This is my third hardcore graphic design course: Layout Design. And hooray, because I get to do some rebranding. This week we're redesigning logos for existing companies/organizations with not-so-great logos.
I am, of course, an artist first, and am fairly new to the process of graphic design. If you do it right though, it helps you stay organized and focused on your final solution. Here are the steps you should take as a designer when designing a logo:
RESEARCH- Get to know your client. Ask questions. Find out what their goals are. You can't design a logo for someone without knowing who their target audience is, how they want consumers to perceive them, what they want to be known for. Think of graphic design as problem-solving. How are you going to help your client reach their business goals? Make a client questionnaire, and use that to write up a creative brief which you can refer to while designing the logo.
RESEARCH SOME MORE- Be inspired. The internet is an endless pit of ideas. But beware - there are good ideas and then there are bad ideas. Learn the difference. Looking at what good designers are doing is not just a way to take away inspiration but also a way to challenge yourself: how can you do it differently, how can you do it better. Don't just look at stuff that relates to what you're working on. You don't know where you might find inspiration.
BRAINSTORM- Grab a piece of paper and a pen/pencil/crayon/whatever. You know what your client wants, and you've looked at great ideas. Now start writing. I don't care what you're writing. Just write down all sorts of rubbish. Everything that comes to your mind at this point needs to be on that paper. Let it all out. Start looking for words that relate to your project, and start forming ideas.
DOODLE- Yup..you don't have to know how to draw to do this. Turn over that piece of paper from step 3, and start doodling. Don't stop to refine your drawings, just keep going, one after the other. You can't be thinking at this point, because thinking while drawing is going to inhibit you. When you think, you start judging yourself and your drawing, and you hold back. Don't do that to yourself. Just keep drawing till you feel like you have some substantial material.
SIFT- Go over your doodles and pick out a few that you really really like and that you think can work towards a design solution. Re-draw them, refine them, and try to pick a favorite. This is the part I always have a problem with, and I end up taking at least a couple to the next step. I know I waste time doing that, but I just have to see how they're going to look on my computer screen.
GO DIGITAL- Scan/photograph your refined sketches, and place them as templates into a new Illustrator document. Pick your favorite drawing tool, and render your drawing digitally. Illustrator is a beautiful thing. That pen tool....I would marry it but I'm already married.
REFINE- Think you're done? Look again. Go out for a bit, look at some books, cook a meal, and come back. Look at that logo again. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Just kidding..but you know it could use a bit of tweaking here and there. This last step is why you should never procrastinate...you don't want to not have time to fix the details.
Ta-da! That, my friends, is an amateur's guide to designing a logo. It's helping me and I hope it can help others too. And the only reason I wrote this is because I am actually procrastinating and not working on my logo which is really what I'm supposed to be doing. Bye.