Ballast Notes: My Logo Design Process

As a tie-in to the new brand design I posted about last week, I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk a little more about my logo design process. Although there's more to brand design than the logo, it's one of the important deliverables of the design process, and is one of the most often seen parts of your brand - so it's important for the logo to be memorable and well-made. 

I start off every design consultation with a short phone call to learn more about what a client is looking for, some of their inspiration, and why they're looking to make a change in their business at this point in time. After agreeing to a proposal, we get started on the mood board process. A mood board is a collection of images, graphics, and colors that establish the visual direction of the branding process. Through this process, I'm able to really get a solid idea of the colors, imagery, and types of designs the client associates with their business, and charts the course for the actual exercise of creating the logo.

Based on our phone call conversation and the mood board, I usually have a couple clear ideas a logo starting point. I'm a super visual person (not a surprise, right?), and the best explanation I can give of this is that the illustrations and typography often pop into my head, and then I just need to figure out a way to actually create them! At times, this is the hardest part about being a graphic designer - making your work look just as good on a computer screen as it does in your head! 

Almost all of the time, I sketch out those ideas on a piece of paper. I use plain old computer paper for this, because I'm often pretty messy and like the ability to go through plenty of sheets to see what sticks. If I like the way they're turning out, I'll scan my work into the computer and either trace over what I like, or digitize it. You can check out a couple initial sketches for Elevated Living below - some of these mountains made it into drafts of the logos.

From there, I continue the sketching process in Adobe Illustrator. I usually play around with different typefaces, sizes, and placement first, before working in any illustrations. I'll then mix and match illustrations and type to see what makes the best match. Below are a few of my initial digital illustrations and type ideas for this brand.

Some very messy, scattered ideas before forming them into coherent logos

Some very messy, scattered ideas before forming them into coherent logos

In the end, here were the two initial logo concepts I created for Elevated Living - the final version ended up being a bit of a mash up between the two, which you can see on the another blog post. I still love the subtle mountains in the second version - fun fact, they're actually upside down Vs from the main typeface I used. I love finding a good way to work type into a logo in unusual ways! 

How does this compare to your logo design process? Anything that surprised you? I'd love to hear your thoughts below.