In this great video, Herb Lubalin explains the genesis of his logo for PBS as it evolved through client feedback.
Actually, I did … just before I undertook my first professional logo design project. My idea was to make something snappy and beautiful in about one hour. My boss had a different idea. He thought a logo should capture the personality of the client and the attention of casual viewers. He also felt it should be memorable, simple, direct and express how a company is different from its’ competitors. I could quickly see that there was more to this than I had learned in school. Thankfully I learned a process that I still use until this very day. A recent branding project we undertook for Rea & Associates brought the lessons back to mind.
Develop a “Design Brief”: A concise document based on interviews with the client to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Research: There’s a lot of intuition involved in the process, but it sure helps to have some facts … that lead to insights … that lead to good, well-grounded design intuitions.
Reference: No design springs up from an empty pond. I always spend a good deal of time looking at logo designs that have been successful, current styles and trends related to the Design Brief.
Sketching and Conceptualizing: Here’s where you add a dash of creativity to everything you’ve gathered in the Design Brief, research and gathering of reference materials. In fact, rather than a dash of creativity add a full shot … make it a double.
Reflection: An important part of the creative process is be a judge. You have to step back, take a break, gather feedback and renew your enthusiasm. Remember that sometime soon you will have to present this idea and you want to make sure you’ve looked at your design from all angles.
Presentation: Depending on the situation, you may decide to present only one design or a variety. One hard lesson I have learned is to never present a logo that you don’t fully believe in. If there’s one bad one in the group, you can bet your bottom dollar that will be the one chosen. Happens every time. There are still logos I’ve designed that make me grimace every time I see them. And I see them often.
Celebration: Drink beer. Eat chocolate. Sleep in late. Start on your next project.