Creating a logotype is the ability to use hand lettering to develop a logo that effectively communicate the brand’s message and goal to their audience. If I’m not solving a problem as a logo designer I have failed, that is the number one function of a logo designer. The way I solve the problem and provide an accurate design solution is through asking questions to better understand what is the story and why the client is truly coming to me for a logo design. All of this information is essential to coming up with an accurate design solution for the client. The goal is to make the client visually appealing to their audience.
For example if a client comes to you and says “I need a logo”. The true reason is never just oh I need a logo for my business, there is a deeper reason behind why. That is the problem you need to solve. The goal is never to create eye candy for the client. It’s should never be something that they just like the logo should be a clear visual message for that client’s audience anything else would be and failed logo.
The top of “questions” I ask before I start any type of design project:
- Why do you need this logo design?
- Why did you come to me?
- What is your message for your brand/company?
- What do you want your audience to feel when they see this logo?
Now there are at least five to six more questions I usually ask depending on the project and on the client’s answers to really uncover the information I need to effectively come up with a design solution. You might ask why am I asking all these questions. Well, the main reason is to see how I can provide value for the client and the only way to do that is through asking questions, which will lead to me discovering what is truly valuable to the client. The client provides the value, my job is to uncover it. If I’m not doing that I have failed, as I said before a logo or branding identity is not eye candy for the client.
Asking questions will also help you discover if this project is a good fit or not for you. Yes, not every logo design project is for me. It’s my job and the logo designer to discover the right project to take on and the only way I can do that is by putting certain systems in place to uncover that.
An effective logo design should be…
A logo should be simple. The more complex and detail oriented your logo is the less memorable it will be. If a logo is not memorable then it’s useless. An enduring logo does not go out of style, it is not too modern and not too old fashion. It’s evergreen. One of the main reasons you don’t want your logo to be too complex is the inability for it to scale.
A logo must be able to get as large as possible but more importantly shrink as small as needed and still maintain visibility. A logo being appropriate is also very important. It wouldn’t any sense to design a nice fluffy looking logo for a law firm.
Your process should be very clear and available for the client to see and understand before start the project. A clear process expresses professionalism and the client will know what to expect every step of the way. Which will build trust and trust leads to a great partnership.
Creating A Professional Process:
QUESTIONNAIRE — The most important part of any project. Asking the client design specific questions about the project, goals and objectives is essential to the success of the project.
FOLLOW-UP — This is where you would contact the client to discuss their answers and the project in detail. All this information will be used to provide a proposal.
CONTRACT AGREEMENT — Once the proposal has been reviewed and accepted, it’s time for the client to sign the contract and return it along with the initial deposit. Then I will start the design process.
RESEARCH & BRAINSTORMING — During this phase you will spend focused time researching the target audience and competitors. Help the client differentiate their brand and carefully create uniqueness.
SKETCHING PHASE — This is where you use all your research to sketch out the design direction for the project. Sketching out countless variation and iterations of different ideas.
SELECT & REFINE — Out of all the possible directions, select the top three and refine those even more. Always keeping the project goals and objectives in mind. Until you have the best concept for the project.
PAPER TO DIGITAL — Once you have the design fully sketched out and decided on the design that is best for the direction of the project. Next, refine the artwork and ink it. You scan the artwork into my computer or take a picture of it. Then prepare to digitally traced the artwork.
FINAL ARTWORK — Once the artwork is digitally traced, start to explore the feel. Also this where you would implement colors while keeping the goals, research findings and target audience in mind. Everything from size, spacing and alignment are all carefully considered.
PRESENTATION & DELIVERABLES — The project is presented to the client. All designs being shown in context using digital mock-ups (i.e., in situations where the design will be used upon project completion — on a phone app, billboard, signage, clothing, etc.). Then it’s sent over to the client to consider the designs and prepare feedback based upon the goal and objective of the project.
ARTWORK SUPPLY — Supply artwork via email and/or made available for download. Keep in mind that this is a very broad overview and terminology is subject to change but basic order of this outline will give your client the best design solution for their project.
The main Hand Lettering tools I use:
The Pentel Twist-Erase is what I use for all my sketching. It gives me just the right grip times weight ratio for flow and feel when I’m sketching a logotype. It’s a mechanical pencil, so the type of lead various upon your choice. Overall this is my go-to tool for every type of design project.
Out of all the inking tools my favorite is the Staedtler pens. Don’t get me wrong Microns are pretty great too but I find myself much more drawn to using the Staedtler pens. Like the Micron pens, they also don’t bleed and dries pretty quick. Which is very important when trying keep a good pace on a project.
The Graphic Ink 1 Pen is what I use to do most of my inking fill in. It’s great because it creates nice solid black fill, which is great for when I’m scanning a artwork to my computer.
Here a few other tools I use for filling solid areas, adding extra style, larger scale artworks and special surfaces.