Tip Tuesday: Critical Steps to Effective Logo Design

While they look like they’re just small images, logos carry a whole lot of meaning–and designing one comes with a whole lot of responsibility. Logos are usually the most recognizable representation of a company or organization. Think of it as the face of the company’s body. And with more information available to the average consumer today, logos also have to quickly and effectively communicate on behalf of their brand.

I thought it would be interesting to provide what I know about logo design in hopes of educating you before walking down the wrong pixel path. How are designers able to capture an organization’s mission and personality into a single, simple image, especially when they aren’t a part of the organization themselves?

Design Brief. Gather as much information about the vision for your logo. How do you imagine it feeling? Are there any important colors to consider? Most importantly, who is the customer, what motivates them, and what are they looking for in a logo?

  1. Research. Conduct research focused on the industry itself, its history, and its competitors. What’s the primary sales motivator in the industry? What brands are winning and why?
  2. Reference. Conduct research into logo designs that have been successful, along with current styles and trends that are related to your industry or business. In my experience, I gather between 25-40 logos and narrow them down to five.
  3. Sketching and Conceptualizing. Creativity is the most important while developing the logo design concept or concepts. This is where the designer creates the logo by using the design brief and the conducted research. It doesn’t matter whether you use a napkin to sketch, some use a sketchbook, and some use the computer as paper, this is all a matter of personal choice. However, using a computer first up is not recommended.
  4. Reflection. In my experience, taking breaks throughout the design process can be very fruitful. This allows your ideas to mature and lets you get renewed enthusiasm. This is also a time to get feedback from the right people. People who are either designers or potential customers of the brand. I typically spend 2-3 days in reflection.
  5. Revisions. Even the best of us don’t knock out a logo on the first shot. This phase is meant to narrow down your ideas to 2-3 concepts (all should be capable of working as final logos).
  6. Mockup. Start with Black & White…if your logo doesn’t resonate the message in black and white, color might make it prettier to the client but won’t ultimately represent the brand image you want. A logo by itself on a plain sheet of paper or in a photoshop file is in its least native space. Nobody will ever see it there. Instead, it will be seen on business cards, your website, or even in an animated version in a video. Take your final revisions and mock them up in a usage where they will likely be seen. It’s this perspective that will help you make your final decision.
  7. Finalize. Choose your final logo and make final file versions with proper colors, sizes, and fonts for ease of use in the future. For my process, I create an Adobe Illustrator vector file, a high-resolution PSD, JPG and PNG, and smaller versions for web use in places like social media or on your website.

Peace, Love and Digital!


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