Rick Mess | Jun 5, 2021
Designing a logo is the first step in building your brand and a mark of professionalism in business. Most business people understand that today no company can thrive without a logo. But not everyone knows what a real logo is or how it works.
A logo is more than just a company’s face and identifier in the online and offline markets. To the consumers, the logo is a guarantee of quality; to the business partners, it’s a signal that the company is trustworthy. This is how market reasoning goes: if a company has a high-quality logo, this quality extends to its activities, namely producing goods and rendering services. The logo helps the company stand out among the competitors, making it recognizable and memorable. The logo forms the basis for the brand’s visual identity. Exclusive rights to the logo and corporate style provide legal protection of the company’s assets.
A well-designed logo is functional. It must work. A logo does not fulfill its function if it was created without regard to (or in violation of) marketing and design rules.
1. Presenting the company in the marketplace.
2. Informing the market and the audience.
3. Shaping the brand’s image.
4. Making the company and its product stand out among competitors.
5. Protecting property rights.
6. Guaranteeing quality to the consumers.
7. Drawing attention to the brand.
8. Increasing consumer loyalty.
9. Serving as the basis of the corporate style.
If the logo fails to accomplish any of the above tasks, it needs to be redesigned based on marketing analysis and a reappraised design concept.
Analytics + Idea + Design Concept = Realization
The secret to a good logo is thoughtful analysis which will logically lead to the appropriate idea and form the basis of the design concept.
Learning about the process of logo development will help you see and understand how a professional logo is born and what steps it requires from the customer and the designer.
A brief is a survey-like document. It comprises several logical blocks (marketing, design, administration). The brief is used to tell the designers the main information on the project, the goals and objectives, the requirements and wishes of the client.
The brief minimizes errors in the project and helps the client and the designer understand each other earlier. So it’s a good idea to take the time to answer all questions of the survey.
A brief also covers contact information, deadlines, and budget.
Any research done independently by the client is priceless to the designers. Nevertheless, professional designers will always do their own analysis: study the market, the brand’s competitors, their logos and identities, examine contemporary visual trends as applicable to the project at hand. Special attention is paid to analyzing the company itself, its positioning, mission, values, goals, and priorities. Target audience research is also crucial: the brand should speak the same language and find an emotional key to its consumers.
Concept development can be provisionally divided into two elements: the intellectual part and ideas & visualization. This is the most difficult and demanding stage of creation, often requiring a team brainstorm session. Brainstorming implies several stages:
Analytical conclusions — Ideological contents — Verbal description of image — Associations — Image visualization
The concept for the logo is based on brand ideology and includes the versions of the visual “message” that will work toward the stated goal. The main task is creating a brand image — first as a verbal description, then through association, and ultimately as a visualization.
The best versions of the concept are then used to make sketches.
The sketches for the logo are first drawn manually on paper. It’s customary to do between 16 and 20 versions. Photos of the sketches are sent to the client for review. This is followed by a conference-call discussion so that the client can choose the best 3 to 4 versions.
The chosen sketches are recreated in digital format (usually with Adobe Illustrator). Details are filled in, various color solutions and elements are added. Two versions for the text design are chosen: positioning relative to the graphics, size, font. In typographic logos (those that consist of text or a stylized inscription), every letter is processed and every element drawn out, transforming a mere inscription into a text sign.
The finished sketches are also discussed with the client.
Apart from versions of the logo, the final presentation normally also includes examples of logo placements on products, in corporate paperwork, advertising communiques, etc. The logo is accompanied by a “history” — a description of the graphic’s features, its possible interpretations, advantages and disadvantages.
The presentation is followed by another discussion, which concludes with the client approving the final version of the logo.
The approved version is rendered in different formats (EPS, JPEG, TIFF) for various media. If necessary, different color versions of the logo are made: full color, monochrome, black and white. Sometimes a simplified version is presented for smaller rendering options. The finished files are delivered to the client. They will be used to implement the logo in advertising products, corporate paperwork, and so on. They will become an important basis of the company’s corporate style.
In the process of creating a logo, the client and the designer agency become partners and collaborators. This tandem will result in a proper, visually perfect, and meaningful logo — a functional marketing tool.