I’d love to tell you that creating a fabulous logo is quick and easy, but it’s sadly untrue. While anyone can slap a piece of clipart on a page and add some text, it takes time, care, creativity and a well developed process to achieve a perfect logo.

Designer and author Marty Neumeier says it well: ‘Design is easy. All you do is stare at the screen until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ This article provides an insight into the design process to enlighten consumers, along with advice for budding designers, to help us all avoid blood, sweat and tears when creating a logo. This is how it’s done:

Every good design begins with a strong brief, where the purpose and content of the design is decided. This helps both the client and designer understand what’s needed and expected. Too little, too much or incorrect information will lead to unhappiness all round when it comes time to create the initial concepts. As designer’s, it’s our responsibility to ask the right questions, to get the right information from our clients. Here are just a few of the questions we ask:

  • What does the business do? It’s important the designer understands the client’s products or services.
  • Who is the target audience? Knowing the typical age, gender, lifestyle and interests of the intended audience helps the designer create a logo that will attract more customers.
  • What business ‘image’ do you want to portray? Professional, friendly, corporate, casual, upmarket? This helps the designer create the right logo style for the client.

Now that we have such marvellous search engines as Google, this is now a simple and relatively quick part of the design process. A designer looks at existing logos used by similar businesses and other logos that target the same audience to gauge what’s good, bad and overdone in the industry. We then begin to form ideas about how to make our design better than the rest.

Very rarely (like, never) will the perfect idea pop into the mind of a designer and form itself flawlessly on the computer screen on the first attempt. And even if it did, how would we know it was the perfect design unless we’d first explored and eliminated other options? Good designers work an idea from lots of different angles, exploring possibilities and allowing the concept to take shape. Great designers can work lots of different ideas from lots of different angles. Most often what we end up presenting to a client is just a fraction of the work we’ve done. The client sees the best of the best ideas we’ve explored and (hopefully) chooses the best from the bunch.

Often it’s the client’s feedback that makes a good design great in the end. Sure, we’ve asked lots of questions and done our research, but the client still knows their business better than anyone and often has insights into their target audience that have been overlooked. Tweak a graphic, nudge a word, swap a colour, polish the text. It’s called refinement and it’s a vital part of the process, at the end of which is the perfect logo.

So you see, a great logo can be achieved without blood, sweat or tears if the process is right. It’s not quick or easy, but it’s extremely rewarding to create an innovative design that pleases the client, the audience and the designer all at once.