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Logo creation is not an easy process: every step requires a lot of thought, information processing, and creativity.
- First, you need to do design research, seeing how the brand’s competitors visually identify themselves: to make sure you’re creating a truly unique design, that suits the brand’s industry.
- Then, you need to work on the logo’s memorability: make it simple, and pick the appropriate color scheme.
- When this process is done, and a prototype’s verified by a client, the work goes on to make a design scalable for every size, and flexible for every situation it’ll be used in.
- Think of perfect lines, perfect shapes, perfect color choices, and perfect name readability.
Throughout every step mentioned, it’s a lot of work, with a huge number of small tasks that need to be done. Sometimes it gets messy, hard to concentrate and just a tad overwhelming.
I have been working as a logo designer for 3 years now and over the years I managed to come up with a little strategic plan, helping me to become a bit more productive with my work — at every step of the process.
At the base of this plan — tools, both offline and online. Today — I’m gonna share some of them with you. Because, sharing is caring, you know.
Interested in what steps I singled out and shared my own lifehacks? Keep on reading!
The briefing & inspiration
Before starting to work on any logo you have to prepare a brief for the client. Apart from the usual mission-vision, values, etc, that designers usually ask a brand, I like to be a bit more creative with this part of the work.
I always ask the client these questions:
- What are the personalities of your brand and its emotional connections?
- Can you name 4 trends that your company is following? (For example Authenticity, Eco-friendliness, Openness, Cute flaws, Affordable luxury, Design of high quality, etc).
- What does your brand look, sound, and smell like?
- What styles are you inspired by?
Once I have a picture of how a brand should look, feel, and be communicated, I move on to looking for inspiration in one of the services like Dribble or Pinterest (I guess there is no need to go into details about those services? Everybody knows them). There, I find references for the client to check out and create a mood board later on.
Looking for references by myself allows me to determine what the client wants a lot more accurately. Usually, clients are not sure what exactly they want, and giving them an option to choose from makes my work go smoother. Also, the references they find and send are not helpful 5 times out of 10.
After I’m done with looking for the inspiration images, it’s time to create a project board. For this task, I like using Milanote. I upload the images, add comments. Then I write out the values, mission, vision of the brand I am working for.
I note my ideas and create a mood board, which I share with my client. This site allows me to share the board I’ve created directly, so the client can visit a page and leave their comments directly in a file.
As soon as the mood board is approved by a client, I can get to the prototyping phase.
Picture credits: Pinterest
Some designers like to sketch their ideas traditionally — there’s nothing more relaxing than drawing on paper with a cup of tea. For the times I am in a mood and have enough time, I have a little sketchbook for my ideas.
When I draw, I like to also note my thought process behind every logo — how does it reflect the brand and its mission?
This is where I usually work, in a digital format. The application is perfect if you like working on your iPad, and willing to purchase it for $9.99. The app is super user-friendly, with a list of shortcuts that will allow you to shorten the time you spend on sketching.
The streamline integrated into the app will help your designs to look almost finished right away, offering the vision of how the logo will look like when fully designed.
I think a lot of you will agree that Adobe Illustrator is one of the best options when it comes to graphic design. I use it in my work all the time whether it is to create the logos we’re talking about today or any other design.
The application runs on a monthly subscription of $19.99 and provides an awesome functionality range for every designer, or artist.
If you’re looking for a free alternative to Illustrator, Inkspace is the one. It lets you create vector designs of varying complexities, logotypes included. I personally know a handful of designers who choose to work on Inkscape over Illustrator. You should definitely try it out.
Once you’re done with designing your prototypes you need to visualize them in the real-world. If you’re using Illustrator, Live Surface is a great tool for that purpose. It integrates into the app and allows you to prepare mockups of how your designs would look on the website, on business cards, banners, etc.
An essential thing to add to your presentation: your client needs to see not the design separately from reality, they need to see it as if it’s already implemented.
Last but not least in the very slightest is presentation. It’s a known fact already that presentation is sometimes more important than the design itself, otherwise days of hard work on every step I mentioned earlier in the article can go straight to the garbage.
So, here’s what I do — I create a brand book for each of the prototypes. For this task, I use Gingersauce, an online brand book creation tool. I have been looking for something like this forever, and it’s the most professional option I managed to find.
Basically, I upload a logo to their web-application and the system generates all the options by itself. You just need to pick the already prepared logo misuses, blank space, variations as you go. You can also upload those mockups you’ve created before, add color palettes, mission-vision statements. Everything a brand book has, in sum. Super easy, super fast.
This way I can prepare a cool presentation for every logo I design and get the client to choose the one they like faster.
There are a lot of tools nowadays, both paid and free, to use for the creations of designs, logos in particular. In this post I have described the way I go through my creative process — but what is yours?
Hope this post helped and share the tools you personally use while creating your visuals!