Effective Process for Designing a Logo
As logo of a company represents it and provides the first impression of this company, the design and creation of a logo is very important process. In this article, we will discuss 1) what’s in a logo, 2) the process for designing a logo, 3) examples of good logos.
WHAT’S IN A LOGO: AN OVERVIEW
A Logo is a term that is used to refer to a symbol, a mark, an emblem or a graphical representation that symbolizes one’s organization, principles or identity. Logos are used by commercial organizations, religious sects, medical institutions and even individuals to promote public recognition and may be in the form of the company’s name, the trademark or an abbreviation, etc. Instead of using the entire name of the organization, individual or group, a logo acts as a small or descriptive representation with which audiences can identify the entity.
A logo is a visual mark that these days is created using several computer softwares and platforms. There are a separate study and area of education that teaches how to design and create logos, and this field of study is known as Logo Designing. To know more about Logos, how they are designed and why they are important, you can go through the following given information.
Importance of a good logo for businesses
A logo is a visual representation of the principles, beliefs and other attributes of your business and is hence exceedingly important for any entity. A logo influences the first impression of your company or brand on customers, clients, and partners and it is hence very crucial to design a logo carefully. Once made, it can be very difficult to change the logo since people begin to identify it and use it to refer to your brand. Not only does a good logo promotes customer loyalty but also establishes a brand’s identity. It gives a professional touch to your business, no matter how large or small in scale it may be.
With a little consideration, a slight creativity, and a proper brainstorming procedure, one can come up with a logo that is well appreciated and identified across masses. Logo designing must be given enough importance, even if it takes the time to come up with an excellent design.
Features of a great logo
The following are some of the characteristics of a great logo:
- Should be easy memorable & recognizable – A good logo is one that people remember and can quickly recognize. People must not take more than a second or two to cement it in their memories and recall it when needed.
- Should be simple – It is important that your logo is clutter free, clean and simple. It must not be very complex, confusing and distracting as a complicated design may be hard to understand and recognize.
- Should be timeless – While designing a logo, you must consider whether it is timeless or not. Would it still hold valid and be good after a few decades? If not, change it!
- Should be versatile – The logo you design for your company must be extremely versatile. It should be scalable to different sizes without any loss in quality. It should work across several forms of media easily.
- Should be appropriate – It should be suitable for your business, should be able to resonate with your purpose and objectives and must be appropriate.
Types of Logos
The following are some of the broad logo types:
- Font based logos – Font based logos are those types of logos which use Type Treatments. In these logos, the company names are written with slight twists in their font styles and sizes, etc. Some examples of companies using such logos are Sony, Microsoft and IBM.
- Illustrative logos – Illustrative logos are those kinds of logos which illustrate what the company or brand does. For example, a company that is involved in painting houses may use the symbol of a painting brush.
- Abstract logos – Abstract Logos are the kinds of logos which do not represent the name or purpose of the company but are abstract signs or symbols that the brand can expect to become popular. An example of a brand using abstract logos is Nike.
THE PROCESS FOR DESIGNING A LOGO
Designing a Logo is a comprehensive and detailed procedure or process that requires not only brainstorming ideas, but also research work, initial drafting procedure, revision process, delivery of final logo and other steps. One can either design a logo on their own by learning the logo design softwares or can use the services of a logo designer who uses professional level dedication and skills to come up with a logo for your brand. To know more about what goes into designing a logo at a professional level, you can go through the following given information.
Step #1: Research work
The first step involved in logo designing is the step where research work takes place. Before drafting the initial designs or brainstorming ideas, it is important to know the current trends, study the logos of competitors and observe the kind of Logos that are appreciated by the audience. Researching of the industry or field helps professional designers get a sense of the atmosphere and environment going on currently. Research work also helps to avoid designing of logos similar to the ones that are already popular in the market.
Research can be done by either searching the web for popular logos or industry-specific logos or venturing out in the market to observe symbols used by random brands and then doing the evaluations or analysis of each logo type. This process could take long, especially if field research is being conducted. Field research could also include taking opinions of the masses or customers regarding their preferred symbols, the logos they dislike or the kind of logos they would want to see.
Step #2: Know the Client/Brand
After research is done, and results are evaluated, the next step is to get to know the brand or company the designer is dealing with. Before stepping into the actual designing process, it is important to establish a level of comfort with the client so as to easily take his/her opinion on the kind of logo he/she has in mind. Besides knowing the expectations and requirements of the client, it is also important for a designer to understand the brand. A logo designer may do a brief research on the history of the company, what it stands for and what its future objectives are. These points may help the designer incorporate the purpose or goals of the brand into the logo and make it more personal for the company.
In order to know the client, the brand, and the expectations, one can conduct meetings or hold candid discussions with the company owner or concerned creative head. There might be certain things that the company may not want in the logo, and it is crucial to know about these things in advance, rather than during the designing process.
Step #3: Determine the function of the logo
A logo is the representation of your brand, its ideas, its purposes, its principles, and beliefs. It is important for the designer first to determine the function of the logo and then go ahead and work on its font, size, color scheme, design, etc. The logo must be capable of:
- Creating a trust factor among the audiences or customers. A solid and attractive logo is one which conveys the company’s willingness to satisfy clients and customers.
