I recently developed a new logo for a social networking community. The site needed a logo so I began work right away. Here are a few tips that came to me after completing the task.
- Brainstorm / Don’t Overthink
One problem many designers have is that they overthink things trying to deliberately stand out from the crowd. That’s good and if you’ve got the time to think about what your going to do longer than you actually design anything, then go for it. Most of us don’t have the time for that, we’ve got deadlines.
Instead I when I’m designing logos I usually spend no more than 15 minutes trying to pinpoint the fundamentals of a client’s service. This company was called WeWorkForFree, a group that uses web technology to raise money for developmental programs around the globe.
My brain storm went something like this: web, world, technology, globe, aid.
That’s it. In fact, one might go so far as to say your brainstorm session should be a bit like picking keywords for SEO. Be brief and as acurate as possible, then use those words as the basis for your design.
- MockUp With Varying Colors and Fonts
Whenever I’m designing for a client I bounce roughs off my girlfriend to get her opinions. She’s not a designer and is very much left brained. When I show her stuff I deliberately change the colors, inverting and reversing as I see fit. Sometimes simply changing one color can change a logo design from “good” to “bad”, to her, and vice-versa. This forces me to try new things and it helps me focus on just how much color can bring to, or take away from a design.
Do the same thing with your fonts, once you’ve come up with a design try the same thing with a handful of different fonts. It can make a world of difference.
- Focus on Filtering
Much like the brainstorming process, I tend to eliminate the amount of time I’m just spinning my wheels working on stuff for no reason. This means I also limit my variations to between 5 or 7 major ideas. After I finish those I take the strongest ones and start working on variations. I can usually weed out the weakest ideas immediately allowing me to focus on variations of the stronger ones. This inner filter keeps me quick and efficient with my own time.
- Build a Narrative
Assuming your designer knows nothing about design, sometimes it helps to frame your mindset for them before and after you are presenting a mockup sheet. Be brief! Give a one or two sentence pitch as to what lead you to your result. For me (the design you’ll see below) it was something like, “I wanted to emphasize the global nature of the group as it relates to both the internet and your international work.” Bam. They can’t say you didn’t give it any thought. Now show your image and pay very close attention. The initial reaction of your client is the most important one they’ll ever give you. Do they blink? Do they say “Hrmph?” Do they make a huge grin? Try to ‘read them’ and you’ll be able to prepare yourself for praise or rejection.
If they don’t like it, don’t try to convince them. Be friendly, agree and just get back to work. Arguing with them will only equal a headache…especially when it comes time to invoice them. If they do like your work, then it’s okay expand upon your thought process, reaffirming their interest and delight.
- Think Big
The biggest thing you need to make sure of is that your logo will scale both in size and in terms of a widespread campaign. Will your logo translate to black and white? Could it be replicated as a stamp? Could it be presented with any variation of colors? In my world, all the best logos or brand identities maximize minimalism. They work no matter where they’re needed. For my logo I created one that was easily translatable to black and white, then I did different variations of the same logo web2.0 style, adding a bit of depth and lots of color.
Pretend that every client you take on is one day going have a brand as ubiquitous as Starbucks or McDonald’s. Would your logo still work? Good because if it wouldn’t you’ll ned to wash, rinse and repeat.
The image below is the final comp-sheet I put together, take a look and let me know what you think.