How important are those preliminary ideas and sketches, however scrappy?
After you’ve done your initial research (the more in depth the better), it’s time to take the plunge and start sketching. The beauty of initial sketches is that, while you needn’t expend too much effort on them, they can give you a great insight into where you think you should be going with a logo, as well as what works and what most definitely doesn’t. However, many designs can undergo a fair number of revisions before the client is happy with them. So what sort of things must you consider in the initial stages of logo design?
Getting a good brief is incredibly important. Consider this the bones of your logo design; you want something fairly sturdy to start with, and the better your brief the less (or at least the less drastic) revisions your logo design should need to undergo. The brief should tell you what sort of thing the client wants, what you should avoid, preferred colours (particularly if there are brand ones to adhere to) and ideally a number of suggestions to start you off in the right direction.
Many companies approach logo designers not just to create completely new logos but also to revamp their old ones (take a look at Scott Hansen’s attempt to rework the Playboy logo, for example). If a redesign is what’s required then time should be taken to study the current (or hopefully soon to be old) logo, with the client conveying in their brief exactly what they want kept and changed if at all possible.
Brainstorming is an excellent opportunity for a designer to get all their ideas – as well as those of the client – down in order to mull them all over. Seeing all of your ideas written down can often help you better picture them in addition to helping you come up with new ones you might not have otherwise had.
You have to start drawing somewhere, and often the best way to kick start the actual logo design process proper is to simply put pen to paper (or perhaps stylus to tablet). As previously mentioned, initial sketches can really help in figuring out where you want to go with a logo, and are also useful for showing to the client in order to illustrate progress and make alterations if needs be.
The finished product?
Of course, the ultimate aim of the drafting process is to move you closer to the goal of having a design you feel is good enough to show the client. Ideally this is not one design but several, giving the client a choice between the various ideas you’ve been working on and thus allowing them to the select the one – or ones – they like best for further development.
Finding inspiration and then successfully using it to produce sketches that may eventually become the final logo design is definitely ones of the knacks of a good logo designer. A well-written brief is also a great asset, and can help ensure that both the client and designer’s visions align and thus maybe even result in a quicker logo design process overall. In Part 4, we will be looking at memorability, the all-important X-factor of logo creation that can ensure that a design – and thus the company it belongs to – stays with those who see it long after it’s out of sight.