You know those logos that jump out at you? You can tell when you see it. We’re talking about the kind of logo that makes all of the designers wish they had created it, and clients wish they had one just like it. This type of logo design might look like it’s pretty simple, but chances are, it took days of work on the behalf of one truly creative marketing agency.
So, you may be wondering what all goes into a logo design anyway. If you’re a designer, or if you’re looking to have a logo designed for your brand or business, it’s advantageous to understand the process of designing a logo. With that to say, let’s dive right in!
The Journey of Logo Design
Every memorable logo begins with a great idea- and behind every great idea are those “eureka” moments. However, coming up with exceptional logo design ideas is rarely a smooth process. That said, a highly developed process can help you to find your inspiration for those “eureka” moments.
Your brand guide and strategies will provide the blueprint upon which incredible logos can be built. Usually, a strategy will involve collaboration between clients, designers, and other essential partners who are involved in the company. Strategies are crucial because they provide direction. Without some proper up-front thinking and a solid brief, you’re always going to be one step behind.
Whether your logo design ideas begin with a simple one-page design brief, or a highly sophisticated (and let’s face it, expensive) brand strategy, you’re going to need a clear purpose. Without a strong framework on which to build your brand, you’ll find that your logos simply won’t stand the test of time.
So let’s say, in the worst case scenario, a brand guide does not exist. Okay, no sweat, but this means that you’ll have to do some legwork yourself. Talk to your client (and preferably others to get more perspective) about who they are, what they stand for, how they see themselves and how they’d like their customers to see their brand.
You’ll want to figure out what makes the business different, and how you’re going to position it in the marketplace. Once you’ve got this figured out, write up your thoughts and get your client to sign off on your plan so that everyone knows where they are and what to expect. Remember, the goal is to end with a high-quality logo design.
Find Your Meaning
Any logo design agency will tell you that creating a logo requires intuition and insight. Before you even start sketching out any ideas, you should begin by looking at the world’s most successful brands. From there, you should be able to draw meaning from their logos. You’ll want to take note of what expresses their brand message or idea, or shows their personality.
A logo is totally more than just an impact. It’s something that conveys what a business ultimately believes in. If you are able to give your logo design ideas this sense of “meaning” you’ll be off to a wonderful start. The best way to achieve meaning? Organize some creative thinking.
You know, start by extracting concepts, ideas and keywords from the brief and clustering them into overarching themes. You should be able to map out the symbols, clichés, icons and well-established visual language for each and every theme. Make sure that you look for crossovers, scope for development or the potential to create something distinctive in your logo design ideas. Don’t just simply draw – you’ll want to actually conceptualize the design.
Here, you’re building a brand from scratch, rather than redesigning an already existing entity. This means that you have the perfect creative liberty with your design. From the information you already have, how do you make it shine?
Choose The Right Type
A logo is rather complex. It can be as simple as a word mark, or as involved as an image. There are actually no hard and fast rules about which approach works best. You should experiment with your logo design ideas, but make sure that whatever you produce fits the brief entirely.
Also, feel free to experiment! Why not be a little adventurous and try your hand at different logo design ideas? Test new formats and styles, and find out what fits. What works? What doesn’t? Would your idea work better this way… or that way? You’ll find out soon enough.
Below is a good list of categories for you to consider, even if you have a hunch about what your client will go for. Remember that there’s always the opportunity to explore some combinations and crossovers between categories as well!
Don’t be afraid to test the water and try a few different things here.
Letterforms: Think IBM or Airbnb. Could your logo design be as simple as the company’s initials?
Emblems: Is there a particular shape or holding device that the company name is connected with? Think about logos like Harley Davidson, Warner Brothers, and Starbucks.
Pictorial marks: Could you make a logo with a simple single image? Twitter, Apple, and Shell sure seemed to do it.
Abstract symbols: Or perhaps you can invent a symbol that represents the brand? This worked for Audi, Nike, and Pepsi, just to name a few.
Think Big Picture
Just as anything else creatively, oftentimes the best logo design ideas come when you get to grips with the company structure and brand architecture. You should have a strong understanding of the business you’re designing for future-proofs your concepts, and brings consistency to your client’s portfolio.
Before you get all crazy and unleash your creativity onto your logo design ideas, think about where the logo will fit in the bigger picture. Grip a good grip of the structure of the company you’re working with. Discover what the fundamental framework of the organization is.
Does it have sub-brands, or different services and products that might end up fitting together? Is there a master brand, or several in fact different brands? Should different offerings feel like they are part of the same family, or more some distant relatives?
Make sure to sketch your ideas of the brand framework out, before you jump onto your computer. This will help you to clarify your thinking and make much more sense of your ideas.
