Professional Logo Design Process From Start To Finish
Although every project is different regarding scope, style and industry, the logo design process tends to remain pretty consistent.
In the simplest terms, it comes down to understanding the client’s needs through questions and research, creating and developing the concepts, and finally discussing and expanding the design into all the forms the client may need to get up and running.
If you want to jump to any specific logo design process stages to learn more, use the navigation links in the table of contents.
Otherwise, let us begin.
Part One – Initial Logo Design Process Steps
1.0 – Construct the Creative Design Brief
The first step in any professional logo design process is to build a creative design brief.
To understand the client and their needs, we must ask questions and develop a clear understanding of their business, their industry and the issues they have been having.
This initial phase of the graphic design process can be completed however the client is most comfortable – be it over the phone, in person, using an online design questionnaire or simply via email.
Ultimately, the purpose of the design brief is to help the designer understand the project, so the more they know, the better they can communicate through the initial design concepts.
1.1 – What is a Creative Design Brief?
A creative design brief is a document for a design or development project created during a consultation between the client and the designer.
In our case, it is a set of around 20 questions and takes approximately one hour to complete.
The more complete the answers, the better we can communicate through the design concepts – so we advise clients to spend time completing it.
1.2 – What Questions do we ask Clients?
The logo and branding questionnaire we use is broken down into several key areas:
– About Your Business – What does your business/product do? What problem do you solve for your customers? What about your background, product, or service sets you apart from your competitors?
– About Your Customers – Describe your ideal client; what is the primary message you want to convey to your customers?
– About the Project – If you have an existing brand/identity, why isn’t it working for you? Please share three links to Brands/Logos that inspire you. What do you like best about them? Using five adjectives or short phrases, describe your brand’s desired look and feel.
Be sure to check out these other logo tips for more inspiration!
2.0 – Research & Discovery Phase
Once the answers to the questionnaire are complete, we will go through and build up a solid base to work from moving forward.
Further questions may arise, which can be discussed so we can best understand the project before getting started.
2.1 – Client Discovery
We look into the existing business (unless it is a brand new startup) and uncover where they are currently regarding Branding overall.
There may be facets of their business that had not been mentioned in the initial consultation. Still, the critical point to client discovery is understanding their issues further to provide the best solution possible.
Often, the client may not know ‘why’ their brand is struggling, but to an expert brand consultant, looking at their current setup may provide meaningful answers in the logo design process.
2.2 – Industry Discovery
Working in so many varied industries, learning about the particular ’niche’ the client resides in is always important.
We look at their competitors to see what they are doing – if they are doing well, we consider what they are doing right.
If they are doing things badly, we can quickly know what to avoid to help our clients succeed.
2.3 – Primary Research – Qualitative Research & Quantitative Research
For a more comprehensive Brand Identity design process, we delve deeper into the Brand in question research levels through Qualitative and Quantitative research methods.
Naturally, this takes a lot of time, so the lower-priced logo design packages will tend to skip over this part.
Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory research.
We use it to discover reasons, opinions, and motivations – it provides insights into the overall problem.
Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in thought and opinion.
Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data that can be formatted into usable statistics.
It is used to quantify attitude, opinion, behaviour, and other defined variables – and generalise results from a larger sample population.
Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research.
2.4 – Secondary Research
If possible, we will delve deeper into the client’s existing Brand Identity, looking into their existing Brand collateral such as reports, stationery and the website.
Part Two – The Logo Process Steps
3.0 – Logo Sketches & Brainstorming
Every excellent logo design process starts with a sketch.
Whether a doodle on a napkin or a carefully crafted pen-crafted illustration – every project starts on paper.
Often sketching or doodling client’s with a rough brainstorming session, usually visual in nature.
3.1 – Mood boards and Reference Imagery
Mood boards and reference imagery are collected from the start, occasionally with assistance from the client who has sent over images that portray the look or feel of what they want to communicate in the logo design.
It can be hard to describe ’themes’ or colours in words, so we recommend the client send us some visual inspiration if they can.
3.2 – Quick Sketches and Basic Forms
From the first sketch in the notepad, there may be visual iconography or shapes that are appealing and worthy of development.
At this stage, we may move to the grid or dotted paper, redrawing and enlarging the original design and refining it with a pen for the next step.
3.3 – Refining the Logo with Gridlines
Further development of the logo sketches may take the form of grids and lines drawn to balance and align things correctly.
Even organic shapes can be improved with a constructed grid, be it how the logomark could sit alongside the logotype.
4.0 – Conceptualisation
Although conceptualisation can be defined as ’the forming of a concept’, at this point in the logo design process for clients, it is more a case of refining an idea further by getting onto a computer.
The ‘idea’ is given a new viewpoint when it can be viewed on a screen, allowing us to observe any immediate concerns that may have been overlooked in the sketch.
4.1 – Creating Digital Versions of the Sketchbook
The primary forms will be digitally constructed when working either with a scanner or recreating manually in Adobe Illustrator.
