• Mark Hannafin

The Logo Design Process.


From Start to Finish.


Introduction

As a business owner, you will be met with a number of challenges over your career. While there is always a willingness to fix everything yourself, it is just not possible. As your business grows time seems to disappear and suddenly you have to let go of that want to control everything. Now is the time to work smarter and not harder. Now you need to delegate. From social media to marketing to the accounts and especially the design of your company.

I haven’t a shred of doubt that you want your business to look and feel as though it is a professional and well-established company, you want it to look the part. So why then do so many business owners neglect to get a designer or cheap out and go to places like Fiver? Going to Fiver is like looking for an Armani suit in Primark! Are there professional designers on Fiver? Maybe. But there are also thousands of amateurs and cheap designers, why leave it to chance?

The issues. Where do you find professional designers? They are often overshadowed by large businesses in the marketplace who offer cheap solutions. However, they are not in business to make you rich, they are in it to make a profit. An independent designer not only wants to make a profit, (trust me they do), however, they also what to help you and your business. This is because working with clients benefits them hugely. One five star review for your independent designer can mean the world to them. In comparison, what’s one more rating to sites like Fiver? To them, you’re just data.

You will be surprised how many designers there are around and I’m sure that in your network of colleagues and business acquaintances, that someone knows a designer. If not, go to google search local designer. They are there if you’re looking. Now the next question is how do you identify a professional designer? Easy, ask about their process, and how working with them will benefit you and your business. They should be able to give you good examples. If they can’t and don’t have a process for designing, then be wary. Below is a rundown of the kind of process involved and how working with a designer will benefit you and your business.

Discovery

Communication is most important when working with a designer and you should work with a designer who is not just going to make the thing look good but actually help you solve the problem, from a graphical point of view and a business point of view. This is why working with a professional designer is important. The designer should ask questions about your business, such as industry trends and who your audience is. It is the designer’s job to help you figure out the real issue. You may be thinking you need a rebrand or and new website but what brought you to that decision? Why do you need a designer, what is the real issue your having? This will help your designer asses what you really need and how they can help.

Client Brief

Briefs are important to clarify everything. Things like name of company and name of the owner are simple but it should also detail what was discussed in the discovery sessions and the issues the company is having and how together you and the designer will go about solving them.

Research

The next and possible the most important part is the research. The kind of research completed and how in-depth your designer goes will determine how successful the project is. Industry research is an in-depth look at the different businesses in your industry and what kind of trends are happening right now. Client research should also be taken into consideration. Information such as where to find clients and what they are looking for is essential. Keyword research is another important area, this is where the designer takes your words like ‘professional’, ‘fun’, ‘bold’, etc. and finds images and references that relate to your business and your industry.

Presentation 1

During the process, the designer will come back to you with several presentations. The first presentation will explain all of the findings he or she has discovered throughout the research phase of the design process. Typically, this would include, colours, textures, fonts, images, what’s hot right now in the industry and much more.

Stylescape

During the presentation, you should also be presented with several stylescapes. A stylescape is a visual document that brings the research to life so that you, the business owner, can get an understanding of the direction the designer is going in. It brings together colour, texture, type, images and more. Below is an example of a stylescape. In the top left-hand corner you can see the keywords that were used during the research.

Sketching

This is the point in which the designer will start the designing. Having a good understanding of the problem, what is happening in your industry and with the approved upon stylescape, they should be able to start sketching and getting design ideas from their head to the paper.

Design

During the design phase, you will hear little from your designer and as you are working smarter and learning to let go and let live. You will need to give the designer space to work their magic and come up with ideal design solutions for your business. At this stage, the designer will take the drawings and put them on a computer to develop them further and come up with the initial design to be presented to you.

Presentation 2

The design presentation will be the next time you hear from your designer and they will hopefully present you with three usable designs for your business. At this point you will need to use your superpower of decision making and choose a design. If you can’t decide, ask your designer to explain each one to you. There will probably be a story of how they came up with this design that might help you decide. Always remember to keep your audience in mind when picking the logo. The logo is not for you, its primary function is to help the business stand out. It should appeal to your audience more than it does to you.

Changes + Colour

Now you if you need any changes to the design then your designer will help you fix the preferred logo and hopefully come out at the end with a perfect logo. Once the design for the logo is agreed upon, then colour will be brought into the project. You will have already touched on colour back in the stylescape but now it will be applied to the logo design. Not all design processes leave colour until the end, but with logo design, this is mostly the case.

Final Design and Handoff

Finally, it’s done! Your business has a new logo or a new brand identity or website whatever the need was for a designer was. You both have finally come up with a solution to the issue that was identified in the discovery. Your designer will prep the project give it the final tweaks and hand it over to you to implement it. If you are receiving a logo and brand identity package, then your designer should also give you a ‘style guide’ that explains how to use the logo and how to apply the brand identity.

Conclusion

The design process may seem long but every aspect is important and as you know taking an idea from your head and making it real will take some time. If the process is completed well the logo or design should work for you for the foreseeable future. Until down the line, when you need a refresh that is! I hope this blog on the design process helped give you an insight into the workings of a professional graphic designer.

Each of the above topics are expanded upon and explained in more detail in my previous blog series. If you wish to know more, you can find these blogs in the links below. This way you can really get to know the ins and outs of what it is like to work with a professional designer.

Part - 1 / The Discovery Session

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

Part - 2 / The Research and Investigation

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

Part - 3 / Design

https://www.markhannafin.com/post/part-3-design

Thanks for reading and follow me for more insights into the workings of a professional designer.


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