Designing a Logo

People often think when starting a new business, or even rebranding, “I don’t need a logo” and in some part they are right; but if you think a little you soon understand that even your own signature is a logo, personal to you and an expression of your own character. Your business is just another extension of your drive and personality. When we are keen to get Google reviews and testimonials, it is clear that we really want our businesses to stand out from the crowd. Looking back to my last post we explained why "off the shelf" has its place. Here we show why a good design needs more thought process than just "how cheap can I get it done".


In an interview with Steve Jobs of Apple, Steve mentions how for his company neXT, Paul Rand developed “a jewel of a design that can stand out on its own, separate even from the company name…”.
To develop this level of recognition can take many hours of development and design. To understand the brand and the direction you need to take is a process of making mistakes. Understanding what doesn’t work is just as important as discovering that little diamond in a coal mine. To help you understand the process and why it can be a lengthy process, I will outline some basic processes from putting the kettle on to delivering a final design.

 
5 Basic steps to designing a logo…There are many more but this should help you understand how to find that diamond in the rough
 

1. Get yourself a Doodle pad.

Good design works on multiple levels, including the subconscious. So, I start of just by making a good cup of coffee and settling down for a doodling. This can be seen by an onlooker as half arsed and cheap, but doodling is a very powerful tool. Setting yourself a time limit to get as many designs down as possible is a real challenge, but also a great way to free the mind… Don’t procrastinate, just get stuff out and onto paper.

Doodles and Logo created for The Wood Moths Carpentry

2. See the World.

Don’t just sit in the same office doodling. If it wasn’t for the creative industry, coffee shops would probably never be as popular as they are today. Every time I stop and sit in a Starbucks or Costas, I can often see the same faces doing the same thing. So it’s time to GET OUT! Go for a walk, go to a gallery, a museum, walk the dog, anything as long as it is different from the norm. This isn’t just a day out, it is real work, so keep doodling or noting things down. If it catches your eye, then there is a good reason for this.

3. Don't be Dissapointed

So you have spent a day out, doodled all day, and you are still not happy with what you have. Do not be disappointed with this, as I said earlier, Logo design is also about making mistakes and finding out what does not work. What you have done there is proven that point to yourself. Remember logo design will not happen overnight

4. Time for a BIG bit of paper

So, you have carved out a few ideas from the granite and you can see glimpses of a good design. Its time to break out the big guns. This is when I move onto a larger piece of paper and really start to develop variations on each design. I keep everything on paper at this point as I prefer the freedom and tactile nature of getting art onto paper, if you love to sit in front of a screen hitting those shortcut combos then by all means do so.
Again set yourself a deadline on each design, don’t get bogged down on one design, step away from it and work on a different option, come back later but keep moving.

5. Plug in & Power Up!

(image of lightbulb attached to plug graphic image) You have what you now consider a good design. Lets drop this into your design package such as Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign etc and develop it further. It is at this point that I really refine the design. A few tips I also use at this point are: Flip the Design - “What!?” I hear you ask. Flipping the design is a great way to really see the shapes and how they work with one another, especially if your logo is based on a Logo Type. If it works back to front, upside down or rotated, then is will work the right way round. Big is not always best - Viewing the logo on a lovely big 30” screen is great but don’t forget that a lot of the time that logo will only be viewed on a small smartphone screen or even as an app icon so resize the logo and even try emailing it to yourself to see it displaying on multiple devices.

TA DA!

So you are there and it is time to deliver your design. Remember the entire process you have gone through, the concepts, the inspiration, the design and the development. The client needs to understand this and appreciate the lengths you have gone through to carve out their own individual logo. It should be explained at the start how long and what it takes to develop a design. Clients often say to me, “why is that so expensive?” and “why does it take so long?”. My answer is usually the same as with any other part of the design process. I am here to sift through and prove the things that don’t work, then find the correct solution to the problem of how to make you stand out from the crowd. It does not happen overnight and should never be underestimated or undervalued.
You will likely spend more time on a company logo than anticipated, this logo needs to portray everything about you or your clients business within a quick glimpse. Once the design is approved then the business has its own identity, its own signature and will ultimataly stand out from all thecompetition.

Thanks for reading

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope you have found it interesting and informative. I am sure there are many other views and ideas on logos and their design but this is mine. Should you wish to contact LS Creative to discuss a design project, we would be only to happy to have a chat. Please use our contact page to drop us a line or email us from this little link.