Logo design in 10 easy steps

Posted to help a young designer.....

#1 Never start by drawing pictures.

#2 Never start with a computer. Get out a pen/pencil and paper.

#3 Never start with a computer. Get out a pen/pencil and paper. (Listed twice for impact - it's that important.)

#4 Write down 5 words that describe the company or their mission. (Example: Reliable, Professional, Inspection, Home, Fast). Try to avoid cliche words which don't really mean anything specific about the company such as "friendly", "professional", "dependable". These words could easily be used for any company and do not directly reflect a unique quality. (Yes. I used a couple cliches here. I don't know the specific company so this is merely an example. I would not normally use words like "professional", "reliable", or "fast".)

#5 Now write down 5 words that describe each of your previous 5 words. Use a thesaurus if needed. (Example [inspection]: Search, Look, examine, verify, probe)

#6 You now have 30 words. Doodle sketches for visual items that would relate to each of the 30 words. (Example: Search = magnifying glass, binoculars, eyes, map, Google-like Pin / Fast = Lightning, rabbit, winged shoes, race car, roadrunner ) You don't have to do every word, just the ones that spark ideas. In fact, here you do NOT want to force yourself to come up with items. You want whatever is on the top of your head because many people will have the same immediate recognition.

#7 At this point you'll have at least 20 little rough sketches. Start combining them to see how they can tie together. Such as a magnifying glass (inspect) and a Jacket and tie (professional).

#8 NOW take your best 5 combinations and move to a scanner/computer and refine them. Remember to KEEP THINGS SIMPLE. You want flat black and white images - no layer styles, no photographs - avoid gradients and blending modes. Just dead simple black and white images.

#9 Print out your refined icons/pictographs. Then BY HAND, with pencil and paper, start playing with how type could interact with the images. Can the T loop into a magnifying glass...... can the counter of the P be used to create a negative space in your icon/pictograph... that sort of thing.

#10 Now, move back to the computer and scan the roughs you did by hand and start playing with type to get it to work with your icons how you sketched it.

What about color? After you have nice, tight, clean, designs after step 10, THEN you can start experimenting with color combinations. If you have great concepts in black and white (step 10) then color choices will be easier to experiment with and more readily scrutinized to see how they do or do not work with the design. All logos MUST work in black and white. The 10 step processes is designed to get you to that point. Once the concept is clear in one color, it'll be strong in other colors as well.

This processes will FORCE you to be more creative and versatile during logo creation. Often you'll come up with ideas you never would have thought of by staring at an LCD screen.

One of the greatest pitfalls in creating a logo is sitting at a computer, typing the name of the company, then trying to FORCE some pre-made font to spark some inspiration in you as to how it could work for a logo. This is where logos which contain immediately recognizable fonts (like Hobo) come from and are horrible. The computer is a great hinderance for logo CREATION. It's exceptionally helpful for final clean up and delivery, but it should never be used in the creating phase of a logo.

Just my 2ยข

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