Cambiastic custom lettering logo & graphic design

Custom Logo Design Process

Although successful logos appear to be very simple visually, the process of creating a logo is quite the opposite. Designing a logo is a time-consuming project with many different phases of development required to produce a powerful final product. The investment is well worth it, though. When the process is executed successfully, the resulting logo becomes a valuable asset for the marketing efforts of the business.

The main difference between a cheap and professional logo development is in the process. Yes, you can go through the process yourself and get good results! Even if you don't develop a logo that's satisfactory to you, and you'll decide to hire a designer anyway, you'll develop a great specification with lots of examples of what you like and don't like. Such specification speeds up the logo development and puts you in more control of the final result.

Table of Contents

Step #1: The Design Brief

The first step is getting to understand the values and goals of the business, organization or individual. A lot of effort must be put into establishing the target audience. Many beginning business owners think that they want to reach... everyone. And refuse to think about anything specific. Or almost everyone, like: "men and women 20-60 years old". It's definitely too broad to help you get the best results from your marketing efforts and expenses.

For the product or service to have any character it must be directed to someone specific. Otherwise it's directed to nobody. It's a commodity and for the customer it's the price that differentiates it from the competition. Only when you talk to some specific group you stand a chance to craft a successful marketing message with which people will resonate and identify. Over time you can add or extend the groups you talk to. But talking to everyone doesn't really work any more.

Sometimes a target group is fairly obvious. For instance, if the product is expensive and takes a significant time to make, you would identify and target people who can afford it. If the product is supposed to appeal mainly to women, you could have one marketing message to women and a completely separate marketing campaign directed to men looking for a gift for a woman.

Additionally, each business has an ideal client - one that brings in the most profit at the lowest expense, in terms of cost, support time, etc. Identifying this group and focusing on it is priceless.

Another angle to think about it is by answering a question: if it turned out that your logo resonates most with a single group of people, a single segment of the population, whom would you like it to resonate with? Which group of people would make you most happy and raise hope for a good future of your brand?

Even if you have a big budget for mass-marketing, and your mass-marketing brings results, it would bring much better results if you switched to multiple specific messages directed to specific marketing segments.

As much information as possible should be gathered at this stage. No detail is excessive. Is there any preference for the visual aesthetic? Is there an existing color scheme or style established? In some circumstances, a new logo might be a chance to start fresh and create a brand new visual identity, whereas in other circumstances it might be important to maintain some sort of consistency.

Some questions that help in this phase are: It is important to understand where the logo will be used, on what scale and in what capacity. For example:

Step #2: Research & Discovery

Once the general information has been gathered, we delve deeper into the research stage. Where is the business at currently, in regards to branding? We investigate its collateral such as the website, social profiles, catalogs, reports, stationery.

Successful logos can allude to any number of things. For instance, some logos subtly refer to the company’s geographic location. Or to some important fact, like that its products are ecological. Establishing potential themes will benefit the process, providing more material to use when brainstorming and sketching later on.

We perform research on the market, niche, its history, current trends, the company and its competition. What is working for the competition? If they are doing things badly, we can establish what to avoid to help our design succeed.

Identifying keywords related to the company and its product or service is also a common practice at this point in the creative process. And they are helpful in the brainstorming phase.

We gather inspirational materials, reference imagery, visual iconography and appealing shapes in a form of a mood board.

Step #3: Brainstorming

Based on all the information and materials gathered we begin to brainstorm ideas. An effective technique here is to go after quantity, not quality. Nothing should be criticized. As many ideas as possible should be generated and all possible paths explored.

We use various brainstorming techniques and formats of gathering the ideas. Mind mapping and lateral thinking play an important role here. In the process we also expand the moodboard and the list of keywords.

Step #4: Sketching & Conceptualization

Now it is time to begin conceptualizing the ideas from the brainstorming phase. Sketching these ideas on paper is an essential step that encourages us to slow down and examine all possible angles and directions. It's important to start on paper as such sketches are much faster to create than on a computer and result in a bigger amount of varied concepts.

We sketch using various types of paper, pencils and special types of pens, like Parallel Pen for custom calligraphy used in the design of sophisticated lettering and logotypes.

The sketches are scanned, printed, redrawn and enlarged, in order to refine them. They are improved with grids and balancing lines being drawn to align things perfectly.

Finally we select the most promising sketches for further refinement.

Step #5: Draft Production

The most successful ideas developed during the sketching phase are recreated on the computer. Digital implementation is usually executed using Adobe Illustrator, a vector based drawing program.

The ideas are given a new viewpoint, when they can be viewed on a screen. It allows us to observe any immediate concerns that may have been overlooked in the sketch.

The drafts are printed out and redrawn again in order to view them from various angles and refine them even more.

Before colors are applied to any design, consideration of the logo must be taken in monotone black and white shades. A great logo design must have the ability to look good in any format, in any output.

Then we start experimenting with colors. Several chosen color palettes are integrated into the design, to see what feels like the strongest approach. This part of the logo design process involves many comparison prints where they can be considered on one page.

Step #6: Step Back

At this point, it's good to step away from the project for a brief time. This break acts as a time of reflection, giving the designer a chance to return to the project with a fresh perspective. This may also be a good opportunity to gather feedback from unbiased outside parties. Designing a logo can be a very involved process; so gaining insight from an extra pair of eyes (or more) is highly beneficial. After returning to the logo designs, the most effective iterations must be chosen and assembled for presentation. In our studio, we always review the designs of each other, comment, and brainstorm more.

Step #7: Presentation to the Client

Finally we select the best concepts, usually no more than three, and prepare them for presentation to the client. We see it as our job to select only 3-4 best designs out of all we have prepared, that best solve the design challenge. From our experience the bigger the selection the harder it is for the client to make a decision. Numerous studies showed that it has psychological basis.

We prepare mockups, such as a rendering of the design on a uniform or vehicle wraps. This helps the client visualize their logo in a ‘real world’ setting, and make a better decision when choosing a concept.

Our clients have their dedicated logo project pages on our website. It's easy to share with other people to get their opinions if needed. The page provides means to rate and leave detailed feedback for each concept at every stage of the project. Click here to see an example project page.

Step #8: Client Feedback & Refinements

Based on the feedback and discussion with the client, we develop and tweak a chosen concept. We offer an unlimited number of changes, until the client is absolutely happy.

Basically, we go through steps #3-#8 until the client is 100% satisfied.

Step #9: Delivery

Once the client is happy with the resulting logo, the logo enters its final refining process. First, it's pixel-perfected. Then it's prepared for print. Both are complex and time-consuming processes. Their effects are usually not visible to the naked eye, but absolutely necessary to make sure the logo can be scaled without limitations, used in any subsequent projects, on any background and that it can be printed out without issues. The logo must look equally great on a business card, billboard, car wrap and t-shirt.

Then the so called 'final files' are prepared and exported. The set of formats provided is designed to cover all the client's needs for online and offline usage of the logo. That is on websites, social media profiles, in print. The AI vector file can be used in any other branding or marketing graphic design project.

Click here to see a list of file formats and their descriptions on an example project page. The files may be downloaded separately from our website, all at once in a ZIP format, or we can place them on our Google Drive if so requested.

We want to make sure our clients know how to use the designs, so we provide descriptions of each file and we are on hand to provide immediate assistance or to answer any questions you may have, at any point in the future.

Step #10: Expansion to Brand Collateral (optional)

We can move to expand the logo onto the further branding process steps, if the client so wishes. The majority of our clients continue with creating: Click here for a list of our branding and graphic design services.

Want to Work with Us?

If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, contact us now by clicking here.
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