It is important to understand design processes and the value they create; this article covers the key steps we follow at Alama as we go about designing bespoke logos for our clients. We all have our own processes on how we go about design projects but most often these processes focus on creative output mostly. We forget that your design services should provide investment value to our clients and help them solve problems.
The design process described is a living process and adapts accordingly to each project since every project is unique with its own set of requirements. So fell free to incorporate your ideas and specific needs. I assume that you have some knowledge on logo design and branding and understand some basic terms.
Client Design Brief
It is important for you as a designer to understand your client and their business needs. We begin by constructing a creative brief that helps us understand the overall business of our client and any business challenge they are facing. The brief helps us get a clear picture of the target client, their demographics and age. In addition, we ask about the business differentiators, USPs and the company’s future goals. The more we know the better for the brand design process.
Research & Strategy
The next step in the process is to carry out research and develop a brand strategy. We research the industry the client is operating in, the competition both direct and indirect and research on other visual identities in the field. This research helps us to define the overall problem statement and come up with a brand strategy. The strategy can help us position the brand, define associations and develop the overall brand experience. Always work with the end in mind, how will the brand look 5 years from now?
Once we have a precise and concise view of our client, their industry and the problem they want solved we start sketching out concepts and constructing ideas. Normally the best place to begin is by defining the best logotype that fits the project. Different logotypes work well for different kinds of business depending on a number of variables like age of the business, name length and market penetration. Next we develop a mood board and reference images to help us with inspiration and finally start sketching out ideas and basic forms.
Next we convert the sketches to digital art works in Illustrator and narrow down to two ideas we feel work well for the project. At this stage of the branding process we compare different typographical styles, develop color styles and set up grid structure. We also future proof the concepts by ensuring scalability, legibility and versatility characteristics are intact. Next we render out multiple concept variations which will include vertical and horizontal options, logo on background, monotones and single colors as well as outline formats.
Logo Application Mock-ups
Now that we have two solid logo concepts we execute the logo on basic collateral applications. This may include a business card letterhead, signage and context related designs. For instance, if the project is for a restaurant a menu will be in context of the brand, if it is a retail store shopping bags will suffice. The next step is to create digital mockups which show the designs working in real life scenarios and now we are ready to present our idea to our client.
We normally create a private link which we share with our client to enable them view the work. It is also good to meet and show printed samples (If that is within scope of project). Our presentation shows the rationale and thinking behind each concept, variations and execution. We do our best to provide guidance on how each idea works best for what and relevancy.
We encourage our client to share the concepts with business associate and industry practitioners in order to get an objective view of the ideas presented. We listen to client feedback and discuss the merits and demerits of each solution. We then agree on actionable points and any revisions they might have in mind or any ideas they want incorporated. On good days there are no revisions and the client simply chooses one concept and we are good to go.
Refinement & Extension
The next part of the design process is to incorporate our client’s recommendations, refine the concept and get approval on the final design. We then deal with any brand architecture that would have been envisioned and create the final brand stationery. Finally, we create the brand guidelines and toolkits.
Final Presentation & Delivery
We are now ready to make a final presentation and get sign off on designs. We arrange the project files in a logical structure and render out the necessary file formats that will include original Ai files, EPS, PDF, JPG and PNG. We also share the font links or where to get licenses for any premium font used. Finally, we create a help file and send the final files to our client via email. The last part is to create a backup of the project and store it somewhere save.
Every branding project offers opportunities for growth and support. Let your client know that you can assist them developing a digital presence and visual communication assets. This ensures the brand grows harmoniously across multiple channels.
As stated initially every project is unique and every project has its own budget which might or might not be able to cover or utilize all the steps described. As a creative firm we assess the intricacy of each project and modify the design process accordingly. Hopefully this articles helps creatives and clients understand what is involved in designing a good logo.
If you would like us to help you build and develop your brand and offer you creative support, you can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Do check out our portfolio on Behance.