Logo Design - A Look at the Process and How I Work

Logo design is a mysterious thing.

Why do some work so well while others, sometimes with much more money spent on them just do not seem to hit the mark? How do you even quantify if your logo is working well for your company?

Well humans are strange creatures and our habits and tastes are hard to understand. What one person likes, another will dislike and so on. So how to make sense of this while trying to build a brand that will work for your company?

Well there are many options out there. And in a way this is now a part of the problem. Like in most situations these days we have too much information coming at us from every angle.

My advice to you as a graphic designer would be to look at several different angles.

There are design agencies that will charge top dollar but behind the scenes you might not really know what work they are putting in or what they are charging you for. Your logo could be designated to junior members of staff or may have a lot less time spent on it than you might imagine. Having said that you could also end up with a design that happily suits your needs.

There are many online logo services these days also, many of them charging very little. You can be lucky and arrive at something that works for you, but from what I have heard from people talking to me that have explored these options, the results are often patchy and also confusing.

My service as freelance designer is a very individual approach. I have developed this over many years now having worked for agencies in London and also having about 15 years experience going solo.

The logo I designed for All Risk Safety Solutions went through my typical process. Firstly by speaking with the owner of the business I was able to get an understanding of what the company did and what type of marketplace they were involved in. This gets me thinking about things such as what type of fonts are appropriate, what colours would compliment the business or if there is a symbol to be used, what type of symbol or image could help convey the company message.

I then begin my research. I look at competitors, what works for them and what I feel doesn't work. I think about how I can make the logo I am working on sit alongside it's rivals and fit the marketplace but do something different at the same time. Logo design at it's best is a good collaboration between the designer and the customer. If each brings what he or she is best at to the table and also be open minded to what the other might bring you can end up with a unique design to be proud of.

There are many things to take into consideration. Are you brave enough to be truly different? But equally you don't want to go so far out there as to just appear odd. At the same time the design must give you confidence when you look at it and present it to the world. And it must help in the process of winning the trust of your customers.

I also think about such things as flexibility and branding opportunities.

A poor logo can hem you into a corner. Things such as shape and size can make them uncomfortable in certain uses. Something might look great on a business card but dreadful at the top of a web page. Some logos can work poorly reversed out of a colour, eg if the lines are very thin. It's sometimes good to have a version that works in a couple of different ways, maybe one with the symbol on top if there is one and then a second option with the symbol to the side. This can help get around some of the issues mentioned.

Sometimes an aspect of the finished logo can lend itself to some great branding opportunities... maybe a colour, maybe the edge of a letter, a portion of a symbol used or something else you noticed along the way. Anything that can be expanded upon or worked your business identity could be a useful tool in the future. So when looking at a logo, look at it in the round... are there other benefits to be had when making your final choice.

I always work up three ideas to present and sometimes four. The idea of three ideas / pick one is fairly standard for designers. But it's a good way of keeping a law and order to the process. More than three and definitely more than four can cause uncertainty to everyone involved, designer included. It's easy when designing to have your heart set on one idea in particular and allocate most of your time to that particular one. I try to give a genuine choice. I aim to give the customer a genuine decision to make. So if I feel I have one strong idea and 2 weaker ones to begin with, I will have a rethink. Is there another avenue I can take? Is there a way of making what may be half working into something that properly shines?

I will then present my ideas as stage one.

After that I am happy to work up one idea further until we arrive at the finished article. You could be surprised also at how a little more time at the end just tweaking or embellishing can help the finished design.

Below are some of the ideas I came up with for All Risk along with the final design.





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