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Logos and logo design is an interesting topic to me. I often find that there are people who believe that logos are or should be quick, easy and shouldn’t cost much. Then there are those who believe that logo design is a longer, more in-depth process that requires a professional. And of course, there are people in between, who recognize that an investment of some kind – time, money, or both – is needed, but maybe it doesn’t need to be extravagant. Over my career I have most often run into clients who are in the quick and low-cost camp, which is completely understandable, especially since hiring a designer can be a large investment.
While there is nothing necessarily wrong with stock logos, or DIYing your logo, I strongly recommended taking the leap and investing in professional design services. Lol, although I may be a bit biased. When you hire a professional, you get creative insight and direction that you simply wouldn’t get on your own and you can have a truly custom and unique piece for your business that will stand out from your competition. As I have said before: you cannot get this from Fivver or other logo contest sites, as these will typically be inexperienced individuals who are often just using stock logos anyway.
How much you are going to invest will depend on your needs, budget, and designer. A logo-only project would start around $1000 with me. Now, this may seem like a lot at first glance – however with the amount of time, usually somewhere between 12 and 24 hours of total work time, dedicated to research, development, revisions, and final presentation – the value really begins to come into perspective. I create a main logo, alt logo, favicon, submark, and a brand guide that provides colors, fonts, and style details to my clients. My clients also receive every color and file format they would ever need, including the original design files.
When I design a logo, I have a clear process to help me learn about my client and their business – what styles they are drawn to, what styles they dislike, who their competitors are, what their competitors looks like, how they are different, and the list goes on. This process helps me conceptualize the right look and feel for my client.
My Logo Design Process: Step-By-Step
1. Free Consultation:
a. I like to setup a Zoom meeting or phone call with a potential client, so we can discuss their needs and budget. I will generally ask them whether their business is new or existing, what they are hoping to gain, and if they know of any style preferences they may have. I like to keep this meeting relatively short (20 to 30 minutes) and high-level. I will also review my process, timeline the project, and soonest available start date (this is especially important for me since I only work with one client at a time). If I am interested in the project and the client is interested in working with me then I will put together an official quote for their review.
b. Once the quote is approved by the client I send an invoice for 50% of the project total. This amount is due within one week of the invoice being sent and is required to hold the client’s spot in my schedule, and to start any work.
2. Client Questionnaire and Pinterest Board:
a. I will send my client a questionnaire for them to fill out that helps me understand their motivations, target audience, and business. I will also have them create a Pinterest board to help provide additional visual direction to the project. For a most projects the client would need to get the Pin board and questionnaire ready within 3 days, but this will depend on the established timeline.
3. Design Conceptualization:
a. Questionnaire and Pin Board Review: I also take time to review the Client Questionnaire and Pinterest board thoroughly before I start my project. I like to create a mind map of key words, and sometimes little doodles, while I go through these items. Once I have established a few solid ideas, I move onto sketching.
b. Sketching and Vectoring: I will typically sketch out my top 4-5 ideas for my clients’ logo design. Once I get these initially down on paper I will take a break and clear my head, so I can come back to my work with fresh eyes. After some time away from the project I look at my sketches and pick 3 to refine. Once these sketches are finalized I move onto vectoring.
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c. Client Review and Revisions: I scan my sketches and redraw them using Adobe Illustrator. I will again walk away for a while, so I can come back to the project with fresh eyes to refine my vectors. When I am satisfied with my designs, I upload to the project board for my client to review. I will have my clients select one logo, which they can have up to 2 rounds of revisions on. I always make sure to remind my clients to include all their changes in their comments for the revision round since revisions beyond the 2 included rounds are charged at an increased rate.
d. Alt Logo, Favicon, Submark: Once the client and I have finished the main logo I create an Alternate Logo, Submark, and Favicon. I will sketch out 2-3 ideas for each, refine the sketches, vectorize one, sometimes two, from each that I prefer, and upload them for client review. I give clients one round of revisions for these items.
a. Once the client and I have updated the logo, alt logo, and favicon to the client’s satisfaction, I prepare the final files. I always include single color, black and white, and greyscale versions for clients. I will create single color versions for all of their brand colors, so that the client has plenty of options for ads and promo items. If the client has a mark with their logo I will also break that out separately for potential stand-alone use.
b. I then create a style guide for the client that defines the color codes, fonts, and elements included in their logo package – including a breakdown of file types and uses.
c. Finally, I will bill the client from the remaining 50% and deliver their creative assets once the final bill is paid. I always remain available to my past clients for questions, concerns, and future projects. I like to check in a couple weeks after the project is over to make sure everything is going well.
Having this defined logo design process helps me immensely! I have found that with a clearly defined process you are better able to set and manage client expectations, set and keep deadlines, and create your best work. I have worked jobs were there was no process and I had to do projects flying by the seat of my pants and it was always miserable! When you take the time to define and establish boundaries for yourself and your clients, everyone has a better experience.
What is your logo design process like or what have you experienced when working with other designers? Do you find that an establish creative process helps you in your business?