A logo is one of the most important aspects of branding for a company. It encompasses the entire brand image in a tiny, little symbol - and that is no easy feat.
A company is made up of many things; values and ethics, short and long term goals, customer service, well-chosen colours that represent the feel of the company, project management, continuous research into growing and evolving, relationships between clients and partners, a voice and much more. All of this needs to be compressed into a single image that can be used over and over again, placed anywhere to speak to an audience and inform them of what the company represents. It may look simple, but a logo is born through a deep and complex thought process. And that’s the beauty of it.
Different graphic designers have their own way of working. This is a description of my process which I think most designers follow in general.
Client puts out an advert for a logo to be designed. I send a polite message with a quote and a link to my website. If client is interested, I request a brief and if there isn’t one, I send a document asking further questions such as: what message do you want to tell your audience and is there a particular colour scheme you would like to stick to?
I gather inspiration from existing logos and anything else I find. Inspiration comes from anywhere. I download everything I like or anything that inspires me into a folder and go through them. Creativity is very intuitive so whichever design feels ‘strong,’ I use as a starting point to hand draw my own logo.
Once I am happy with two or three designs, I create a digital copy in Adobe Illustrator. Some things I consider when doing this are; font style. What character does the chosen font style exude? Does it match the company’s voice? How can I adjust the text so it looks better/unique? What colours reflect the company’s values/ethos? How will the target audience potentially react to the colour scheme? If a company wants an image as part of their logo, I consider the chosen illustration very carefully. Using an illustration can go wrong easily and sometimes it is better to have a text only logo. This part of the logo design process includes a lot research and decision making. Even if the logo is a text only design, it still requires a lot of thought and decision making to get to that stage. And I can guarantee that a professional graphic designer would not have just downloaded a font style and typed up the name of the company. They would have adjusted the text in minute ways that the average person wouldn’t be able to pinpoint exactly but would notice that it looked professional overall, (such as nudging the characters so they are all perfectly aligned as downloaded font often aren’t on a dead straight lines or reducing the length of the ascenders/descenders to make the overall design look cleaner and ‘wholesome.’)
Once I have two-three designs ready, I display them on individual documents. Each document contains a coloured version and a black and white version of one logo. The reason for this is because seeing a logo in black and white allows the client to appreciate the design without the distraction of colour and also envision it in different colours, on different backgrounds and how else they could potentially use it (in future). Each document also comes with an explanation of the logo. Why the shapes, lines, colours, type fonts were used. It is important the client understands the reasoning behind the design so they can agree and connect with it.
Once the client has offered feedback, I work on the chosen logo, making adjustments if requested. Although the client is paying money to have a design produced for their company and therefore have the final say, it is also the graphic designers responsibility to have some professional input on adjustments requested. Clients may not be creative at all or they may come from a creative background but not within the design discipline therefore requiring some guidance with decision making from a professional designer. This is all part of the service.
I normally offer up to three lots of adjustments and then charge an extra £10 for any more after that. This dissuades clients from taking advantage of my service (whether intentionally or not) and taking my time away from other projects I have going on at the same time.
Once the final design is agreed on, the client receives a high quality logo in PNG format (or any other format they require) and a PDF document explaining the logo, stating certain details (such as the colour code and type font used), and the in/correct way of using it.
Having read the process, I am sure the amount of work that goes into designing a logo can be very much appreciated. So next time a graphic designer charges you £200 for a logo, remember that you are paying for research, several design ideas, adjustments, professional advice and guidance, editing skills, knowledge and use of a professional software, knowledge on colour theory, composition and typography, a creative eye, admin work, most likely some sort of expensive creative education, a design process that has taken at least a few days, a PNG file and a document explaining and justifying every decision made.