Random Acts of Logo Design?
Not here. Not now, not ever.
A logo has to look good. That’s a given. But it’s perfectly possible to have a logo that looks good and means absolutely jack squat to anybody who sees it—including you and your employees. You’ll find logos like these everywhere you look. Some words with a random swoosh or underline below them. A decorative font. Something mildly copied from a competitor. They look like thousands of other logos and have no story, no purpose, and no meaning behind them.
You’re Not Mediocre. Why Should Your Logo Be?
There are enough meaningless logos in this world. We’re here to show you that you can do better. Much better. If you want a logo design that:
- Represents who you are & what you believe in
- Showcases the most unique aspects of your business
- Is clever, memorable and catchy
- Looks like it could be from a national company
- Is of the highest technical quality
- Has multiple formats and layouts to make it as versatile as possible
- Works just as well in black & white as it does in color
- Has all of the required files and supporting documentation
… then you’ve come to the right place.
Our Logo Design Process
How do we do what we do? It’s all about taking the right steps to get there. The rights steps doesn’t mean the quick, easy or short steps. It means rolling up our sleeves and doing the work required to come up with a great logo. We take our time doing this because the world doesn’t need another “me too” logo. Click through the steps below to expand on each one and learn how we create awesome logos.
The process starts with learning as much as we can about our client. The kinds of questions we dig deep into have nothing to do with the logo. They’re all about vision, mission, goals, values, unique selling propositions, and brand positioning. We need to know: Who are you, what makes you unique, and where do you want to fit in your customer’s mind?
We then turn our heads to the industry. We look at logos for hundreds of other companies, from direct competitors in the local market to outliers across the world. We use a variety of sources for inspiration, from Internet research, to local advertising, to books on logo design. Our goal is to find:
- What’s cliche and boring?
- What stands out?
- What have some of the strongest companies done?
- How can we make our client jump out from the herd?
We pack up all of the research and bring it to a brainstorming session. This usually involves two or more designers and creative people working together and individually to freely think of ideas, concepts and themes we can explore. Something important to note is we make a point of starting our work the old fashioned way: with pencil & paper. It allows us to explore ideas more quickly, more freely, and with less constraints. Design software may be powerful, but it encourages perfection which limits creative possibilities. The tools do more to get in the way than to help.
At the end of the first round, we come together and see if any patterns emerge or ideas stand out. If they do, we continue to the next step. If not, we’ll usually sleep on it and let the ideas sink in, and then attack it with fresh eyes in another session. This pause is as much part of the creative process as active thinking & sketching. Sometimes you need to let the ideas jumble around in your head for a while, and suddenly, sitting at home at 11pm on a Saturday night, you’ll have a brilliant insight. That’s also why a great logo and brand concept can sometimes take time to build.
Once we’ve narrowed down to 1-3 great ideas, we’ll present some sketches to our client, showing the basic idea we’re going after. The sketches at this stage are nowhere near polished or perfected. The point is to make sure we’re on the same wavelength before we spend a bunch of time perfecting them on a computer. If we’re off-track, then it’s easy to change direction and come up with some new ideas. This helps us check in more often with our clients, ensure we’re aligned, and keep the budget as low as possible.
Once we’ve narrowed down to 1-3 great concepts, we’ll go through a process known as storyboarding. This is the first step in the process where we start working on a computer. It starts with exploring some of the sketched concepts on the computer – drafting them out and then exploring variations of them in a more finished state.
One important thing to note is we start this process working in black & white only. We design the basic logo in a single colour, usually black, to ensure that whatever we create will look just as good in black & white as it will in full colour. Sometimes colour can, well, colour your perception of a logo. When you take it away, you find it’s not a very strong logo or it has problems in terms of how easy it is to read or reproduce. So we start with black & white to ensure we have a solid foundation to work with.
By the end of this first stage, we may have hundreds of concepts & variations across the designers who have worked on it. Fortunately for our clients, we do the hard work of narrowing these down so they don’t have to feel like they’re in the toothpaste aisle. This is where we apply our proprietary 19-point quality control process that puts our logos through the ringer to weed out the weak concepts. Admittedly, this process doesn’t make it easy for our logo designers… we challenge them to do better. Much better.
The winners in this process (usually 1-3) end up in a storyboard presentation. The logo storyboard is usually around 3-5 pages, and contains:
- The logo by itself, isolated from anything else
- Colour variations of the logo (full color, black & white, inverted, etc.)
- Layout variations of the logo (e.g. horizontal, vertical, square, etc.)
- The logo in context (how the logo may look when placed on a jacket, ad, sign, billboard, etc.)
The storyboard may also contain more than one concept, if we have a couple of directions which we think are viable options. We present these to the client for feedback, and usually this meeting is in person. Email is a great medium for quick communication, but discussing all of the various ins-and-outs of a design is a lot more efficient in a room together.
We make the final tweaks to the logo and perfect it from a technical perspective. After we’ve addressed any feedback from the client, we zoom in really close and perfect the linework, make sure everything is lined up, there are no stray points or wonky curves, and that everything is perfect. This makes for a high quality logo file that reproduces easily in a variety of mediums and looks just as good blown up to 10 feet in size as it does on top of your letterhead & business cards.
Now that we have a solid set of master files, we use them to create all of the various orientations, colour versions, and files the logo needs. We’ll create all of the formats our clients need to work with the logo on a day-to-day basis, from PNG to EPS to SVG. With every logo package we deliver 7 different formats for each colour version and orientation of the logo. The average logo package contains approximately 50+ files, ensuring that our clients always have the right format available.
Every logo we create, we document. The amount of documentation that comes with one of our logos depends on the level of service you have purchased. At the most basic, we provide a document which outlines the various versions of the logo and the colour specifications / PANTONE® codes used. We also document all of the file formats we have provided with an easy-to-use guide that shows you which format to use and when. This makes the 50+ files you’ll get with your logo seem a lot smaller because you’ll understand how they work. From this basic level, we can expand the documentation with examples of do’s and don’t’s in using your logo, which color versions to use where, font recommendations, stationery specifications, and basically anything and everything up to brand standards for your entire business.
The final step is to get all of this into your hands. We carefully organize all of the files and package them up on a nice USB stick which you get to keep. We can also produce printed copies of your logo / brand standards guide if you’d like to have them on file or add them to your policy binders or operations manuals.
Check Out a Few of Our Logo Projects
We’ve built hundreds of logos for businesses around the Peace Region, but here’s a small sample from our portfolio. In particular, check out Ramona’s Pizza, The Academy and VO2MAX for a more in-depth example of the process we went through to infuse their logos with meaning.