Know The Psychology
Don’t freak out – you don’t need a degree in human behavior to run a successful logo design agency- but it helps to understand some of the psychology behind graphic design. You see, our brains are naturally hardwired to process shapes before color and words. This explains why the right symbol can allow businesses to stop using a name entirely.
You may not know this, but we tend to acknowledge shapes before language, which is worth bearing in mind when you’re creating a logo. Logo design ideas that use distinct symbols can become more recognizable through repeat exposure over time. Nike and Apple are two examples of companies who have just used symbols and dropped their name entirely.
Of all senses that we have, our sight plays the most important role in creating a memorable experience of a brand. Here are each of the elements you’ll need to consider:
- Shape: Shapes will come first. In fact, we need shapes to identify an item or word. The brain acknowledges distinctive shapes better, thus leaving a lasting imprint on the memory.
- Color: Colors are the second most important feature in our sequence. They evoke emotions and unique perceptions. We have to be careful here, as some companies practically own a color, like Coca Cola, or even Facebook.
- Type: This is one category that our brains take the most time to process. However, this is important to keep this in mind when you’re working with a complex brand mark.
Be An Idea Machine
Generating logo design ideas is an exciting process to begin with. This is when your enthusiasm is at its strongest, and the possibilities are infinite. During this time, the more ideas you can come up with, the better, so go for it!
If you hit a roadblock with your logo design ideas, and you find that you’re struggling for inspiration, ask yourself plenty of questions. This will help inspire you.
From there, grab the equipment you use to cultivate your logo design ideas – whether it’s a pen, mouse, anything else you can work on quickly, and translate your ideas onto the page or screen as fast as possible.
Keep in mind, these are just quick sketches- they’re not the logo design you’re going to show your end client. To save yourself some time and effort,avoid fiddling around too much and tweaking. Stop when you tell yourself you would.
Also, make sure to remember to set aside some time to properly review whatever you come up with at a later stage. From there, you can come up with a shortlist of logo design ideas that you might want to develop later, and move on.
Consider Your Competition
Just as with anything else in the world of marketing, competitive analysis is something we frequently recommend. It is essential to helping to build a brand style, and differentiate a company from the others within its space.
It’s worth doing a final search to ensure that your idea of the perfect logo design doesn’t already exist, and land you and your client in hot water. It’s no good if you’re coming up with a brilliant logo if it’s virtually identical to the one used by one of your closest competitors. Even worse, one of the world’s best-known brands.
All that to say, just make sure that you do your homework. Check out the brand’s rivals with a simple online search. What symbols and fonts do they use? What colors? What colors do they use? Look for ways you can make your logo stand out from the rest.
Make a Shortlist
A really good trick to improving your decision-making process when it comes to logo design ideas, is to set yourself some clear criteria that you can use to judge your shortlist.
A lot of the time you will be able to tell if a logo checks all of the boxes on your own, but when in doubt, use a scorecard to help judge decisions from an objective perspective. Ask yourself questions like:
- Will logo designs work in black and white?
- Do my logo design ideas work across all forms of media?
- Will my logo indeed stand the test of time?
- Are these images recognizable enough and memorable?
- Do my logo ideas support the brand manifesto and as a whole?
You will be able to use this criteria you’ve established to bring your mind back into focus on the task at hand.
Listen to Feedback Carefully
We know, it can be difficult to listen to the things that you don’t want to hear. Unfortunately, if you want your designs to really work, you’re going to have to listen to feedback constructively. You might even have to give in a little. Well, without completely abandoning your creative principals, you might have to concede that your personal preferences are not going to make it to the finish line.
You should be careful to not get too much feedback, but you’ll want to ask your friends what they think of your logo design options. You may also want to speak to other people around your workspace, or call up an industry insider and ask for their opinion. Ultimately what you want to know is – is your logo design easy to read, does it convey the right idea, and have people already seen something similar elsewhere before? Listen to opinions from different people – not just other designers you know.
You’ll hear a lot of different opinions, but if a lot of people are saying the same thing, then you’ll want to take notice and address common issues that come up.
Refine, Refine, and… Refine
Ah, so you’ve got the final logo design selected. It’s easy to simply sit back and take your eye off the ball. In fact, even the most qualified logo designers will do this. However, it’s important to remember that it’s all about detail. Make sure that you’re double checking everything. That means everything.
Once you think you’ve got it down to a fine art, double check it again. We’re not kidding. We know it might be annoying, but you probably won’t get another chance to perform this kind of due diligence. Once you’ve released your logo design into the wild, it is out there for good – so try and get it right the first time!
Then once you’re finished refining, stop working. Put the pen down. We mean it. Stop making changes. You’re done. Congratulations!