Having digital versions allows for quick amendments, adjustments and the ability to fine-tune the designs efficiently.
4.2 – Exploration in Monotone
Before colours are applied to any design, consideration of the logo design process must be taken in monotone black and white shades.
These are the extremes of colour, light and tone.
We see a lot of poorly created logo designs where the designer did not worry about how the logo would look in black and white.
Even though ‘fax’ as a medium is dying out, a great logo design must have the ability to look good in any format, in any output.
4.3 – Creating a Logotype
Once we have some rough ideas for the logomark, we will start thinking about how the company name will be represented through the logotype.
We will have a general idea of the style of typeface we are looking for, such as a contemporary sans-serif or old-style serif. Still, finding the perfect font for the job involves browsing through an extensive library we have collected.
If we want to be communicated to find anything that fits the bill, a stylistically ‘close’ font may be customised to fit the project’s needs.
This can be advantageous, as it further creates a unique quality to the Brand; however, expanding this to a bespoke font may add to the costs involved.
4.4 – Pulling it all together
Once we have a handful of typefaces appropriate to the Brand, we will explore how they look side-by-side with the logomark symbols created previously.
Several chosen colour palettes will be integrated into the design to see what feels like the most assertive approach.
Ultimately, this part of the logo design process involves many comparison prints that can be considered on one page.
5.0 – Refinement & Client Presentation
The strongest logo concepts will be collated into a client presentation document at this juncture.
We will show how the logo looks on various background colours, at different scales and alongside some logo mockups, such as a design rendering on a uniform or vehicle wraps.
This helps the client visualise their logo in a ‘real world’ setting rather than just central on a page.
5.1 – Colour Scheme Exploration
Again, alternative colour schemes may be presented to the client at this stage to help visualise the concept’s potential.
As we said before, colour is very subjective, and a simple hue shift can make a difference.
Maybe one of the red tones is quite vivid or a tone too light; we can show some quick alternatives to suit every eye.
5.2 – Future-proofing Adaptability
Consideration of ‘how’ the logo may know in future is taken, for we believe a logo should be timeless rather than create issues down the line or appear dated in just a few years.
5.3 – Creating Digital Mockups
For example, showing how a concept could look in real life if the client uses it on a shirt can help them see the idea itself over the visual aesthetic.
It always impresses, too, so we ensure appropriate mockups are included.
5.4 – Logo Design Presentation to Client
The initial logo design presentation is exported to a secure PDF format, allowing them to view it on screen or print it out.
Printing is always recommended as their monitor may not show colours accurately, and the embedded print profiles allow for a more accurate representation.
Each concept has its PDF, ranging from 5-10+ pages depending on the project’s scope.
6.0 – Feedback & Consultation
We advise clients to at least spend a few days, to a week, with the initial concepts, although first impressions are always worth noting.
Print them out, stick them around the house or office and let the eye be drawn to them randomly and naturally, as any real-life viewer may do when encountering the Brand.
Get feedback from trusted friends and family, including current employees who will understand the Brand through their involvement.
Even if there are mixed opinions, all are valid and provide direction that allows us to improve anything that may be needed.
After that, a meeting can be arranged, or feedback can be provided via email to move forwards.
Occasionally, we will have more questions at this stage to further extract detailed feedback from the client.
6.1 – Discuss Logo Concepts with the Client
We will spend some time discussing the concepts with the customer to gauge feedback.
The discussion may take no time if the client has found one of the concepts to be perfect for several hours if they have any uncertainties or questions that need clarifying.
It is all part of a professional logo design process!
6.2 – Advise and Provide Guidance on Selection
Usually, when we present initial concepts to clients, we will have a view on the ’strongest’ idea from the start, and showing the client these inherent qualities are often part of the discussion.
6.3 – Discuss Potential Developments the Client would like to see
Development varies considerably between projects, but overall, it is easier to develop the aesthetic side as supposed to the conceptual.
Aspects such as an alternate colour scheme or typeface can change the ‘look’, but the significance or meaning of a logo is much harder to modify.
7.0 – Concept Development
Based on the feedback and discussion with the client, we will look into developing and tweaking a chosen concept.
This may be minor changes to the colour scheme, looking at different layouts, or presenting some alternative typefaces for consideration.
In almost every case, one concept will be perfect for the client, but on occasion, we have had to go down two chosen routes where a client cannot decide.
Usually, at this point, only one or two development cycles are needed, as it comes down to a colour or style element.
8.0 – Completed Graphic Design Presentation
Similar to the initial concept presentation, this stage involves a more focused approach, where one concept has been fully fleshed out.
Further mockups and realised stationery or business cards could be presented as the next logical step.
Part Three: The Branding Process Steps
9.0 – Expansion of Brand Collateral
Once the final logo design has been signed off, providing that it is not the end of the project based on the client’s needs.
