For small business owners or other creative types that are trying to create their own logo, wouldn’t it be nice if you could tap into the minds of the greatest logo designers? Well, luckily, someone did that for you. Leslie Carbarga was nice enough to write a book called The Secret Life of Logos: Behind the Design of 80 Great Logos. In it, Carbarga interviews 75 top designers and outlines their logo designing process, which we can all use.
Here’s an outline of that process.
1. The brief. Obviously, a designer needs to know what kind of company she is designing the logo for. This can be a face-to-face meeting or an exchange of emails, chats, whatever. This is where you get to know the owner or creative manager and get to know the company. What are its values? What kind of feelings should their logo portray?
2. Research on the industry. You knew this one was coming! You need to know the company’s competitors and other complementary companies to know how to make your client’s logo stand out.
3. Visual research. This is where you start to seek out the visual style you want the logo to have. This is where the designer refreshes himself on what approach is best for the kind of style needed to portray the feelings needed of the logo. This is also the step in which designers get inspiration. This is where you ask “Why do I like this logo and not that one?” Designers gain a better understanding of the competition and the industry by looking at others’ visuals.
Some in the book actually skip this step, instead wanting to not be tainted by others’ ideas. Designers that do perform this step think that those that skip it are limiting their design.
4. Sketching and conceptualizing. This is when ideas get down on paper. Whether you’re drawing on a sketchbook or the back of a letter, this is where the ideas pour forth. The designers don’t recommend getting to the computer quite yet. This is where a deeper meaning comes about in the design, such as the arrow in the FedEx logo (between the “E” and the “x”).
5. Reflection. Take a break. You’ve earned it! Plus, your brain will actually keep working on the logo design even if you aren’t consciously thinking about it. It’s the equivalent of “sleeping on it.” If you don’t have the luxury of sleeping on it because of deadline, do something else for a little while to give your conscious a break from designing the logo. This is also a good time to get feedback from others.
6. Positioning. This is where a designer either takes orders from the clients in how the logo should look, or where the designer advises the client on how the logo should look. Every designer takes a different approach, and it could depend on the client.
7. Presentation. This is when you show the client your work. You can show a large variety of logo designs or just a few. Depends on how you work and what the client wants.
8. Celebrate! Woo hoo! The client picked a design from your presentation and now you drink beer, eat chocolate or take a nap. At least, that’s what the top designers say they do. Although, many can’t do any of those because they’re starting work on their next logo design!
So there you have it. Now you know how the pros do it so you can take a stab at it. Or if you hire a logo designer, you can at least appreciate her process.