You have your business plan ready. You know what you want to do and how you want to do it. Maybe you even have a few key players in place. But what is your brand? Do you have a cohesive image to show to potential clients? How about a brand message that instructs employees on how to meet client expectations? The first step in creating a brand identity is a logo. Whether you are starting from scratch or revamping, a strong and clear logo is the cornerstone from which your entire brand will grow. So how do you create one?
Start the logo design process with your client in mind.
The first steps to creating a logo design is to understand what what you want your brand to say in order to resonate with clients. If you have not gone through the steps of creating a client persona, this may help you in identifying who your target clients are and what they need. It is important to keep in mind that not only do you need to have a clear message but that it is one that will be received by potential customers. Likewise, it is important to be unique, looking at competitor’s logos can help you brainstorm, but be sure that you don’t simply copy what others have done. Not only will you fail to create value through differentiation but you will be copying their logo mistakes along with any successes.
When you are designing a logo there are five effective elements to keep in mind that designers use for creating a successful logo:
- Simple – The best logos are simple in design but well thought out.
- Memorable – Being simple will make it memorable and easy to recognize which creates brand recognition.
- Timeless – Stay away from temporary trends, you don’t want a logo design that will seem dated in the years to come.
- Versatile – Think about the many applications the logo will be used on, these would include things like print, web, and marketing materials.
- Appropriate – This should go without saying but if your logo does not match the brand’s identity then its bad for everyone. If you are a strong corporate brand, you may want stay away from bright colors and free flowing shapes. If you are a creative brand, these may be just what you are looking for.
Draft logo design concepts
Now that you have your brand message and identity established, it’s time to start drafting. At this point you can grab some paper and a pencil and start playing with concepts. It is okay to let your imagination go at this point, you are really just trying to draft several concepts to get your brain working For this example, pretend you have a barber shop. You identify that your clients find the most value in your old-fashioned “traditional” haircut offerings. While playing with concepts you may think about some tools you use to create these haircuts.
While not always recommended, since you know that you are promoting a more traditional image, a corresponding traditional style that you may use may be something like a serif style font. While serifs can make a the wrong logo look dated, if your ideal client is looking for something old fashioned and timeless, this may be a font that speaks to them. This just goes to show that no two brands are alike and you must be open to whatever works best for yours. Below you will see an example of some concepts we quickly put together to get us working in a specific direction.
Design your logo in Adobe Illustrator
Once you have some concepts drafted, you are ready to move into Adobe Illustrator. You can scan your sketches into Illustrator or re-create them in the program. In the example below, we will be looking for the typefaces that best fit the client’s specifications and brand identity. We will use a typeface to design a straight razor from the shape of a “W”. You can see in the image below how we have played with different typefaces for the heading that compliment this logo. You can then use the pen tool to draw a straight razor following the outline of the letter “W”.
Play with variations of the logo design
With the razor design portion of your logo completed, you can select the straight edge razor and paste a copy of it on your artboard. Now flip or “mirror” this to complete the W shape. Once this has been brought together and grouped you can add the rest of your name to the logo. Next, add the sub heading that will compliment the logo and fill in additional space. Be sure to keep your design symmetric. Now that you have a base concept down, you can start putting together logo variations to see which one you like best. So often with something novel it is hard to put what you are looking for into a concrete idea or words, so it is important to try different variations, even if you think you know what you want, to make sure that you get the best end result.
Make sure to test out the new logo in a variety of environments
While a logo may be constant, the medium on which is is viewed is constantly changing. A logo can look very different on printed material than it does on printed material. Our eyes always pull in information from surrounding areas, so be sure that your new logo is versatile enough to be used where ever you may need it. This is also the first step in putting together your branding guidelines so you will be ahead of the game for your future marketing and branding efforts!
You should now have a logo that will fit your brand’s needs and serve a a guide for your future marketing materials and the brand guidelines that will guide your employees in their client interactions. Need additional help creating a logo or need branding support? Contact us today for a free consultation!