Graphic design is everywhere and is becoming increasingly accessible, both for producers and consumers. For example, since the Fall I have begun freelance designing. I was wrapping up my semester in a graphic design course and my passion for Illustrator and design took over. All that I needed to do was download the program and I was ready to begin.
From the start, I have been largely self-taught. Whenever an element arises that I don’t know how to design, I have two amazing friends that help me through the day: Google and Youtube. However, I could not have gotten as far as I have or as intrigued with graphic design as I am without the help of Jordan Holt, my graphic design professor, who’s teaching leads me to the main event:
The 5 Helpful Steps for Amazing Logo Design.
In one of the first graphic design classes that I ever attended I was given these 5 simple steps and they have truly changed the way that I design and view designing.
STEP 1: Research
I know what you’re thinking: BORING. I was too, but this is one of the most crucial building blocks of any design project. During the research step you will look for information regarding the project medium, its dimensions, color mode, etc. It is also important to check out what other designers are doing as it relates to your project. I recommend visiting sites like Behance and LogoPond to get a feel for the styles and trends in the market.
STEP 2: MORE Research
I know, I know, this is the last thing you want after I just told you to research, but it is crucial that once you understand the formatting in’s and outs and popular styles, your next step is to research the company you are working with. Know their mission, core values, and more concrete aspects such as color schemes. The goal here is brand honesty: conveying the company you are working with honestly. For instance, would Apple make huge flashy ad or a minimalistic one? Knowing your company makes all the difference in the designs you make.
STEP 3: Brainstorm – ON PAPER!
B-b-but Aaron, I am awful at drawing, can’t I just play around in the program for ideas? No, you cannot do that. But, if it makes you feel any better, I am awful at drawing too. I think I hated this step more than any of the others for that very reason. Ironically – or providentially, whichever you prefer – this step as helped to produce some of my favorite designs. This step is important for simply getting your ideas out there. Once they are on paper, even a crude sketch will help once you start designing. Think of this stage being like writing an outline for a long paper: it makes the rest go smoothly.
STEP 4: Make Comps
Based on your brainstorming sketches, choose 2-3 of your favorite concepts and bring them to life within the program. It’s ABOUT FREAKING TIME. I’ve literally been waiting for this moment my entire life. Woah there, settle down. I’m not letting you out at full speed yet. The example above has gone even further than it would need to be. Comps don’t have to be fully polished or perfect by any standards, they are essentially simple black and white, cleaner, digital sketches.
STEP 5: Revise and finalize
During this step you are further refining and revising your ideas and putting all of the finishing touches on your design including – but not limited to – color, alignment, typeface selection, etc. Some helpful step-ception for final designs are to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it simple? Less is more is painfully true. Don’t become too attached to your polish, it may be better without it.
- Is it scalable? It will be used on anything from a letterhead to a billboard.
- Is it versatile? Your logo should work easily in greyscale on light and dark surfaces.
- Is it timeless? Logos are meant to last a long time. Stray away from strictly mimicking trends.
- Does it reflect the brand honestly? Are the core values of the company communicated well?
STEP 6: Revise revise revise.
Repeat steps 3-5 if necessary. If you finish a design and aren’t crazy about it, try making a few more and let that one sit for a while. This gives you more time to explore your creativity. I can say with almost 100% certainty that none of my favorite designs that I have created have been done in the first try. Those come about 1 : 1,000,000. Typically, I will send my designs through 2-3 revisions minimum and I am not afraid to scratch an idea entirely.
I hope that this has shed the same valuable light on logo design to you as it did for me!
Feel free to comment and share with the links below! And Happy designing!
.: Aaron :.