Logos are an integral part of a company’s brand identity, and logo design is one of the most important projects that a new business will go through. Even logos that might look like they only took half an hour to come up with most likely involved a design process involving multiple artists and approved by an entire boardroom.
Let’s take a deep dive into the corporate logo design process to better understand what’s going on when you hire an agency to design a new logo.
Why is a Logo Essential?
Starting a new business is a daunting process, and having a logo designed may be a low priority for you. However, a logo is an important part of legitimizing a new business, bringing your reputation to your competitors' level, and earning the trust of consumers. In many ways, having a professional logo is as important to building a positive brand identity as earning good reviews and having quality products.
A good logo makes a strong first impression and captures customers' attention, which can be a challenge in a crowded field. A logo helps establish brand loyalty and makes your company memorable. To build a successful company in the era of social media you need to have a corporate culture that your audience can connect with. That culture starts with a logo that represents the company.
How Does a Logo Get Designed?
When you hire an agency to create a logo for your company, it sets in motion a detailed process of discovery, design and collaboration to create a symbol that can represent your company for decades. Here are the five basic steps that design agencies engage in to design a logo for a corporation:
1. Concept Building
Logo design starts with a meeting with the web design firm and decision-makers in the company who will approve the logo. The web design firm is trying to get a feel for the corporate culture, and the meeting gives the executives in the company an opportunity to discuss what they hope to see from a new logo.
During this startup design phase, the web design firm will establish what type of logo will be most appropriate for the company and start building a framework for the project. However, this is usually the last time the client gives direct input into the design until the logo is presented to the company.
2. Research and Strategy
With some basic parameters in mind, the design agency begins to really start discovering what the company is and how they can create a logo that represents it best. There are several things that your web design team will investigate during this stage:
- Heritage – Is there a historical element, either to the company, product, or founder, that is important to the brand identity of the company?
- Competition – What type of logos have been successful for the immediate competitors of the business? How can the logo improve upon or differentiate itself from them?
- Memorability - Which of your company's branding elements have the most potential to create a striking, long-lasting impression in your audience's minds?
- Timelessness - What aspects of your brand have stood the test of time and which are prone to change? Great logos carry a brand forward for years and must remain consistent.
- Versatility - Logos must be clear and attractive across a variety of applications. Color coordination, scaling, style and integration with other branding elements will be considered here.
- Appropriateness - A logo may look good on paper - but does it suit your brand's target audience and align with your long-term marketing goals?
- Future – What are the goals of the company? A logo should accommodate for how a company will evolve and grow over its lifetime.
This is where the web design team tries to identify what sets the company apart and reflects those values in the logo.
3. Brainstorming and Design
With sufficient knowledge of the corporation, the industry, and the audience, the design team begins putting together some rough ideas for logo designs. The web design team will also start to consider the typefaces, symbols and shapes that will come to form the logo in its final form.
Style choices influenced by the information gathered during the first two steps will start to emerge. The web designer will consider whether a retro or modern logo might be appropriate. They might try to include an identifiable object like an animal or design something more abstract. Anything goes during this phase, and it's where the web design firm lets the creativity flow. Use these tips as a baseline during this stage:
Start in black and white - Leave color decisions for later. Start with basic black and white to help focus your attention on foundational elements like the shape, layout, and proportions of your design. Colors are easy to change and can be added near the end of design.
Consider font/typography - Consider which font and typography choices best suit your brand. Try to balance originality with clarity, here. Unique fonts may help you stand out but may also be difficult to read. Work with your designers to select fonts that support and reinforce your existing brand style.
Leverage color - When it's time to look at color, identify which hues are central to your existing branding and use those colors in your logo palette. Go for a minimalist approach here and limit yourself to a few options. Your brand logo should be simple with hues that complement each other according to color theory. And on that note...
Aim for simplicity - Keep it simple! The point of a logo is to act as a graphical representation of your brand -- ideally, one that sticks in viewers' minds. The Nike swoosh is a great example. Simple logos are easier to produce and have more staying power in a viewer's memory.
- Develop icons (when applicable) - While logos are graphical representations of your brand overall, icons act as visual representations of specific functions. Certain brands may benefit from developing dedicated icons for their brand or services, so consider what you offer and whether you'll need to come up with iconography to place in a UI/UX layout.
After the brainstorming session, actual design sketches begin. Some web designers will sketch out over a hundred different logos on paper before they narrow it down to a dozen to move forward with.
With a list of possible designs prepared, the team will move to a digital environment to continue their work. Typically, a web design firm puts together five to ten options. Once the designs are on illustration software, the web designer tweak specifics such as color choices or typefaces to create multiple variations on each concept.
There is an important period of internal critical review during this phase, and some ideas might get sent back to the drawing board while others get tossed altogether. The web designer is looking for a memorable, versatile and relevant design that stands the test of time. This isn't an easy process, but eventually, the team will decide on up to five finalists to show to the company.
Now it's time to loop the business back into the process. The web design firm usually has prepared a presentation that will go along with each logo reveal, explaining the origins of different style choices and how they relate to the business. With this, executives will be ready to make their decision.
Hopefully, the design agency has created something that appeals to the company. Revisions might be requested before final delivery, but usually, this is the end of the road for the logo design process.
Logos Designed for Successful Businesses
Establishing a logo for your business is an important step, and finding the right web design firm to handle the process for you can be nerve-wracking. If you find a respected, successful agency that takes the time to complete all of these steps, however, you should be in good hands.