Logo Design is a major part of the branding process. It can say everything about
your business and its intention on the marketplace you have chosen to enter like these four instantly recognisable global logo designs: I Love NY, Nike, London Underground, Apple.
We’ve selected 10 professional tips to help you get an insight what goes into logo design. At Product Agency we practice certain principles pretty much every day when working on logo design for clients. We therefore thought it might be beneficial to uncover what goes on behind the scenes.
It’s also important to note that the creative synergy between client and graphic designer massively benefits when the client has done some homework first. To most people logos serve as an instant reminder of a company or a product; to the client they’re the point of identification on which their branding sits. To graphic designers they represent the challenge of integrating our clients’ ideologies into one single graphic or image.
We’re surrounded by logos all the time be it on or offline. We now live in an age where everyone must have a website or social media site that supports their product, service or indeed the company behind it. The world now demands top-class logo design and the need for it has never been higher, so getting it right really
First things first
01. Logo Design 101
Logo design should be appropriate, distinctive, graphic, convey an intended message, practical, unique and simple in form. As mentioned above a logo is an identifiable image and should follow the principles of other effective logos proven to be relevant and successful.
• Simple. Not overly complicated or containing too many elements.
• Unique. Easy to recognize, versatile and memorable.
• Enduring. Effective logos endure the test of time. Will it still be relevant in 10, 20, 30 years time?
• Versatile. Able to work across a variety of mediums and applications.
• Appropriate. What is its intended purpose? Is it suitable for the marketplace?
02. The design process
At Product as a rule of thumb we use the following design process with our clients:
• Design brief. Meet with the client to ask questions and learn briefly about their business in order to work up the design brief.
• Research. We research focused on their industry itself, the history of it, and their competitors.
• Reference. Research into logo designs that have been successful and current styles and trends that are related to the design brief.
• Sketching and conceptualising. Develop the logo design concepts around the brief and research.
• Reflection and sharing. We always take breaks during the design process and draw ideas from our colleagues. Doing this generates different viewpoints and helps renew enthusiasm. Always get feedback.
• Presentation. Choose to present only a select few logos to the client or a whole collection. Get feedback and repeat until completed.
A number of factors are taken into consideration when designing a logo/brand identity, such as how many concepts need to be presented, how many revisions will be needed, how much research is required, how big the business is and so on. So, “How much will it cost?” isn’t easy to answer as a first client question.
The time it takes to work on a project is a major factor in how you produce a quote. Then there’s the quality of our work, the talent, skill and expertise which all factor in how work is charged. Our clients stay with us for a reason.
04. Logo forefathers
Researching and understanding brands that have succeeded in the past and continue to work today in essential. Nike’s Swoosh (picture above) created by Carolyn Davidson in 1971 is a perfect example of a strong, memorable logo, effective without colour and easily scalable. Not many people know what it actually represents. Davidson chose it because it is the wing in the famous statue of the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike. Perfect then as the figure for a sporting apparel business.
05. Avoid clichés
Avoid the obvious; speech bubbles for ‘discussion’, globes for ‘international’, and the dreaded light bulb for ideas. Brainstorming is great but if it pops into your thoughts easily, then for the same reason it should be shelved. Remember it needs to be unique. Plagiarism isn’t a good idea either. Lawsuits aren’t the publicity you’re really looking for. Also don’t use stock or clip art either —logo design has to be unique and original.
06. Research your target market
Effective logo design must communicate a brand message as well as looking good; developing a brand and communicating it to the intended market position all in one. It makes sense, then, that the first step in creating a logo design should be to research these concepts. Clients and graphic designers need to be aligned at this early stage as the interpretation of the brand can differ so it’s therefore essential that the message is clear before any actual designing takes place.
07. Deep immersion
Researching the company you are designing for is really important and previous work can’t be disregarded just because it’s old or not your own. What a company does and their demographic is vital to the success of the design. We look at previous versions of their logo design and ask what doesn’t represent the brand on these.
08. Keep all sketches & notes
Old sketches, scrapbook entries and notes can be a great source of new inspiration for any project. Note our Last American Burger Company design work. We used many previous ideas to really bolster the overall design and most of those were logo sketches unused for previous projects.
09. Research online
There’s a world of information out there but only a few that really focus in this topic that we use. Logo Moose and Logo Gala.
However, knowing when to call it a day researching is also a skill. Picking relevant logos and ideas to that which you are working on is the best advice so you don’t end up further away from your overall goal.
10. Imitation isn’t always flattery
Over the years certain styles become popular and way back when we started out design heroes would have us bewitched with their unique designs. However, in the real world professional designers don’t emulate or copy those that they have been influenced by, it’s just seen as a lazy way to solve a creative problem. It might not even be relevant. In the end the client are pays for the creative ideas we possess based on our previous work and we’re always happy to be challenged and produce unique work everyone is happy with.
“The public is more familiar with bad design than good design. It is, in effect, conditioned to prefer bad design, because that is what it lives with. The new becomes threatening, the old reassuring.” — Paul Rand
Paul Rand was an American art director and graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs, including the logos for IBM, UPS, Enron, Morningstar, Inc., Westinghouse, ABC, and Steve Jobs’s NeXT.