As a designer, I am often asked how I go about creating a logo. I can’t begin to claim I know the best way to develop a logo but below are just a few things that work for me and have helped me along in my process. Use what you would like and toss what you don’t think will work. Being comfortable in your methods will help you confidently present and sell your ideas.
Tips & Tricks:
Client Needs and Desires: What does the client want? Who is the target audience? What message are they trying to convey or sell? What is missing from their current logo? It is important to know what the client envisions for their logo. I ask for keywords to describe their brand along with inspiration and styles they like.
Research: Understanding the business and brand is crucial. Get any and all information you can from the client about the product, market research, biggest competitors, and future plans. Don’t be afraid to do research and reading on your own. The better understanding you have, the better you will be able to develop a logo that positively represents the company.
Keywords and Style Inspiration: Style is important. If a client says, ‘I don’t like clean and modern’, then you have to refresh your thinking. Don’t waste your time on something they are never going to like. Keywords help create symbols and choose typefaces. ‘Trustworthy’ conjures up images of hands shaking whereas ‘natural’ is often symbolized by trees and other plant life. Finding meaning in keywords will help create a symbol with meaning or choose a font that represents the feeling the client is trying to portray.
Typefaces: Like I have said before, ask the client what they like and do not like first. If they like anything and everything (which never happens) then use keywords to describe the typeface. Modern is associated with clean, simple typography whereas retro is associated with fun, script-like type. It is important to choose a font that can be read at any size as well. What is the point of a logo if it is illegible?
Mark: Not every logo needs just a typeface or needs an icon mark. Some work well with both and some are better off with one or the other. For example Nike is great as a word mark, the swoosh stands strong on its own, but they also both work well together. Use your judgment. If a symbol doesn’t add to the brand don’t use it. If a simple typeface isn’t getting the message across add an icon that represents the brand and has meaning.
Three Types of Logos
1. Logomark/Wordmark – Made of a typeface only. Ex. Etsy, Disney, Coca-Cola
2. Icon/Symbol – Use only an icon. Ex. Volkswagen, Twitter, Apple
3. Combination Mark – Uses a typeface and an icon. Ex. Starbucks, Nasa, Adidas
Sketching: It is important to get all of your ideas out there. Sometimes I make a mess of my artboards in illustrator. Sometimes it is in a notebook. Either way, no idea is stupid. Designers are visual people and the only way to get a feel for your concept is to create your idea as is and work from there.
Building: Keep creating and developing your ideas. Don’t settle on a logo because it looks okay. It takes time to develop a memorable logo that accurately symbolizes a brand/company.