing more which leads us onto step 2.
2. Brainstorming The Logo Design:
Once the brief is filled out I start taking notes, jotting down keywords, ideas and any specific requirements the client may have. After doing so I brainstorm by using the brief as the root starting point. Within the brainstorm I just go wild and let it all lose. Whatever comes out comes out. What you’ll end up with are concepts to start your research or keywords which can turn into visual ideas.
3. Researching the Logo Design
This step is quite possibly the most important and dangerous bit. I research everything from the company name to mythology and competitors to concepts. In addition looking at other logo designs can become a part of the design process and this part can be the dangerous bit.
It’s very easy to see a design and copy it so to avoid this I try not look at other logo designs until a later stage. In doing so I usually come out with a better design at the end.
4. Start sketching the Logo Design
I see some other designers who have incredible logo sketches. They are 100% neat, tidy and drawn perfectly down to a tee. I myself am a completely rough worker. At this stage I draw something rough (very rough) just so the idea is down on paper and I consider this as my start point. There more like quick visual notes so I don’t forget the ideas a concepts.
You may ask yourself now, how many sketches shall I do? Some say do only 3- 5. Some say 5-10. I personally do as many as I need to, from 3 to 20. I can afford to do this because I work very rough and at the end of the day normally 75% of any rough design I do goes to the design dumpyard. Doing this allows me to add logic to the process and give me a good bulk of ideas to start with.
5. Tools for Logo Design
Are there actually any special tools you should use to design logos a preliminary sketching stage. Not really. I see some people use graph paper which can be handy and some using little note books. I actually prefer a book of plain A3 sheets. Some use compasses and rulers as well as colouring pencils. Maybe it depends on what sort of design you’re doing but in general I keep a compass handy and use plain A3 paper so I can sketch all over the place. I stay away from coloured pencils as colours usually change when going digital but on occasion I’ve used coloured pencils and the end result for the sketch was pretty good.
I’ve seen some people think out of the box and start actually producing a real physical logo with paper which is pretty fantastic. At the end of the day at this stage it’s whatever gets your creative juices flowing.
6. Go away and start again.
After my own preliminary sketches I leave the designs totally and go away from it for 24hrs. This helps me do 2 things:
- Calm down from the excitement of a new project ( I work better relaxed)
- Cancel out all the crap designs I initially sketched
That’s right. The mixed excitement of creativity and pressure can lead to a flurry of ideas and more often then not most logo design ideas work well on paper but when you go digital you realise how rubbish of an idea it was.
I’ve become good enough to recognise these designs before going digital so at this stage I look at all my initial concepts in my relaxed mood and begin crossing out concepts until I’m left with 3-5 solid ideas. If necessary I can work up a few more sketches if needs be but in a different mood.
7. Re-Sketching the Logo Design
At this stage I usually take the 3 strongest ideas and re-sketch them with a little more finesse allowing me to focus the ideas a little.
8. Go Digital with Logo Design
I’ve read about designers who can work up a final digital design from their sketch within 20 min. Maybe it’s because their original sketches are extremely refined but for me it does usually take longer because this is really where I refine the design.
In digital form I experiment heavily, tweaking, tweaking and re-tweaking again until it’s at a good standard. I usually end up coming back to it again and tweak even more but that final digital design is usually near perfect.
9. Presenting the Logo Design
Some designers believe in presenting the rough sketches to the client first, getting a sign off and decision before moving onto the step of finalising the design. I totally understand this process because of the amount of time it saves. I however go the whole hog, showing no sketches but showing the tweaks and complete identity along with mock-ups of three final designs.
The Problem four:
This is incredibly time consuming and seeing that 2 designs will definitely go to the design dumpyard it can also be seen as time wasted but what has made me stick with this process is the fulfillment of service. When clients see 3 concepts fully mocked up and finalised, it:
- Makes it easier for them to decide
- Creates a better sales pitch for both the designs and myself as the designer.
The only downfall is that the client may not like any of the designs in which case all 3 are wasted. In saying that logo design is a development and not so much a one shot wonder. A tweak here and a tweak there is usually standard procedure for logo design and that one tweak can make an unfavourable design into the final selected design. 90% of the time this is what actually happens and we find that the client actually liked all 3 designs, it was just one element that they didn’t like from their selected design.
This is how I design logos but to be honest I haven’t always designed them like this. My process evolves constantly and changes every time I take on a new project.
Professional disciplines usually have a rigid workflow to achieve a constant successful result but we have to remember that the professional and creative process of a logo design is just that…..”creative”. And if its creative it means that it’s also a little personal so every designer does it’s just a little bit different.
You can check out the full and final logo design and identity design project here on behance
I’m always looking to improve my creative process so I’d love to hear your creative process for logo designing as well.