I’m challenging myself to design three logos and brand identity packages for three fictitious companies. This is an experiment for me; I’m venturing out of my comfort zone. My background is in public relations and persuasive writing. However, I’m not entirely out of my depth, I’ve trained in the Adobe Creative Suite. Also, I have cursory design experience as a one-person marketing department for a strategic consulting firm.
Last week, I decided to embark on a logo design journey. I challenged myself to create logos and brand identity packages for three fictional companies: a boutique brewery, a flower shop, and a men’s fashion label. The choices weren’t arbitrary. Each company is in a different industry and would want logos with different feels. The challenge is to create logos that are different styles.
This week I’ve created a plan that will—hopefully—over the next five weeks deliver three quality logo examples that I can use in a portfolio. The challenge is beginning to feel daunting. I’m anxious to dive in headfirst. But diving directly into Adobe Illustrator is not creating a brand, it’s digital drawing. To ease my nerves, I’ve outlined the steps I need to take week by week and transferred it to Trello, a project management application.
The Plan in a Nutshell
Week #3 Research & Background.
Next week, I’ll identify my imaginary clients’ needs and identify what makes each company unique (think value proposition). Also, I’ll research the competition—for this exercise, I’ll find three competitors for each industry and analyze their branding.
It may not be as fun as doodling, but exhaustive research pays dividends. David Airey, in Logo Design Love, writes, “I find that it’s useful to pose questions in the form of a digital questionnaire or email.” He recommends using questionnaires because they afford clients time to reflect and articulate their answers.
Week # 4 Mind Maps & Rough Sketches
With the information gathered, it’s time to start the ideation process. I intend to create mind maps for each of my fictional companies. Mind maps are a popular brainstorming technique and another Airey recommendation.
Mind maps are a visual way to generate ideas or concepts, a word diagram. It starts with a word associated with the brand in the center of a page, and every additional word that comes to mind is written as an offshoot and connected by a line. Airey believes mind maps are a great way for designers to get into a flow, generate ideas, and associate words and symbols.
After I finish mind mapping, I’ll begin the actual sketching with pencil and paper. Sketching by hand is preferable because it’s a faster method than using a computer for capturing ideas. Sketches – in any brainstorming session—have the tendency to spur creativity, which is exactly what I’m looking for at this early stage.
Week #5 Refine Sketches & Client Presentation
Now is the time to narrow those sketches from last week into a few concepts to present to the client (i.e., me and whoever is willing to offer feedback). This step is where I intend to use the computer to refine my ideas into viable logo concepts.
I’m aiming for three concepts per fictional client. The industry rule-of-thumb is three. There is a wisdom to this convention: people can only retain three to four ideas at a time.
According to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., “People can hold three or four things in working memory as long as they aren’t distracted and their processing of the information is not interfered with.” You don’t want to provide clients with more information than they can absorb under ideal conditions.
Week #6 Feedback & Revisions
Now, it’s time to revise the logos based on feedback from the client, who has hypothetically selected a concept. For this round of revisions, I hope to finalize the color palettes for the fictional brands. I also want to create drafts of brand artifacts (e.g., business cards and letterheads). It’s one thing to create a logo; it’s a different thing to show it in context.
Week #7 Delivery
The final week of my challenge I hope to spend putting the finishing touches on my brand identity packages. This may be last-minute tweaking of the color scheme or making changes to business card drafts. I’d also like to create brand style guides showing color palettes, fonts, etc., and explaining how the logo and other brand identity assets should be used.
The last step is to deliver my brand identity packages, including logos, business cards, letterhead, social media graphics, and style guides to the clients.
With my outline complete the real work is just starting. Next up—research—the foundation for the design process. Check back soon and see how I forge ahead.
Airey, D. (2015). Logo design love: A guide to creating iconic brand identites (2nd ed.) New Riders.
Carson, N., & Airey, D. (2019, April 29). Logo design: Everything you need to know. Retrieved from https://www.creativebloq.com/graphic-design/pro-guide-logo-design-21221
Weinschenk, S. M. (2011). 100 things every desinger needs to know about people. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.