Inside the Castle:

The Logo Design Process

by Lisa Giacone

The logo design process is a collaborative effort between you (the client) and the designer. Designing a well-executed logo requires some research. Who are your customers? What message is your company trying to convey to them?

Designer Paul Rand says “a logo does not sell (directly), it identifies.” Usually a simple, clear design is most effective at achieving this.

You may already have a rough design or two in mind. Napkin sketches are fine—they help bring form to your ideas.

Typical Steps in the Logo Design Process

  1. Design meeting with client:
    The designer meets with you to discuss the purpose of the logo and learn about the focus of your business.
  2. Research:
    Designer and client study logos, especially in your industry, to identify what makes them effective. Jot down what you do (or don’t) like about them. Distill these ideas into key elements to incorporate into your logo design. It is crucial that the designer understands your business and its intended audience in order to develop a successful logo.
  3. Conceptualizing, sketching and development:
    Brainstorm ideas for design elements, fonts and colors. Many designers focus on concept and composition in black and white to make sure the design is effective before color is added. Sketch ideas and digitize with vector-based illustration software (usually Adobe Illustrator).
  4. Presentation to client:
    Usually a few variations are presented, but not too many in order to stay focused.
  5. Feedback:
    Client gives feedback on changes they’d like to incorporate.
  6. Revisions:
    Revisions presented, discussed and refined.

Some Tips to Keep in Mind

  • It is better not to have too many cooks in the kitchen during the logo design and selection process. Avoid making this a decision by a large committee if possible or you will likely run into difficulty agreeing on a single design.
  • Don’t be afraid to “think outside of the box”- designer Patrick Winfield states that “I like to stay away from visual clichés. For instance, a musical note as an icon for a piano store is a bit too obvious to me, but sometimes this cannot be avoided (or is the best solution altogether) and needs to be accepted and dealt with creatively.”
  • Logos with clean, simple designs will look good on the web as well as in print- including in large format (banners and trucks, for example). Logos should be designed in vector format so that they are scaleable to a large size and are still clear.
  • Your logo’s design should be effective in black and white (or gray tones) as well as in color—remember that printing costs increase when color is added.
  • Avoid script fonts unless used sparingly as a design element- they can be difficult to read.

Further Reading

Vital Tips For Effective Logo Design, Smashing Magazine

50 Examples of the Logo Design Process, Noupe

Lisa Giacone

By Lisa Giacone

With a background in marketing for municipal parks and recreation programs in both print and web-based media, Lisa has a talent for using graphic design to create clear messaging, no matter what the audience. She believes a website should be user-friendly and aesthetically appealing. Apart from design, Lisa is busy—very busy!—raising her sons, Anthony and Marco.

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