There are many different methods on logo design and there is no sure fire way to come up with a cracking logo. I find the trick is to take all of the requirements from the client on board and look around the web for inspiration before you start doodling.
Almost everything has been done in some way, shape or form before so looking at existing logos and combining styles and techniques from each is a good way to bring something together.
It’s important to emphasise that when I say ‘get inspiration from existing logos’, I don’t mean copy them. Anyone can grab someones design and add a different company name under the mark.
You don’t want to end up on www.logothief.com!
Here I’ll share the process I used from a logo design for a garden centre this week.
First, the client’s brief included comments such as ‘more modern’ and to ‘suit the style of the new site’. I also had to bear in mind its usage – it was going on the side of a dark vehicle and would also be used on swing boards and signage, presumably.
The text was to include the name, part of the address and possibly the phone number too. This obviously ruled out a mark logo.
‘F. Tate & Sons, Larkhill Nurseries, Ripon Garden Centre’ was the text to be incorporated in the logo, but I had permission to lose the ‘Ripon Garden Centre’ bit if need be.
A quick search of garden centre logos revealed nearly everyone tends to use some kind of leaf or tree in the design so I thought I’d produce one concept with a tree or flower, one without and a wildcard.
Note, I only ever present/produce 3 concepts as any more tends to confuse the client. Three is the magic number, any half decent graphic design book will tell you that.
I knew I wanted to use strong typefaces so the logo could easily be recognised whether the vehicle was whizzing past you or it was on the top of your till receipt. But first I needed some concepts.
Enter pencil and paper.
I started doodling and carried on riffing until I had around 20 different logos based around 5 – 10 ideas.
My initial thought was a park bench plaque type logo, modern and tight – which is where my first logo was born.
My second one was to include the leaf or flower but still based around the strong typeface.
And finally my third I had the text as the body of a watering can and included a spout to the right. Looking at it now, I didn’t really pull this off so I’m not surprised it was discarded.
Once I chose my 3, I fired up Illustrator, setup my document and started going through my typefaces. With them chosen I started working on the leaf and watering can, then finally brushed them all up before saving each to its own artboard on a background one shade above white to present to the client.
Note my strongest concept was first and my weakest last.
To my surprise number 2 was chosen (feedback was they really liked it) but they didn’t like the way the ampersand was arranged (fair comment) and they asked for some alternatives, to which I produced these:
Once they had seen these, the version with the larger ampersand was chosen and bob’s your nan’s gran.
I sent the logo off on various backgrounds, one with the colours shaken up – on a green background to illustrate what it would look like on the website – the illustrator file and the job was signed off.
This is typically how my logo design process goes. I’ve only ever been asked once for more than 5 rounds of revisions but usually 3 is enough – if you’ve understood the brief correctly.
So, to recap. Read the brief, understand it (ask loads of questions), research competitors, doodle, choose fonts, digitise, brush up, present (no more than three).
If you’re not on the right track, repeat the process based on the clients feedback, and if you still get it wrong you’re either not understanding / following the brief or the client’s being awkward.
If you consider it to be the latter, think about politely releasing the client, as the job will be more trouble than it’s worth…