Logo Design - Development Best Practices
Ahhh the logo. Even the word itself is unique. In order to be successful in business, every company will need a unique logo to represent their brand and to build equity with. Brands come in many forms such as companies, products, organizations, groups, causes, places, achievements, events…all things that need to be readily recognized through a single graphic element. It is the graphical tip of the brand iceberg, the spearhead of identity programs, the symbol of all that is good about your business. I find it an intriguing design challenge because you have to say so much with so little. As important as your logo is to your business, its creation should be treated with care and mutual respect between the client and the designer. It is important for the client to help the designer by sharing insight into the brand’s personality. The process of creating a logo has no golden rules. But there are best practices that can help make the development of a logo enjoyable, efficient, inspiring and rewarding for both the client and the designer.
1. Start with a creative brief.
When we talk about best practices that affect development efficiencies, the creative brief is essential for the communication of directional input from the client to the agency as well as raising questions from the agency to the client. With many years in the field of graphic design, advertising and branding, I can tell you without a doubt that the creative brief is the most important tool to streamline communication between the client and the designer. It contains insightful information that you want to be considered during the conceptualization and design of the new logo/identity system. The information contained in it will fuel the designer’s creative imagination. It will be referred back to numerous times during the development process. So, it’s very important to give this document the respect it deserves by giving it your undivided attention when completing it and by thinking through everything you want to convey to the designer.
Special Note: As a client, if you are sourcing information or input from numerous colleagues within your organization for the creative brief, please be courteous to the designer and consolidate everyone’s input into a single document. This will require your group to work out any issues on points that are not mutually agreed upon. By providing conflicting input you will only impede the process by creating confusion for the designer, causing frustration for both of you when you’re reviewing misguided designs. At Texas Creative we require a creative brief signed by our client before any work is started.
2. Idea incubation.
Words from the wise: Don’t rush the process. It’s important to give the designers time to go through their own approach to research, conceptualization and creation.They need to get their creative juices flowing based on the input derived from the creative brief, which they will refer to many times during this process. At Texas Creative we typically have two designers assigned to a logo project in order to get different approaches and styles of design. The design work begins independently so they can get their ideas started. At some point, the designers will collaborate to discuss their design ideas and discuss further development. Then its back to the drawing board, to refine the ideas and narrow the field down to the finalists that will be presented to the Account Executive who manages the account. We share our ideas with the AE to make sure we are on the right track. We prefer to have approximately 2 to 3 weeks to go through our design development process and prepare for presentation to the client.
3. Quality, not quantity.
It’s a good idea to have the agency limit the number of designs presented. My philosophy is to focus on fewer designs and refine them, perhaps presenting a deeper applications presentation. It’s counter productive to present too many designs as it only compounds the decision, making it harder for the client to decide out of too many options. The Agency should manage the process and help guide the client to a solution. At Texas Creative we usually present 3 designs and do not exceed 5.
A great logo is a vital part of every company’s brand. It is important to get it right the first time because a lot of time and money will be invested in implementing the new design. The goal for both the client and the agency is to arrive at a great solution as efficiently as possible. My thoughts in this blog come as a result of more than 30 years of working in this creative industry. I hope my suggestions help in your branding endeavors. Visit our logo designs to see what our team has created for clients.
Side Note 1: As important as a good logo is to a company or product, many times in presentation I share the statement “Logos don’t make the company, the company makes the logo”. Once the logo is completed, the outstanding performance a company has over time builds brand equity behind the logo. That’s why it’s important to allow the creative process to have its due.
Side Note 2: Once you have selected a logo design, I recommend that you contact an Intellectual Property Attorney (an IP Attorney) and pursue trademark registration so the new logo is protected. You should also defend your logo aggressively should anybody try to replicate the design.