How to design a logo

A logo is the first thing anyone sees about your organisation. It has to get a lot across to the viewer in a very short space of time. It has to tell a story: Who you are, what you do and what your values are.

In this article I will guide you through the 5 steps of designing a logo. I can’t tell you how to design it yourself – you haven’t trained as a graphic designer, they are the professionals so it is best if you employ one!

Stage 1 – Do Your Research

At this stage your chosen designer would have assumed you have researched your new company/product name. If you haven’t we suggest you do. This is not hard to do and your accountant can also help you with this before you incorporate your company.

The first thing a designer will do is chat to you about your company to establish the following:

  • Where you think you are pitched in the market place,
  • Who your target market is, who are you main competitors,
  • Where is your business heading in the next 5 years.

It may seem a bit nosey, but all of these questions help to form a vision in the designer’s mind, to make sure they are not going to create the wrong image for your company.

With all this information collated, the designer can move forward to…

Stage 2 – Initial Concepts

This is the fun part for the logo designer. They get to explore the look and feel for your new logo. At this stage you will probably only be presented with 3-5 logo ideas (anymore and your designer really hasn’t been listening, they are firing off logos like bullets hoping one will hit the target).

The initial logo designs will probably be presented as 1 or 2 colours at this stage. This is OK, a well-designed logo should work in 1 colour – there are times where 1 colour is all you need.

Stage 3 – Development

After the initial presentation, where you will discuss the designer’s ideas, and get an idea of the story behind the logos, they will probably need to be developed over 2-4 sets of development.

This is where the designer can iron out form they don’t like, build on the concepts to fit in with your vision and look at colours more closely.

Design Tip:

If you ever feel bogged down or overwhelmed by the design process put the logo visuals away for a few days. When you bring them out again, the fog will begin to clear and you should get a gut feeling about which way you want to go.

Don’t ignore your gut feeling, and remember; you are the one who has to live and work with this new logo for many years to come. Take your time and you will get to the right result.

Stage 4 – Implementation

Usually when the final logo has been approved, or is close to approval, the designer will apply it to stationery design so you can see what it looks like in situ. This will give you a better idea of whether you can work with it or not.

Stage 5 – Delivery

You have chosen your final logo. Amazing feeling! You have successfully recruited a graphic designer who has fully understood and bought into your vision. From there they have created a unique logo just for you!

No picking one off a website, or going through a crowd sourcing website where ‘designers’ have no loyalty or real understanding about you and your company – you will find that you will start to see the same old logos all over place as people try to save money this way.

Now your final logo design is chosen the graphic designer will probably put together a brief set of guidelines about your logo. This should include:

  • How the logo can be used in different settings: against different backgrounds etc
  • The colours in the logo: a full breakdown on the colour in Pantone reference and CMYK (print), RGB (office), HEX (web).
  • The font: what fonts you should use to support the logo and begin to create a brand identity.

These guidelines are set for a reason, make sure all your staff get a copy and understand how to use them. It really helps as your company grows to develop consistency across your brand.