The Logo Smith has 27 Years Experience, in: Logo & Brand Identity Design, Typography, Graphic Design, Commercial Litho & Digital Printing, Reprographics, Advertising & Marketing.
An attempt to give you an average idea of my overall Logo Design Process; not to be taken verbatim.
On occasion I’ll get asked how many people work at The Logo Smith; it’s just me, Graham Smith.
It’s therefore mightily important for me to clarify: all the creative work you see on The Logo Smith website: Logo Portfolio, Monomarks, and The Gallery (Case Studies) have all been designed by Graham Smith AKA The Logo Smith.
When you speak to me, or communicate with me in some form, be confident that it’s also me working on your project, and it’s not me passing on your brief to a part-time designer I’ve only just hired.
My Logo Design Process – which many of my previous clients, in their Testimonials, have commented very positively about–and general way of thinking is that there is often one ultimate solution to be unearthed, rather than a scatter gun approach of 3-5 weak logo design ideas.
Getting to-the-point of developing that ultimate Logo Design idea takes a mixtures of skills, and of course, a fair bit of time and experience, of which I have a fair bit of: over 27 years within the Graphic Design, Commercial Printing and Advertising & Marketing Industry.
Thought I’d quickly cover this, as it’s a question that’s nearly always asked, but one that’s nearly always impossible to give an accurate reply.
There is no promised deadline guarantee I can/will give a client. However, I always try my best to keep some element of forward momentum going, on the project, for my clients.
Timelines vary due to: specific client needs, challenges, requirments and project scope.
Any kind of ‘implied’ deadline is also dependant on the client in many ways: if said client takes a dislike to a number of my logo ideas, or is not timely with return feedback, then I’m hard pushed to keep that forward momentum going.
A typical logo design project, on average, will take 4-6 weeks.
However, if I find an idea early on, then the project could be completed more quickly than usual, say 1-2 weeks at the earliest; conversely, it can rumble on past 6 weeks, especially if the project is proving challenging in any number of ways.
The first real step for a client, and typically before actually Hiring Me, is to fill out the Logo Design Brief.
Without a Creative Brief there’s not an awful lot I can do, so it’s important that any potential clients do create a brief that is as detailed as possible.
Ultimately, the Detailed Brief will be needed to be filled in at some point, usually once a client is OK with the Proposal; the Basic Brief is good to get the initial ball rolling.
I’ll always forward a copy of the brief back to the client, so even if I’m not to be hired, the client has all that information to hand.
Once I have the Project Brief, and have soaked up all the information, I’ll work on a Preliminary Proposal.
This’ll outline the: project scope, budget break-down, deliverables (digital & physical assets), and any other pertinent information.
Once completed I’ll send this back to the client for approval, or changes if needed.
Assuming the client is happy with the Preliminary Proposal, I’ll often forward on a Contract using Hello Bonsai.
This will have already been ‘digitally signed’ by myself, and thus only needs the client to accept and sign the Contract themselves.
Not all clients require a Contract, so I’m happy to work with and without one.
Sometimes a client will have an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) for me to sign, so I’m always quite happy to do this.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Research is the key: A designers needs to spend adequate time getting to know and understand your client and their needs, as well as understanding what direct/indirect competitors my client might have.
If you don’t fully understand the clients’ competition, or even know what their collective brand logos’ look like, then you are not really designing for the client at all.
Brainstorming unlocks the hidden, and often overlooked, “it’s right in front of you”, logo design solution.
Brainstorming often consists of: mind-maps, sketching in numerous scrappy note books, writing down what ever ideas and thoughts come to mind, furiously messing around on a huge 4000px x 4000px Adobe Illustrator page, and copious quantities of post-it notes.
You can view past and ongoing examples of my brainstorming process at: Ongoing Logo Design Case Studies
1.Often, I’ll start a logo project by focusing on finding a selection of typefaces before thinking about any kind of logo mark, or symbol.
Why? Some brand names emit a strong emotion, so choosing the right font seems essential to help amplify that emotion, then I’ll work on developing the visual element further down the line. If indeed a logo mark is needed, as many logos end up being purely typographic in style
2. Alternatively, i’ll start the project by trying to develop the graphical component (logo mark, symbol, icon, brand mark, etc) of the project by sketching, and the above process of brainstorming.
3. There is a third direction: some logos need a solid and descriptive tag-line, so this will be developed first as this will create a form of narrative, that helps define the brand name. This narrative also then gives me a framework from which to base the visual part of the logo from.
There is no set process with the above, it just depends on the project, the client, and brief in question, and what ingredients I have to cook with.
There really is not one size fits all approach, as each client and brief is so different.
There are several ways a logo design project unfolds, when it comes to how much client collaboration there is during the actual progress of a project.
Some clients like to be part of the brainstorming, and process, right from the very start; happy to see really rough sketches, and napkins doodles, as they occur.
Other clients find it hard to interpret these sketches, and struggle to visualise how a rough scribble could look all polished and gleaming.
Therefore, in these situations, a client would generally be happier seeing a more polished idea a bit further down the line.
I’m happy to accommodate both approaches.
I’ll be frank: I’m not always the quickest logo designer; I do like to think things through, ponder, deliberate, try this and try that, etc.
I don’t like to rush any logo project, as ideas have a habit of appearing when you least expect them, and often a small break from a project is when that idea will hit you.
If there isn’t a mad rush, then having time on side is very useful, and very valuable.
I can be quick when it’s needed, and I have done projects that were super urgent in 24 hours, but it’s far from ideal, obviously. Suitable expectations need to be set from the start in rush jobs…
I currently use Cageapp.com to: upload, and present all my ideas, sketches, digital mock-ups along with appended comments, to each project.
This is a super handy way for both client, and designer, to see progress at a glance, and refer back to other past ideas, comments etc.
With Cageapp, the client can also add notes to the screenshots, create tasks for me, and even download the various images.
It helps keeps everything neatly together, and provides for quick reference at any point in the process.
Ultimately, this was an attempt to give you an average idea of my overall logo design process, but please do bear in mind: it certainly will vary from client-to-client, and project-to-project.