• Mark Hannafin

Part 3 - Design.

Welcome to part three of the Design Process. You can find part one “The Discovery Session” and part two “Research and Investigation” by following the links below.

The Discovery Session

https://www.markhannafin.com/post/part-1-the-discovery-session

The Research and Investigation

https://www.markhannafin.com/post/part-2-research-and-investigation

In this blog series, I will be bringing you through my process and discussing what you should expect when working with a graphic designer. The process is primarily the same for logo design, website design, identity design, content creation and more. This blog series is to help you identify a professional designer and to understand their process. If you are thinking about working with a designer and aren’t sure what to expect this should give you an insight into the process. Remember that a professional designer should not only make your business look the part, but also help solve some problems on the way.

Sketching

Okay, after the research presentation and discussing the stylescapes created by your designer you should feel confident that the business is in safe hands and that the designer you are working with is going in the right direction. At this point, your designer will start getting their ideas for their head and onto paper with a number of sketches. Depending on the designer some will spend a lot of time here and another will skip this step entirely. It is not essential, but it is important. For me, working with pen and paper is great as it helps get the ideas out and they tend to flow better. I don’t have to worry about getting things perfect. I am also not tempted to start aligning and kerning fonts, this can happen if I start doing a CAD drawing too soon. Some designers will show you their sketches, some won't. I try to upload everything to the shared Dropbox file so you should request this if it is not the case.

Design

After sketching the designer will start to bring everything onto the computer and start really perfecting the designs. Your designer will have anywhere from 5 - 10 designs to refine. Some designs that look good on paper and just don’t work in CAD, and will be chalked off straight away. As the designer works on a number of designs, they will continually refer to the agreed-upon style scape and make sure the logo is in line with your business needs and your audience. They will continue to work on designs for two or more weeks and hopefully, they will come up with three designs that will be perfectly tailored to the needs of your business.

Design Presentation

At this stage, your designer has three or more designs ready for presentation. They will mock these up on mock websites or on mock social media pages, could even create a makeshift app or if your company sells products like t-shirts or candles they will show you examples of how the logo will look in real life once finished. All this and more will be presented to you in a nice layout on Keynote. Now it is time for your designer to listen and for you to speak. Hopefully, you will like all the designs and can’t decide, although you should have three perfect logos making the choice is the hardest part. This is where it is important to remember what a logo is and what factors are most important in its design. First, a logo is not your brand or business, it is a way of differentiating you from the crowd. Second, the most important thing about a logo isn’t if you like it, or if it “feels” like your company. What is most important is your audience. Does it help your audience, can they identify what the logo represents, does it convey any thoughts to them? Think about the Nike logo; it is a swish shape that conveys movement and speed, coupled with the slogan “Just Do It” and it is all about taking action. A logo should be simple and subtle.

Avoid trying to attach meaning to your logo, only you will get it and your audience will miss the meaning and it could turn them away.

Design Changes

Now you have your designs and you have picked one, maybe even two, you would like to see some changes and even a combination of the two chosen. Your designer will make the changes according to your needs and come up with designs that are perfect. I know you still want to see some slight changes here and there but now is a good time to ask your designer. “What do you recommend?” If they are a professional they should be able to explain each logo to you how they came about the design using the research, referring back to the stylescape explaining their thinking and map the process for you. From idea to paper to client and to audience, each aspect is important and if you are working with a designer ask them to explain their thinking. They are the expert. After all, you wouldn’t ask a developer to repair your car, would you? No, you would ask a professional mechanic and you get the right advice from the right person. Repair advice from a repairman and design advice from a designer.

You shouldn’t need 5, 10 or 20 different changes. If you don’t get it right within the first 3 design changes then this isn’t because of the design. Don’t be indecisive, make a decision and ask you, designer, trust your designer and you will get the right logo.

Colour and Colour Changes

Every logo will first be presented to you in black and white. This is important because a logo needs to work in monochrome and grayscale as well as in colour. Other projects like app design and web design may be presented without colour first also. Now, this isn’t the first time you have discussed colour, during research this should have been discussed briefly, and your Stylescape should be brimming with colour so you know already what colour works best for your business.

Every colour evokes different emotions and works for different business types. Take social media brands, for instance, they’re mostly blue, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter all use blue. Why? Because it gives the audience a sense of trust, blue evokes the feeling of confidence. Fast food places use the colour red. It excites us and causes us to think of energy which is ironic because I feel the exact opposite, after a McDonald’s. Still, I always go back. Is it because they have the best burgers? Nope. Because of the market themselves so well. Colour plays a big part in this, so it is important to get right. Again, your designer should help you and if they have been using the style guide through this process the colour of your logo will be a cinch, hopefully.

Final Design and Handoff.

At this stage of the design process, the design has been approved and colour has been injected into the logo. It looks great, you're happy, your designer is happy and the final design is ready for use. For the final part of the logo project, your designer will prep the logo and give it to you in a number of different formats, including, JPEG, PNG, PDF, Ai, EPS, etc. Also, don’t forget to pay your designer at this point. You do not want to go through all that process and for the logo to be held up because you haven’t paid the designer.

Now you should have a lovely logo and a style guide to go with it. Like most logo projects you will also be getting some brand identity design along with it. The style guide will include colours, fonts, textures and how to use the logo on different colour backgrounds and in documents for print. Now, you can go forth with your new business logo and present it to the world in all its glory.

This is part three in a series of blogs and posts on what to expect when working with a professional graphic designer. Please keep an eye out on my page for a condensed version of the entire series in one blog. Follow me on:

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I hope you enjoyed this series of blogs on the Logo Design Process and thank you for reading. Morkie.