- Boosting recognition and brand identity among the masses. A strong logo helps people identify it among the other logos and competing brands.
- Enhancing the impression and admiration factor among people. The logo must throw a good first impression on new clients, customers and others.
As a designer, one must try to design the logo keeping the following points in mind:
- The target audience or public. The logo must be designed keeping their sensibilities, taste, preference, level of understand, etc. the logo must resonate with them and look appealing.
- Main message. The logo must be able to put across the message that the company is trying to give to the customers and should fulfill the purpose or objectives of the brand.
- Branding. As a designer, one must be able to understand whether the company wants its brand name to be visible through the logo or not. If yes, then the logo must be designed accordingly and if no, then the designer must find another abstract design.
- Color scheme. The logo must be created keeping the color scheme of the brand design or name in mind.
Step #4: Make initial designs
After determining the function, understanding the brand and its requirements as well as conducting a thorough research, a designer is able to collect all the information needed to start working on the initial designs and ideas. Those drafts can be prepared by sketching them on a plain white paper or sheet. At this stage, the designer usually puts down all the ideas he/she has in mind on the sheet in a rough manner. At designing schools, students are asked to create 100 possible designs before shortlisting the best one. This not only makes way for registering all possible designs but also makes the designer come up with designs that may seem dull at first but could be improved to get the final logo.
At this stage, the designer makes use of a simple pencil and paper. Since designing is a non-linear process, one often keeps from erasing the designs created because certain mistakes could later spark bright ideas. After all, the only way to pick the good from the bad is to have a lot of options. This may sound difficult and time-consuming but is the easiest and most engaging part of the logo designing process. It is the part where the designer puts his creativity to good use and can come up with over 10 designs in an hour.
Only after sketching several rough logos the designer shortlists the best few, and sketches them in a more proper manner on a fresh piece of paper so that opinions can be taken on them.
Step #5: Get Feedback
The next step is to take the best designs from the rough sketches to a target or test audience and get their feedback. This is the time when the designer or the company may approach a group of people who fit the description of the target audience and ask them to give their opinions on the logo designs shown to them. The designer must ask questions like ‘Is the design relatable to the brand name?’, ‘Is the design easy to understand and memorize?’, ‘Is the design unique or seems similar to any other logo?’, ‘Is it boring or intriguing?’, and so on. Only after getting the opinions of a cross-section of people improvements can be made and the process can be taken forward.
This is a crucial stage in the designing process as whatever changes have to be made can be made right now. The designer may take the time to conduct this research and take opinions since it is important to consider everyone’s viewpoint and come up with a design that fits all requirements. Besides taking the opinion and feedback of the test audience, the opinion of the client also has to be taken at this stage.
Step #6: Review and revise
Now that opinions and feedback have been gathered, the designer needs to start working on the revision of the final few designs and incorporate all changes that need to be done. At this stage, the logo needs to be digitized which means that the designer moves to a software or designing programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape from the regular paper and pencil sketching method. The logo needs to be refined, made scalable and created all again in the designing software. This stage could also prove to be a lengthy one since it involves moving back and forth several times in order to make improvements and leave no scope for error.
While, in some cases, the client may approve the logo easily, sometimes it takes a long time and many efforts to convince him. In fact, the designer, may be working simultaneously on 2-3 logos so that the final decision is made after refining all the designs. Reviewing and revising also involves paying attention to the font, the size, the colors, the contrast, and other bells and whistles. This stage must also include doing application mockups of the logo to make sure it works across all media platforms and whether it is scalable to different sizes. Once all of this has been taken care of, the final logo may be ready to be delivered.
Step #7: Deliver final logo
Now the designer shows the final logo or the 2-3 logos to the client in a formal manner and then presents various iterations of the logo to show how it will look in a folder, on the website, on the company’s board, in newspapers, on buildings, etc. If the client is convinced, the designer may move forward and deliver the final logo and its rights. But in case any slight changes or improvements are required, then the designer goes back to the revision process until the client is satisfied.
EXAMPLES OF GOOD LOGOS
The following are some of the examples of excellent logos that satisfy the various parameters.
The logo of Cisco Systems is recognizable worldwide and one of the main reasons behind it is the work that the company and its designers put into it. The first thing that a person sees when they look at this logo is the bar lines on top of the letters. These lines instantly make us think of ‘frequency’, ‘radio’, or something related to tech. This is what makes the logo so successful since Cisco systems belong to the Tech Industry. Cisco is a Silicon Valley based organization and the bar lines also represent the Golden Gate Bridge. This means that with a few simple lines, the logo manages to achieve a lot. The design is simple yet so effective.
The logo of Evernote is yet another example of highly intelligent and successful logo. It has an elephant which is a reference to the famous line ‘an elephant never forgets’ which makes it highly appropriate to the purpose of the app which is to note and store’. The design is simple, very memorable and instantly recognizable.
Icon Snowskates is a small-scale snow skateboard company that is a family operated business in Massachusetts. The main idea behind the logo design was to create one that looked good on paper as well as on snowboards. The raindrop in the logo is meant to differentiate snowboarding from snow skateboarding since in snow skateboarding, rain and precipitation are good signs unlike in the case of the former. This is a small geometric design that works well across several platforms and is hence highly usable and scalable.