There are times when creating a logo can seem overwhelming. But in an industry where efficiency is key, I’ve learned a few tricks that help me to create logos that are effective, meet my clients’ objectives, and are portfolio pieces that I feel proud of.
Today I'm going to walk you through my logo design creation process, and what better way to walk you through it than by using a client case study?
Meet The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide, a web-based divorce how-to that also empowers women.
Step 1: Getting to Know Your Client
When I first started working on The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide logo development, the first thing I did was research. Because the logo is one of the single most important visual elements for a business, it is imperative that plenty of discussion is done. I always ask the same four questions:
- What are the values of your business/company?
- Can I see any current/previous marketing materials you have?
- Who is your target audience?
- Do you have any bits of inspiration for me to work from? In other words, paint swatches of colors you like or are currently using? Photos of your business or products? How about patterns/images that really identify with your business?
The owner of The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide responded by telling me that she already had a pretty good idea of the logo she wanted. She knew she wanted something feminine, something that would speak to a wide demographic of women and a logo that was cute but empowering.
Since this was not a brick-and-mortar sort of business, she didn’t really have any paint swatches or photos to send me. She did, however, have a current website that she told me was in need of a facelift. She asked that I start there as a resource for information.
Step 2: Generate Imagery
One of the biggest mistakes a designer can make is to go straight to the computer and start plugging away at logo designs. Sure you may be feeling inspired after a chat with your client, but without really thinking, you’ll just be wasting time. Whether you’re stumped or you already have a few ideas floating around, this step has helped me out time and time again.
Sit down, grab some paper and a pen, and make a list. Title it anything you like, but the list should contain words that pertain to your client. In The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide case, I think of words like guide, book, clean, professional, woman, modern, chic, professional, etc.
You want to do this quickly and be sure to write down anything that pops into your head. By jotting down this list (whether they be nouns or adjectives), you’ll begin the process of generating visuals. These visuals can produce some pretty amazing logo designs. Take a look at my list for this particular client below.
Step 3: Logo Conception
After I have my list, I sort of let my level of inspiration either take me to the computer right away or start by sketching. In this case, I had lots of ideas to get out so quick thumbnails were the way to go for me (see below).
After sketching, I go straight to my computer. I like to experiment with different fonts and colors on screen so I can quickly duplicate ideas and adjust them slightly if need be.
When beginning (whether on the computer or sketching), I work my way down my imagery list. I may have an idea that utilizes just one word; I may have another idea that encapsulates a combination of them. Either way, having my list handy is a great reference and keeps the ideas flowing.
It is my policy when working on a client’s logo that I present them with three concepts. I try to create three entirely different looks while utilizing the three different types of logo formats: just type, image only, and a combination of both. Just because my client sees three logos though, doesn’t mean that’s all it takes. With The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide, I designed about 45 different logos.
Above is a random sampling of some of the logo ideas I created for The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide. Now that I have my concepts, it’s time to decide which logos I will present.
Step 4: Logo Presentation; Which Ones Do I Show Off?
In choosing the logo designs for The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide to consider, I first have to decide which ones I truly feel are my best work. It is important that I present clients with pieces that I’d feel happy about showing in my portfolio. Work that is published is work that will be seen by prospective clients as well. Therefore, I must be sure each concept given to the client is of the utmost quality.
After weeding out the “weaker” options, I then refer to the information that The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide initially provided me with. Do the logo concepts meet the client’s objectives? Do they communicate to the targeted audience? Are they legible and will they reproduce easily on a wide variety of materials? If not all of the questions are answered with a “yes,” then the logo gets tossed out.
The following are the final three logos that I chose to present:
When formatting the logos for presentation, I am always sure to duplicate each and reduce them in a size. This shows the client how well the logo appears when minimized. This is also the time to provide any additional color options the logo may have.
Should the client have any tweaks or revisions that need to be made, I include two additional “rounds” of design work. Unfortunately, in The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide case, the owner felt none of the logos were a good fit. However, I’m truly okay with that. I walked away with some great work that I feel proud of. In fact, look for the logo below in Logo Lounge 5 to be published this year.
So what was my exact concept when creating the above logo? I chose a text-book like font to offer that sort of “guide” or “handbook” feel. I wanted to keep it lowercase because this offers a more feminine, soft touch. The illustration of the girl is very confident, cute, and somewhat trendy. She looks professional and ready for business. By making the logo pink, the logo feels girly. This is important when trying to make a logo that empowers women. The logo should be strong and confident (which I feel the illustration portrays) without going overboard. When introducing a color like pink, the softness of the logo remains.
If you’d like to see other logos and work, please visit the portfolio section of my website. You can also visit The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide online (though 13thirtyone is not affiliated with this company in any way, shape, or form).