Resplendence, a blog from Radiant Resolution about graphic design

My Creative Process: Designing a Logo


Often people will ask me where they can get a free logo, or how they can design one themselves. While there are several websites that help you generate a logo for free (but pay a fee for the high resolution files), please remember you are getting what you pay for.

When you hire a designer, you’re getting more than just a final product of a (hopefully) beautiful logo. You are getting lots of research, experience, professionalism, AND original files at no extra fee. Many people are interested in my process for designing a logo, so I thought I’d share what it is I do, and why it’s worth it to hire a designer. Disclaimer: This is my personal creative process which I have adapted after years of design classes, two degree, and years of professional experience. Sometimes my process changes from client to client and not everyone works the same way, but this was the way that was encouraged during my design education.

Learning About Your Company, Target Audience, and Goals

My very first step is to discuss with my client in detail what they are looking for, and their long-term plans for their company. I want to create a timeless logo that can continue to represent the company forever, based on their target marketing audience and plans for growth in the future. I also compare logos from competitors, which brings us to...

Research

I do plenty of research before even starting a client's logo. I'll research competitors, similar types of companies, successful companies and unsuccessful companies. I research what has worked in the past and what has not, and avoid ideas that have already been done.

Building an Artboard

An artboard is a collection of inspirational material, and can include anything from photos to color swatches, to fonts and shapes, all that embody the essence of the work you want to create. I'll pick a large variety of different looks on my artboard in order to create a variety of logos for the client to choose from. The artboard gets the creative juices flowing.

Sketching

For more detailed illustrations, I start on paper. For other designs I sketch to the computer, roughing in different design concepts. Just like an athlete needs to stretch to prepare for a workout or competition, designers have to warm up their brain before designing. My first few logo designs are almost never even included in the first pass samples I send to my client.

Try All The Fonts!

There are so many options when it comes to fonts, and they really make or break a logo. You may think it's not important, but the stronger typographical background your designer has, the higher quality product you will receive, guaranteed.

Drawing Icons

It's pretty rare that I'll have a request for a text-only logo, so I'll normally include different options for the icon portion of the logo. I keep refining each icon until I have several varieties to give the client a few options.

Fine Adjustments to Text

When you use a free logo design interface on the web, you'll get to choose between several fonts made available to everyone. But, you won't be able to make small (or really any) adjustments to individual letters. I refine my logos and make necessary tweaks so everything flows perfectly.

Color Choices

Normally, my first set of logos is shown to the client in black and white. Any successful logo needs to work well in black and white, one color, and on a dark or busy background. This particular client already decided on the primary color being red, so in my first proof I included color samples in variations with red.

Final Refinements

Once the client chooses a logo design or two, I refine the design further to provide several options. Lastly, I prepare the files when the client chooses a logo. I create a black and white version, one-color, full color, and alternate logo for a dark background. I also throw in a pre-sized social media version for free.

Exclusive Licensing and Trademarks

Lastly is some paperwork. I release all rights of the logo artwork to the client. Some designers may retain some rights to the logo, for instance, they may state that the client has to return to the designer for any changes to the artwork and the client may not make changes themselves or seek another designer. I believe that if my client is happy with my work, I don't need to include this in my paperwork. Let the work speak for itself, and the client will gladly come back for more.

So that's the creative process of my logo from concept to creation. When a client pays a designer for a logo, think of all the time that goes into the design (all of these steps). The cheaper the price, the fewer steps. Which of these steps are you willing to eliminate for a cheaper logo?

And how would a FREE logo look and work for your company throughout the years? My guess is a costly rebrand in the near future would be in store. So start out the right way. Don't try to save money on the most important part of building your business' identity.Save

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About Brittany Klein

Brittany Klein is a freelance graphic designer from Maryland. She established her company, Radiant Resolution, in 2008 after receiving her Master of Arts degree in graphic design from Savannah College of Art & Design. She has since written blogs, e-books, and articles centered around graphic design and fine art for many organizations across the country.

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