My Logo Design Process
As my freelance business has been steadily growing, I’ve been developing materials to make the proposal process easier. Some of these items include Price & Process sheets that I send out to potential customers in advance of a more formal proposal. These allow potential customers to get an idea of what all is involved in my process and a general price range that helps them make their decisions.
As I was developing these pieces, I realized that the content on some of them would make for great blog posts! So, here we are. I thought I’d start off with my logo design process since it’s by far the most frequently requested project. Now, this is my process for designing just a logo – not a full branding package. Please recognize that some of the steps can be expanded for larger projects.
This is the most collaborative part of the process. It typically lasts about five days and begins with an initial meeting with the client. I ask that they come to this meeting armed with a few examples of other logos they like, and a description of both their company and its primary competition. They should also bring any existing brand guidelines. I’m currently working on a discovery questionnaire that can make this process more formal, but I generally like to keep things light so that we can really dive deep into conversation. I’ll also bring some ideas based on research I’ve done and see how the client responds to all the different materials.
After this initial meeting, I let myself explore for a few days, pulling ideas from Pinterest, Dribbble, etc. Once I have a clear feeling for the direction I want to go, I move on to the next step.
If I’m billing at a flat rate, I ask for 50% of that amount to be paid following the initial meeting. I don’t begin the design process until that is received.
I’ll typically spend a day or so developing thumbnails. These are tiny sketches that get all my ideas out on paper. I’ll play with using the full company name, initials, varying emphasis on words, and text arrangements. Ultimately, I’ll select three to five concepts to dive further into in the next steps.
Since most logos involve words of some sort, I typically spend a full day sorting through typefaces. I find that wordmark.it is an invaluable tool here. I’ll create a PDF for both serif and sans serif options, and then narrow things down based on the concepts I chose in the previous step.
Now that I have my main ideas and type, I’ll start refining things into more thought -out sketches. The goal in this point of the process is to refine things into three concepts and transfer my sketches to the computer. Once my ideas are on the computer, I’ll create logo sheets that contain as many as 36 variations on the same logo. These are then presented to the client, where they select which direction to go.
Now that a final direction has been decided, it’s all about refining. Here I’ll select final colors, arrangements and determine how many logo variations I want to include in the final product package. I’ll make any adjustments to typography here (I always like to personalize the logotype in some way) to ensure the final product is distinctly unique. I’ll then send the comps over to the client for final adjustments.
Typically, after viewing the comps, the client has very specific minor feedback. They’ll want a darker primary color or more tracking in the type – this sort of thing. Or they’ll just want an alternate version that includes their tagline or a horizontal orientation. Based on this feedback, I’ll make minor adjustments and then prep my files for delivery.
I like to deliver my logos as transparent pngs, jpgs, and eps files. Occasionally I’ll also include a PDF version, if the client requests. I also make sure that fonts are always outlined. (Font licensing is not something I offer in my design packages.) Since I do all my logo work in Illustrator, exporting the files is easy. I like to break everything into folders based on file type and then send over one compressed file containing all these variations. I am also sure to attach my invoice when I send the final files!
How does your process compare to mine? Leave me a comment!
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