Published On: June 10, 2008
JLB has been growing ever since I came on board 6 months ago. We’ve really morphed from a mostly Web design firm to more of a full service design firm. Where we once specialized in Web design, CMS creation and SEO, we now concentrate on print and identity as well as all things Web.
At the tail end of last year, a company creating a new residential community in the Franklin area approached us to help them form a corporate identity and create all marketing materials based on that brand. We’ve been developing and designing for almost 5 months now and in that process, we’ve realized a few things about ourselves. Over the course of a few weeks, I’m going to start from the beginning of the design process and explain how we got to where we are right now.
Step One: Identify Yourself
Designing a logo is a pretty in-depth process. I have to find a way to graphically encompass the personality/ethos/culture of the organization. How do I represent all of those things while using text, maybe an icon or mark and only 2 colors?
When we’re first introduced to the client, there are a series of questions we ask to get a basic understanding of what the company does and what exactly they want to portray. It’s extremely important at this point to not only listen (and listen good, boy) to what the client is saying but also examine their personality and the personality of their business. I usually start the brainstorming process while we’re actually getting to know the client and taking notes. (Often times research is important when creating logos for clients. Not too long ago, I had to design a logo that appealed to 12-16 year old girls. I’m not a 14-year-old girl, so I had to watch a lot of Hannah Montana to understand what appeals to them. It was awesome. Anyway…)
In logo design, instead of failing and going back to the drawing board, you want to spend most of your time at the drawing board. Once I’ve gathered the appropriate information, I start sketching out ideas on a pad of paper (well, vellum usually). This is where I draw or write every little idea I’ve had regarding this project. There are no bad ideas at this point. Everything should be treated as a potential logo design. I don’t even go near the computer until I’ve drawn out lots of logo ideas.
Once I’ve finished putting the basic ideas on paper, I review what I’ve done and pull out the best 5 or 10 ideas and expand on them. I’ll take th ose ideas and then move to the computer to develop black and white “roughs.” This handful of logo roughs will be what I eventually show the client to get feedback. I know some designers like to show the client their basic logo sketches and like to receive feedback throughout the process, but I prefer having something a little more polished before they see it.
On a good day, the client will love the direction I’m going in and pick a logo from the 5 roughs and then move on to choosing color. Usually, the client will see the roughs and comment on where I’m going and make suggestions for tweaks, or sometimes complete redesigns. When I go back to tweak the designs, I usually like to add a little color to the logo. By this time I’ve already had certain color combinations in my head so it’s easy for me to throw some color into the mix. Again, I know some designers don’t start the color choosing process until the logo is totally completed, but I like to keep things moving (I rarely have the luxury of spending a large amount of time on a logo).
This is a very quick and basic explanation of the process I use to design logos. When it comes to more in depth branding, there are a few more steps involved. I’ll cover those steps and move into print collateral design in my next post.