Tips for a Successful Logo Design
Recently, I was hired to do a logo for a creative industry recruiter. Here is the process we went down and the final result.
He had in mind what he wanted in terms of things like color, but I needed to find out more than just that in order to get to a final result that everyone would be happy with. A logo is more than just lines, colors, and shapes. It is the essence of the brand. Creating a logo should not be taken lightly. It should be done with extra care and love. So take a look at the journey I took to create a logo for the new company, “Creative Staffing Professionals.”
Understanding the Brand/Client
One of the first exercises I like to do with a new client regarding a logo design is to ask them to describe their brand in a couple of sentences or a few words. That way, we can set the stage for what the logo should convey. I also ask them to send me examples of logos they love and hate so I can gauge their taste.
In this case, the client wanted to convey Professionalism, Creativity, Trust, Connectivity, Calmness, and Ease.
After the a few verbal discussions and getting an idea of what the client wants, I translate this into a quick visual. Taking things from the web and elsewhere, I create a mood board. It’s easy to copy and paste images into this form and send it off to a client to review. I’ll put some things that represent the target words, from the very mundane to those that are a little more abstract. For example, in this case I threw in some images of a turtle. A turtle represents calmness, longevity, and trust — a few qualities that this client wanted to convey in their mark.
Maybe there is thing I could do with turtles, hmm. I like the idea of different-colored, overlapping rectangles. Gives me the idea to try a concept that has colored bars overlapping to form the letters C, S, and P. I also like the idea of bees — worker bees, if you will. It goes with recruiting, right? The honeycomb also creates a nice, base visual. So, I collected some honeycomb-type shapes and included them in the mood board as well. I also include the colors that the client specifically called out that he liked, in order to bring it all together. This is quick and dirty stuff, but it really helps set the mood (get it?).
Sometimes, before I begin digital “sketching,” I like to hand sketch on paper some basic ideas I have for a logo. Here, I can quickly explore shapes and combinations of shapes before I hit the computer. It is also a nice break from doing everything on the computer. This actually does save time since I’ll sketch out the good, the bad, and ugly. In other words, you can quickly see what might work and what will definitely not work.
Black & White Digital Comps
Next up is sketching in digital and reviewing it with client. This next tip is important, very important. Do not send your logo “ideas” in color in this first stage. Don’t do it.
More often than not, the client is going to get bogged down by color and not focus on the main forms at hand. Having your logo ideas in gray scale is also a good mental reminder to the client that these are ideas, not final designs. You need your client to focus on one idea to move forward with or you will go on forever and ever in idea land. (That might be OK if you are getting paid per hour and they have approved 1 billion hours.) The point is that a never-ending flurry of ideas is a slippery slope — you get the idea.
If the logo is more of a mark and less a “typeface” type of logo, then leave out the typography, too, if possible. Leave that for later. Again, focus on deciding on a concept/idea to go forward with. This is key. The tricky part is that it is up to you to keep your client focused on making a decision.
Once the client does decide on one of your main ideas/directions, then you can start doing variations on that idea and get one step closer to the final result!
Cleaned Up Digital Sketches
At this stage you will be doing a lot. You’ll be taking the main logo idea and push and pull it until it looks just right. You will also take the color palette the client said he or she wanted and apply it. You can also fool around with some typefaces. In this case, we are doing both a logo icon as well as deciding what type face said mark will go with. For this client, the logo consists of the mark and the words, Creative Staffing Professionals, spelled out.
The idea we decided to go forward with is the overlapping color bars that make up the letter CSP (Creative Staffing Professionals). Here it is in color so you can get a better idea.
I also explored a number of typefaces with the client.
Well, I am still in the process of finalizing this logo. I will post it once it’s there, though. So, this is a to-be-continued story, as they say. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.
Check out the hand sketches the logo designer for Exxon did. The designer’s name is Raymond Loewy. He also designed the Shell logo that’s still in use today. Cool stuff. Enjoy!
Tell us what you're thinking. Leave a comment.