When it comes to launching a brand or business, the quality of your product or service is most important. After that, though, nothing is more important than your logo. And following the proper logo design process can help ensure you end up with the best and most effective logo possible.
Whether you choose to design your new logo yourself or hire a professional, failing to invest adequate time and energy into the logo design process could spell disaster. After all, a high-quality logo helps attract customers and differentiate your brand from the competition.
So what makes a logo so crucial to developing your brand's identity? And what steps do you need to follow to create the perfect logo for your business?
The Importance of a Quality Logo
In the world of marketing, logos are as old as the concept of advertising itself. And today, we recognize many of the world's largest corporations by their logo alone. In fact, you can probably think of the following companies' logos without even trying:
- Pizza Hut
In many ways, logos work with human psychology to build recognition and trust between brands and their customers. Sometimes, as in the case of the Nike logo, a company's logo can even become a commodity itself.
While a logo might seem largely unimportant to your brand as a whole, put yourself in a potential customer's shoes. Would you want to do business with an essentially faceless company? Or would you rather work with a brand that displays some form of personality through colors, fonts, graphics, and the other details that make up a logo?
Yes, the personality provided by a logo is entirely manufactured to be welcoming and trustworthy. But that doesn't mean it plays any less of a role in with whom your customers decide to do business.
Working with a Professional Graphic Designer vs. Creating Your Own Logo
Whether you're creating your brand's very first logo or are revamping one that already exists, the first decision you need to make is who will design your logo. For smaller companies that don't have in-house designers, this decision is pretty much always between designing the logo yourself or hiring a professional.
Before even considering designing your own logo, you need to ask yourself: Do you have even an iota of creative, artistic talent? If not, you might as well jump straight to hiring a professional.
If you do have artistic talent, though, you might consider designing your own logo. This can save money and streamline the logo design process since you won't need to describe your vision to someone else. However, it often helps to have more than one person in on the logo design process.
Of course, hiring a professional graphic designer doesn't have to mean shelling out thousands for your area's leading design house. Many brands work with hobbyists, art students, and young professionals to get quality designs at an affordable price. The artist you ultimately hire will depend largely on the skills you're looking for and your budget.
Our Step-by-Step Guide to the Logo Design Process
As with any creative process, there's really no right or wrong way to design a logo. However, we do recommend following a few simple steps when tackling the logo design process.
Below, we've outlined the basic logo design process from the perspective of a professional graphic artist or a business owner design a logo for themselves:
1. Consult with the client
The first step to any logo design process is the consultation. It involves meeting with the client and discussing their vision for the new logo. If the designer or client have any initial ideas or inspiration for the logo, this meeting the best time to bring them up.
On top of discussing the logo itself, a skilled designer will also ask in-depth questions about the company and its products or services as a whole. Questions like these will offer additional insight when it comes to the creative logo design process later on.
Are you designing a logo for yourself? We recommend sitting down with pen and paper and playing the roles of both client and artist. Ask yourself questions about what you want your logo to communicate and how you want it to look. You might be surprised to discover what you really want out of the logo design process!
2. Research the industry
After the initial consultation, the designer should perform industry research related to their client's brand or product. Not only will this research provide additional insight into the company the artist is working with, but it will also provide information about the target customer and potential competition.
One of the most important aspects of the logo design process is ensuring your logo is unique within your niche. The last thing you want is a logo that looks similar to a competitor's.
If you do accidentally choose a logo that resembles a competitor's, your company could be at risk of a lawsuit or cease-and-desist. Plus, even if your competitor doesn't take legal action, redoing the logo design process can be both expensive and time-consuming. Proper industry research can prevent this from happening in the first place.
Genius logos don't happen overnight. Whether you're a professional designer or creating a DI.Y. logo, you should never underestimate the power of brainstorming.
Many of the world's most impactful logos would never have existed if not for long, drawn-out brainstorming sessions between their respective graphic designers and clients. In fact, it's extremely common for a company's final logo design to look nothing like the first draft.
Remember, brainstorming isn't always linear. You may decide on a logo concept, refine that idea, and then find yourself choosing a completely different concept instead. Try to remain open to experimentation and trial-and-error throughout the entire logo design process.
4. Finalize your concept
At some point in your brainstorming, you'll need to decide on a single concept to refine and finalize. While you can still change your mind at any point, you also want to avoid constant indecisiveness. If you don't make a final decision eventually, your new logo will never come to fruition.
Finalizing your chosen concept can mean many things. Oftentimes, this step is when you'll make the final decision on colors, font styles, and size. In general, though, you should have the overall concept nailed down.
If you do the logo design process backward, choosing colors, fonts, and more before you've finalized the actual logo concept, you'll end up redoing your work over and over again. Instead, leave those final details for the end.
5. Create other deliverables if needed
After your new logo is 100-percent finalized, remember that the logo is just part of the branding process. Many brands will eventually need multiple versions of the final concept, such as text- or graphic-only versions.
While you can create these extra logos at any point, it is much easier to create these versions with your original logo. This is true whether you hire a professional to design your logo or do it yourself.
Once you have all of the logo and branding materials you'll need for the foreseeable future, you can close the door on the logo design process as a whole. At least until it's time for a new logo, once again.
The Future of Branding and the Logo Design Process
As technology and media evolve at increasing rates, we also see the world of marketing change in unforeseen ways. Of course, with this change in how we consume media and advertising, logo design trends have changed as well.
Just in the past couple of years, companies have had to optimize their logos and brand identities for a digital audience. You can see these logos gradually shift to accommodate a digital era with their choice of font, colors, size, shape, and even the inclusion of animation.
Although design theory remains largely the same, the way this theory is applied must change with technology. At least if it wants to remain effective.
For instance, technology has paved the way for what many marketers call "logo systems." Rather than a static image, these logo systems allow for a changing, ever-relevant logo that can be updated across the globe in real time.
Perhaps the most famous example of this is the Google Doodle, which changes almost daily to represent a historical event, holiday, invention, and much more.
Adopting a logo system for your brand is definitely not necessary. But being aware of this and other marketing trends can help provide insight into the changing world of branding. Perhaps, with practice, these trends can even teach us how to adapt the logo design process to technology and its continuing evolution.
Do you have a logo for your business? Did you do it yourself or did you hire someone? Let us know in the comments!