We always start with sketching and in black and white. Here’s why.
by Darlene Veenhuizen
In today’s competitive business landscape, a well-crafted logo is more than just a symbol; it’s the face of your brand. A logo is the visual representation of your company’s identity, values, and personality. So, how do you go about creating a logo that effectively communicates your brand’s essence and sets you apart from the competition? Let’s walk through the logo design process step by step, from initial research to final delivery.
Brand Research Phase:
Research and Questionnaires
We believe in informed design decisions. To craft a logo that truly represents your brand, we dive deep into understanding your business. Through questionnaires and information gathering, we learn about your mission, values, target audience, and unique selling points. Armed with this knowledge, we’re ready to create a logo that resonates.
Creative Brief: Charting the Course
The creative brief is a vital document in our logo design process. It’s more than just a formality; it’s the blueprint for your brand’s visual identity. In this document, we summarize insights gained from a short competitor analysis. We examine your top 3 competitors, dissecting what they are doing visually, and identifying any pitfalls to avoid. This crucial step helps us strategize how to differentiate your brand from the competition.
Mood Boards: Setting the Visual Tone
The journey begins with inspiration. In the brand research phase, we create 2-3 mood boards that encapsulate initial ideas for colors, fonts, and photo styles. These mood boards serve as the starting point for our creative journey, giving us a visual direction to explore.
Final Mood Board: Approving the Design Direction
Once we’ve gathered insights and feedback from you, we refine the mood board into a final visual direction. This stage ensures that we’re aligned with your vision and ready to move forward. We typically work to emulate one of the mood boards that you choose, but occasionally we may explore more than one design direction.
Sketches and Design Rounds
The heart of our process lies in creating your logo. We go through three rounds of logo design, carefully considering every element. We understand the importance of versatility, so we provide multiple versions of the logo, including the main logo, a simplified version, and one with a tagline if needed. Each version is available in both color and black and white, as well as vertical and horizontal orientations, ensuring flexibility for various applications.
I like to mention that round 1 of this process is always sketches, by hand or on iPad, but they are not on the computer. They are also always in black and white. This is important to set your expectations and to have flexibility to explore a lot of ideas and concepts in a fast way. Other designers may work differently, but I have always found the best flow by starting out with a pen or pencil in my hand. I like to scan in or take photos of the sketches and share those, then refine a couple on the computer for presenting in the first round.
I stick with black and white because it’s easier to see the logo for the forms that are comprising it if they are first presented without colors. Choosing a logo’s shape and content is already tough. Adding color decisions at this stage makes it even harder for your brain to handle multiple choices at once.
After that, we keep exploring, adding in color at rounds 2 or 3, and playing with fonts and logo layouts along the way. The goal with the subsequent rounds is to narrow down the ideas, so if feedback from the Client along the way creeps out of scope, we may need to adjust the timeline, process, or cost of the logo project.
For example, one time I presented a logo design to a client, and we went through the research phase, the first round and the second round of designs, and suddenly, feedback on round 3 was to “try it in a watercolor.” Our design was crisp, clean, and simple… not anywhere near a watercolor vibe, and that was definitely NOT the direction we wanted from the beginning, or the results of the visual research and competitive analysis. I explained this, and the Client (being gracious and understanding) got it. We proceeded as needed and ended up with a design they loved! And it worked for their uses far better than a watercolor treatment would have.
There is a method to starting with research, competitive analysis, and mood boards – it’s so we all are on the same page from the beginning.
Brand Guidelines: Consistency is Key
To maintain a cohesive brand identity, we curate a set of brand guidelines for you. These guidelines encompass font selections, color palettes, and even social media and video styles. This comprehensive PDF document equips you to communicate your brand consistently across various platforms and with collaborators, such as web designers. See our Brand Guidelines blog for more information.
File Delivery: Your Brand in Hand
At the end of our journey, you’ll receive access to all your logo files. This includes versions for print (CMYK) and web (RGB) applications, provided in JPEG, PNG, TIFF, EPS, and native file formats. We’re also open to accommodating additional file types or delivering in Canva.com templates if needed.
Your logo isn’t just a design; it’s the embodiment of your brand’s identity. With our meticulous logo design process, we ensure that your logo not only looks good but also speaks volumes about your business. If you’re ready to embark on this creative journey with us, don’t hesitate to reach out. Your brand’s visual story is waiting to be discovered.
DASH Content Co.
Marketing, Strategy, Design, UGC and Content
115 NW Oregon Ave, #7, Bend OR 97703
Monday - Thursday 9am - 4pm
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