Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a graphic designer when making your logo? What’s the process? What do they think about? What do they need from you to get it “just right?” How do they ultimately come up with the design that fits your branding concept?
Allow me to introduce you to the creative, innovative, roller coaster-like, moving at the speed of light, not easily understood mind of a graphic designer. It’s critical to the future of your business and the initial impression you make to know how they arrive at a branding concept, which in most cases begins with a logo.
Before we dive into the process let me just say a few words about THE LOGO. (Can you hear the intro music)?
A logo sets the precedent for your entire branding concept. It establishes color, scheme, style, and dimensions. Being specific about your concept will help a graphic designer create your website, business cards, envelopes, pens, and any items you choose to market. It’s important! Your logo is the cornerstone that dictates the layout and design of your marketing material.
Now let’s get into the mind of a graphic designer!
Your logo is the cornerstone that dictates the layout and design of your marketing material!
There are 7 key elements to remember when hiring a graphic artist to design your logo. These essentials are things the designer should be doing and can help determine two things:
1. The possibility of doing business with the designer, and if so,
2. It will help ensure that you get what you want, when you want, and how you want it. These are steps that I utilize with each of my clients to create an enjoyable experience throughout the design process.
Giving Due Diligence
A graphic designer will want to know as much as possible about a company – its history, culture, vision, mission, and values to be able to create a logo that accurately reflects who and what the company is. They will ask specific questions to “get into the mind” of the owner or company designee so that in their design they can create an image that is appropriate, relevant, and cutting-edge. This is the first and most important part of the process. Without this the logo design development will lack direction and focus. If your designer didn't take the time to find out about your company, then you may end up with a nice "thrown-together" logo that is completely disconnected with your company's voice.
Most designers will provide you with a branding worksheet or even schedule a consultation to find out as much detail as possible to help gear them in the right direction.
Give your designer as much information as possible about the "feel" of your company, what your company tone is (ie. playful, serious, upscale, etc.) at the beginning of the project. This shows your designer that you're on your game and organized and it helps cut down the time-frame a whole lot!
Finding Out Your Target Audience
A target audience helps a designer craft an image that is palatable to a desired market. It provides clues and valuable information to ensure a quality product that will not only be acceptable, but will attract onlookers and potential business. The goal is to “blow them away” and in order to do that a designer will need to know who the image is intended for.
A certain amount of research must be done in order to hone in on your ideal audience. Once that audience is discovered, it makes it easier to choose a color palette and font style that will appeal to that particular audience.
Finding Out Your Branding Touchpoints
Where and how will the logo be used? Website? T-shirts? Social media? These are known as "touchpoints" which is a term used to describe every place that a customer will encounter your brand. Knowing where the logo will be used dictates the design dimensions and what can and can’t be done from a creative and aesthetic point of view.
A designer may provide you with different variations of your logo to be used in different situations. All of the variations, along with fonts and color palettes are then put into a branding style guide for you to have access to and use for other projects.
Sketching, Sketching, and More Sketching
After the initial information has been gathered that’s when the fun begins! At this point your designer is preparing drafts based on your concept. You will need lots of drafts to choose from to determine which one is close to what you want or is exactly what you were looking for. Oftentimes it’s the final ideas that are the best, not the initial ones. Even if you like the initial design ask for more examples so that you can make a decision that has been weighed against several options. Additionally, be sure to discuss with the designer the number of proofs allotted for the project.
After your designer chooses which examples to present to you, those designs are normally drafted in Adobe Illustrator (that’s what I use), or some other vector editing software and presented to you for your feedback as discussed in Step 4.
Find out what programs your designer uses when creating logos BEFORE you sign a contract or give a down-payment. If your designer says Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Paint, or even Powerpoint, then RUN AND NEVER LOOK BACK! Those software programs are for creating raster images ONLY. A logo should ALWAYS be created in some type of vector editing software. This allows your logo to be scaled to fit in places as large as a billboard and as small as a pen without losing quality, or becoming distorted.
This part of the process involves quite a bit of back and forth between the client and the designer and constitutes the longest part of the process. This is the time where the designer brainstorms and works with the client to “get it right.” During the refinement stage colors, styles, details, etc. may be altered to hone in on the branding concept from which all other marketing pieces will emanate. After the refining process is complete the final logo is chosen, approved, and prepared for the final stage: identity or branding development.
Now your logo is complete! You can now begin the designing process for your business stationery and other communication pieces to begin to solidify your brand.
Your designer should provide you with one or more of the following file formats:
- .JPEG - used widely on the web. Supported by every browser. Cannot be enlarged without loss of image quality.
- .EPS - for use in print only NOT for web. (T-Shirt printers and promo product printers will normally ask for this type of file). Can be scaled to any size without losing quality. Perfect for large format printing.
- .AI - Your designer may or may not provide you with this file type because it requires Adobe Illustrator to open. Can be scaled to any size without losing quality.
- .PNG - for use on web, can feature a transparent background.
- .PDF - used for both print and web (view/download).
That’s the logo process in a nutshell! After this your designer will have a pretty good idea of what works for you, which will make future projects even more enjoyable than the logo design.
Do you have a logo already? If you don't, and you’re ready to make an ULTIMATE impact with your brand contact me today! Or, maybe you already have a logo, but it's outdated and needs a redesign. I can help with that as well! Click HERE to check out my logo packages!