From doing client and industry research to application testing and foolproofing, here are the 5 important stages in the logo design process.
Guide: The Logo Design Process
An essential guide to the logo design process
A ROOTS think piece
What is it that makes world-famous logos like Apple timeless and iconic? Somewhere in their creative brilliance these logos embody the brand’s core values and brand archetype, connecting with the target audience on who they are and who they can be, all on a subconscious and intuitive level.
Clients ask us to create or recreate their logo, but they’re often impervious to the logo design process. It’s easy to create a nice-looking logo but quite a bit more creative strategy is involved in the legwork of a logo that actually channels the brand. So we’ve put together an essential guide on what goes into a great logo (read: gorgeous and functional). Scroll past the infographic for an explanation of each stage in the process.
Beyond the basic profile, it’s important to really get a sense of the company heritage and culture, or risk a design that doesn’t jive with their personality.
When we interviewed our Creative team on the design for various clients, they launched into a long story about each client’s background, going into the past and giving us a full account of the company history and growth, but also delving into the future. Even the personalities of the key stakeholders, their idiosyncratic preferences and vision for the company, carry weight in the calibration of a brand’s identity.
The logo the team did for NYS was the result of many conversations with the founder and current management, and even involved a clash of colour preferences between the stakeholders (resolved in the end, of course).
Professional logo designers will develop more than a surface level understanding of the client’s industry. Knowledge of an industry’s inside operations informs logo designers of the aesthetic sensibilities of that particular industry.
SunnyCha’s logo was the result of careful research on competitor positioning. We didn’t want the brand to share the same USP in a market that favours niche branding, or worse, design a logo similar to another brand.
We zeroed in on happiness as a unique niche that they could fill in the industry. Like Coca Cola, it’s the enjoyable moments and happy feelings that SunnyCha wants to create for its customers. It was an appropriate positioning for a beverage brand and stands out from other tea brands in the market.
This positioning lent direction to the creative prototype of the logo.
Even the best designs can fail at this stage. After sketching a few logo options for REX Academy, our internal learning portal, we uploaded them only to realize the logos were cramped to the point of illegibility in the small dashboard space. The concept though nice was lost to platform specs. Back to the drawing board.
Airline logos, for example, need to be clearly visible on the tail fins of planes. Any design that cannot accommodate the narrow space has to be scrapped or adapted. Logos that were created for digital purposes may need to be printed onto materials at some point. If the logo was created with full RGB spectrum, printing would be a problem.
We need to know where the logo will be used and the specs involved even before the sketching stage. We reworked our REX logo to something a lot simpler, which showed better on the dashboard.
Sketch, draft, refine
Variety is important in the initial stages. We sketch as many ideas as possible in various styles and concepts, and pick the best from the batch. We then share with the client the narrowed down options to know if we’re headed in the right direction.
After the client picks their favorite, we’ll work on the logo and refine until the client is completely happy with it. This is where we obsess over details like colour and typography. If the client is in F&B, red and yellow colours evoke feelings of hunger, hence McDonald’s ubiquitous yellow M. (There’s an entire chart dedicated to the psychology of colour right here.)
Our design intern came up with the following drafts for REX that played with the idea of fun learning before we finally settled on the last design.
We like to round out with guidelines on how to adapt the new logo to different mediums. This is to make sure that you have a foolproof logo in every possible circumstance. A foolproof logo ensures the same branding is applied on all collateral and that the brand identity is always consistent. Usually we outline how the logo can and should be used in different situations in the corporate identity (CI) or brand book, which includes variations of the logo that caters to these different contexts.
To discuss your logo design or to get help with branding, contact us.