You have seen many photos of the same picturesque sunset. All of them include the same scenery, and most of them are taken at the same moment, at that “click” when the sun touches the line of the horizon. Nevertheless, some of the photos seem to be exactly what you want to see. They seem to match exactly your taste. If your mind, as you read above, created the perfect sunset image, let me guess: the same thing happens to you when you look at ads, when you see covers, when you come across a logo, especially when this logo is refreshed. Something looks like “clicking in place”, creating a subtle pleasure, or perhaps even making you wonder how a redesign can make a logo look so different. You may not even be able to find the reason why the logo, without changing its general image, can acquire a completely different aesthetic identity.
But let’s make it a little simpler. Whether it’s a new creation or a redesign of a logo, there are some procedures that are always followed by a graphics designer. We’ll check together 7 + 1 key steps that make a decisive contribution to create a professional logo design.
1. Brief me, brief me now!
The first step, before we even start drawing the first line, is to meet with the person concerned. First, we need to understand the client in depth, before we can get started. We need to see its own way of perceiving things, its own aesthetics and the approach it chooses for his business. In other words, we should enter our client’s professional and aesthetic universe, understand its “worldview” and grasp its real needs. Yes, it sounds romantic; and maybe, as an idea, it is. But this should happen in the most indirect way possible, in order to get the clearest and unbiased picture.
Excellent! We gathered all the information we need for our client and its business. So, now, can we start?.. Maybe this is the most void question with a locked answer to “No!”. You have flour and eggs; you cannot make pasta, if you do not make the dough first and then the macaroni. (As in the logo design, so in the examples, we choose the custom themed.) So, we have to use all the data gathered in briefing and evaluated through the research, in order to include even the smallest detail. We always look at the information available about the relevant business sector, the specific features, the history of the company, and – it is very important – about the market competition. This will allow us to lay the foundations for an integrated communication plan.
3. Dig deeper for the design
Now it’s high time to dig deeper into the technique that should be used. A logo is not designed by just shooting in the dark. It requires technique, medium and purpose by which it will be designed. It is time to define the style and the visual identity that will be presented in the final design. In the case of redesigning, now it’s high time to study the current logo. The old logo has already some established features and a recognition by the public. We should find the positive points, but also the weaknesses, and then we decide on what should be left and what needs to be changed. However, in any case, the two previous steps are mandatory.
4. Drafting like a pro, proofing like a drafter
It is quite common amongst professionals to create several drafts for a logo. But it is not a simple process, and it is not time-predictable. All the conclusions of the above steps should be put into practice, so that we can take our own revenge on the wasted time and the excessive effort that the multiple researches might have consumed. In this step there are two stages: Work usually starts conventionally and proportionally, in the old good way of the handmade maquette, of a first draft that will give us a very broadly visualized set of information, in order to prepare the next steps to the final picture. Only when we have a crystallized image, and only then, someone can hear the sound of the first click on the white (ok, transparent) background.
5. “It’s a two clicks task!” […or, Why the graphic designer did not become a free diver!]
Before we get to the notorious “two clicks” saying, a content creator needed dozens of them just to describe briefly the whole process. To describe these “two clicks”, however, it will probably require a dedicated article just on them. Designing is a time-consuming process -in whatever amount of time you need- but it certainly does not come out with a single breath (unless you practice free diving). It takes breaks, both to clear your the mind and to distract yourself from your own creation and enthusiasm. It is not uncommon at all for a graphic artist to move away from what it has already been planned and to go back to the “sea” of creation (as many times as needed) until all the data and features decided to be used are reflected in the logo. And as long as he swims into the sea of creativity, do not throw pebbles to interrupt, and generally avoid giving unasked advice on the “best swimming technique”. Don’t worry! If we are talking about a professional, the graphic designer will always be there, having all the info needed even collected from the first steps. But even if I cannot convince you about that, the graphic designer will ask you several times for your opinion and your feedback.
6. Implementation, execution, application
To get to this point so far, it means we did not have any complications in any of the above 5 steps. And if this is the case for an experienced professional, in any other case it would be very easy for someone to simply sink even in the shallows of creation. Let us assume that all the required “clicks” of the design were made and everything goes by the plan. Now it is time to apply the design. A logo may not be complete unless it is applied to the entire visual identity of a business, and the application is complete only when every detail is closed, both in communication material and company’s equipment.
If someone thought that the logo design process was completed with its application, forgets a fairly basic step: the presentation. This is where all the accompanying communication material should be created, in order to explain to the client the idea, the way of implementation, the communication strategy and its objectives. Indeed, it is one of the most important stages, since here the whole of the work and creation will be handed to the person concerned. If this step does not cancel the results of the previous ones, then we can be very pleased and proceed with the 7 + 1 step.
7 + 1. The hidden step! [… or, The revenge of the rest of the creative staff]
At this point, the logo is complete. This stage of creation by the graphic designer has been completed. And because usually the other specialties take over the project, it’s time to take the final and secret step that every graphic artist follows. With the completion of research, design, creation, implementation and presentation of a logo [of the “c’mon, it’s a two clicks task”, anyway], graphic designers at 21.3% choose to celebrate by drinking (of which 84.7% choose beer), 13.4% choose sugar consumption (of which 74.1% choose chocolate), 9.3% plan to celebrate it somehow, but sleep during the planning, 6.2% leaves its choice unclear, while 49.8% have no time for a celebration, because they have already begun their next project.
But let us go back to the essence. A logo requires a complex process in order to be professionally designed. Obviously it could be done by drawing “two lines”, but it would have absolutely no meaning and no compensatory implementation. The logo is a key component of the corporate identity, and that is why it should incorporate all the required features of the unified communication strategy that has been set up to present and promote a business. It is, in other words, the mapping of a set of ideas, words and mechanisms of communication in the form of a representative image of the enterprise itself. So a properly crafted logo is a click closer to philosophy; a perfect click though.