We can move to expand the logo onto the further branding process steps.
As mentioned before, a typical example is company stationery.
Everything from letterheads to business cards or marketing materials can be created.
9.1 – Create Branded Stationery based on the Final Logo Design
Based on the client’s physical location, consideration must be made of the local stationery dimensions.
A letterhead for a UK printer is very different from that of a US-based printer.
We have created several templates that suit the global location of the customer, so it is just a case of working to build the specific layouts.
9.2 – Expand the Branding onto Social Media Elements
From the social network profile images to the banners and headers, current dimensions ensure everything looks perfect for the big reveal of the new Brand Identity to the world.
9.3 – Provide any Further Brand Collateral Required – Vehicle Wraps, Signage, etc.
This step in the logo design process is always individual to the client, as not every business would need external signage.
If you run a gym, you may need to be Branded with uniforms, or if you own a car salesroom, vehicle wraps may be the better fit.
10.0 – Final Files, Delivery & Support
Everything is created in Adobe Illustrator in vector form and can be exported to any format required.
The standard files consist of: AI (for future editing if desired), .EPS / .PDF (for printing), .JPEG (for viewing) and PNG (with a transparent background for web use).
The Vector file formats allow for the maximum output range because you can scale the size without losing quality or sharpness.
This means that the logo design that looks great on a business card will also look perfect on a billboard.
10.1 – Export all Final Files and Organise
The final files for a project will be neatly arranged so that the files are clear where they will be used.
All the appropriate formats and layouts are included, along with monotone black-and-white versions for varied usage backgrounds.
10.2 – Create Brand Guidelines Document
Brand Guidelines are just the ‘rules’ of how the Brand is to be presented to the world.
They can be passed along to a web developer who can quickly see the exact colour values to be used on the website and what fonts are to be utilised in the content.
Similarly, these guidelines can be sent to a printer to ensure maximum accuracy when the documents are printed through Pantone colour values.
10.3 – Send ZIP to Client and Permanently Archive
Everything is zipped up and emailed to the customer, CC’ing any additional employees needing access to the original files.
We then permanently archive the ZIP file into our Dropbox, allowing the client to have a backup should they misplace the designs.
10.4 – Ensure Client Understands all Final Files and give Usage Instructions
We want to ensure the client knows how to use the designs they have paid us for, so we can provide immediate assistance or answer any questions they may have at any point in the future.
Further notes on Our Logo Design Process for Creating a Logo
As mentioned above, every project is truly different, one of the most enjoyable parts of being a Graphic Design Agency in Belfast.
Therefore, not every project will pass through every step above, instead of skipping anything for which the client may not have the budget.
For example, if they are looking for a professional logo design for their startup, it may not be sensible to allocate a significant budget to further the Branding process steps.
They may have already completed market research, so that can be passed along to us, which means we can proceed to the next stage with the work already done.
The above Logo Design process for clients’ Logos and Branding can be used as a template to work from if you wish to create your own Brand Identity, although we do advise working with an expert.
Hopefully, that helps; if you have questions about our professional logo design process in creating a logo for successful Brands, get in touch today!
What is the process of designing a logo?
The process of designing a logo is long and complicated. We start by researching the client and their needs. Then we start brainstorming ideas. We start with the concept and then work through the development process. We design the logo, create a prototype, and present it to the client.
What are some essential steps in the design process?
In the beginning, you’ll need to know your client’s budget. You’ll also need to determine how you want your logo to look. Then, you’ll need to create a style guide that defines your logo’s typeface, colours, and other elements. After this, you will need to begin creating concepts. You’ll need to research the client and their company. You’ll need to design a logo appropriate for the client’s industry. After you’ve designed the logo, you’ll need to create a prototype.
How many revisions are typically required during the design process?
There are usually several revisions required. You’ll be asked to change the logo during the first round of revisions. You’ll be asked to change the font, colour, and style during the second round of revisions.
How long does a logo design project usually take?
The length of a logo design project depends on many factors, including the size and complexity of the project. Some projects can take a few hours, while others can take months.
What do I need to do before starting the logo design process?
Before you start the design process, you’ll need to think about what the final result will look like. Will it be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or both? Will it be a flat, raised, or something else? Once you’ve decided on the type of logo, you’ll need to decide what colours you want. Think about the colours that will work with your brand.
What is the most critical part of a logo design process?
An essential part of a logo design process is communication. If you and the designer are on the same page, you will understand the project.
What do I need to know about the design process?
The process of designing a logo requires patience. You will spend a lot of time thinking and planning before you develop a good logo.
What are the benefits of working with a professional designer?
Working with a professional designer can be beneficial because they have the experience to ensure that the design is unique and compelling.
What’s the difference between a logo design and a brand identity?
A brand identity is a visual image representing your company and giving it a personality. It is meant to be used as a symbol of your company’s product or service. A logo, on the other hand, is used to represent your company more personally.