Initial Steps in the Logo Design Process

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How Design Live

Designer Jim Krause finessed his graphic design process, illustration and photography skills during his decades of experience in the design arena. He produces stellar logo design, illustration and other design projects for a myriad of clients, both small and large. Some of his past work includes creating designs for Microsoft, Kodak and Levi Strauss.

A multidisciplinary creative, Krause writes books on the subject, teaches stimulating courses and gives engaging presentations at design conferences (he will be speaking at the HOW Live Design Conference about “Sustainable Insanity.“)

How to Design a Logo from Brainstorm to Finish, Krause’s online course from HOW Design University, includes excerpts from his popular Logo Brainstorm Book and videos of Krause himself instructing participants on the logo design process. The course helps graphic designers identify different tactics to achieve a solid logo design — one that is mutually gratifying to the designer and the client.

How to Design a Logo from Brainstorm to Finish course preview:

Get a taste of what Krause covers in the course with the excerpts below. First, read some material featured in the course, then check out a video preview discussing the logo brainstorming process.

The Logo Brainstorm Book
The Logo Brainstorm Book

8 Questions to Ask Your Clients about Logo Design

From Chapter One of The Logo Brainstorm Book

Where to begin? By gaining an understanding of the client’s tastes, preferences and expectations. Why start there? Because the reality of the situation is that it’s the client who will be paying for the logo, and unless your design satisfies their aesthetic tastes and practical requirements, then neither the client’s target audience nor their competitors will ever get the chance to see your creation.

It’s an excellent idea to begin any logo project by prompting revealing and idea-generating discussions with the client and listening to what they have to say:

  • Find out as many details as you can about the products your client produces and the services they provide. Talk with the client about the tools of their trade and the ways they go about doing what they do. Ask for brochures, photos, web links and anything else that can provide you with information and visuals related to your client’s business: This material will not only help keep your work targeted and relevant, it will also provide you with conceptual and visual cues for the creative tasks that lie ahead.

  • Work with the client to come up with lists of words that you can take back to the studio for brainstorming sessions of your own. Come up with lists of nouns related to what your client produces as well as lists of adjectives related to positive aspects of their business.

Aviate Financial
  • Try to get a feel for any musts (if any) the client has in mind. For instance, the client might saythat “The design must include the silhouette of a hummingbird,” or, “The logo must be able to fit within wide horizontal spaces,” or, “The color chartreuse must not appear in the signature.”

  • Find out all you can about the client’s target audience (special attention is given to this topic beginning on the next page).

  • Discuss the client’s competition.

  • Ask the client what kinds of logos they especially like, and also inquire about logos they don’t like. These conversations may guide you toward paths of least resistance while also helping you avoid wasting time on impossible-to-sell ideas.

  • Query the client about their color preferences. What colors do they love? What colors do they hate? Are they open to ideas? What colors do they think their target audience will respond to? What colors are their competition using?

  • When meeting with the client, use your eyes as well as your ears to build a picture of their tastes and preferences. Does the decor and design of the client’s office offer any insights? What about the art hanging on their walls? Do the clothes worn by the logo committee offer any clues as to their stylistic preferences? Do certain colors dominate the client’s environment? Does anything you see lead to logo related questions worth asking?

If you’re interested in reading more about Krause’s logo design process, The Logo Brainstorm Book is currently available in MyDesignShop.

Word Power Video Preview:

The reason that word lists and thumbnail sketches are strongly promoted is because there are no better ways of getting a logo project off to a well-targeted and broadly creative start than through word lists and thumbnail sketches. This video provides a fast-motion demonstration of how word lists can be assembled and used.

Eager to hear more advice on the logo design process? Register for Krause’s How to Design a Logo: From Brainstorm to Finish course.