What it takes to create a logo

“What does it take to create a logo?”

It turns out that if you ask this question to five different people, you’ll get five different answers. Any work that we do for a client requires collaboration from multiple members of our team. If you ask an account coordinator what it takes to design a logo, they might say that to discover what the client is looking for a lot of investigative work is required.

When designers discuss the process of creating a logo, the focus is usually on how colour conveys emotion, who the intended audience is, and what feelings the finished product needs to convey.

There are a lot of variables involved in the process of design. For a snapshot into how seriously our team takes the creative process read our blog post about “The How and Why of Our Rebrand.” Despite all the factors involved, the team has narrowed the entire logo development process down to a few straightforward steps.

 

Create logo, design

Developing our own logo was quite the process.

Research

The process of design, and creativity in general, is a personal one. Entrepreneurs live and breathe their organizational vision, but it’s surprisingly difficult to explain the perfect visual representation of your brand. That’s where our expertise comes in handy!

The first step to create a logo with the KEEN team involves the Logo Questionnaire, a document that helps to start the flow of ideas and narrow the creative focus. The questions we ask are playful and open-ended to get the client thinking about their business and about the look of their ideal logo.

Next up is a sit down between the KEEN team and the client. Aptly named a ‘discovery session,’ this meeting of the minds is all about delving into the essential elements of your brand. This in-depth meeting clarifies expectations and allows the client to steer the direction of the logo.

Design

After all of that groundwork comes the magic, also known as design. Armed with the information that the accounts team was able to collect, and after doing some additional research of their own, the designer begins the creation process. Using direction from other team members, the completed logo questionnaire, and the results of additional research, the designer will brainstorm in search for a nugget of inspiration. Designer extraordinaire Tess Belke explains, “nuggets are little gems of information that spark an idea that we can create a design around.” Keep in mind that the search for inspiration is only the initial stage of the creation process.

Searching for inspiration leads to sketching ideas, then the winning drawings are digitized. Digitizing sketches allows designers to work with the logo making tweaks, choosing the best typefaces, colours and deciding on the overall layout.

At this point in the process, the designer will collaborate with the art director, sending the best concepts back and forth to perfect and finalize a logo. Once the team has landed on a version that can be sent to the client, the designer prepares a logo proofing document which includes 3 or 4 of the best concepts along with the rationale behind them. When designing for a particular client, the mission, values & brand identity of an organization must be considered while ensuring that the logo appeals to the right audience.

Finalize

The final logo that resonates with a client can be unpredictable. Some clients are, for lack of a better term, totally type-A and come to the discovery session having done their research, knowing what they want, and sometimes if we’re lucky, they even bring examples of what they like. With that said, preparation doesn’t always equal success, and it can be difficult for some clients to decide on the one. If you’re thinking that this process sounds like an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, I would say you’re completely right.

Typically, there is at least one round of revisions between the client and the creative team. Once the client is in love with their new logo, the designer can finalize their deliverables. We’re passionate about being KEENers with our work, so we provide clients with everything that they need to make their new logo into an example of branding success.

The final product sent to the client contains their logo saved in multiple formats along with a personalized logo guideline document. The guidelines document includes a detailed colour breakdown identifying which logo is intended for which medium and why (Pantone for offset printing, vs. RGB for web applications, vs. CMYK for digital printing). Providing the clients with the how, the what and the why of their logo design goes a long way to ensuring that they can use the logo well into the future and that it will always be seen at it’s best.

 

Here are some examples of logos that the KEEN team has produced along with their design rationale:

 

Scissorsmith

Scissorsmith logo creation

This logo uses sans serif typography paired with a more traditional style serif typeface. The use of the sans serif keeps the logo modern while the serif font is a nod to the traditional sharpening techniques used by Scissorsmith. This logo is trendy without being easily dated.

&27

Ampersand 27 logo creation and design rationale

This logo was created to represent the marriage of bold flavors and carefully crafted ingredients with an organic environment and spontaneous interactions between friends and family.

St. Joseph’s College

St. Joseph's College logo design and rationale

The shape of a speech bubble is created using a mosaic of vibrant multi- colored shapes, representing the variety of people that join together at St. Joseph’s College to participate in discussion, learning, and worship, and become part of a safe community that is open to all. The silhouette of a white cross connects with the speech bubble to show that all things are pure, welcoming, and rooted in faith.

What do you think? Have we pulled back the curtain on the mystery that is the process of design? Logo design is a topic that we are pretty KEEN about discussing so share your thoughts!

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