Checklists are magic. To some, they might appear restrictive or officious. But when you start a logo design project, using a logo checklist means you don’t have to worry about what you might be forgetting. As a designer this allows you to focus on executing your skills and creativity in solving the problem. As a client, this logo checklist will help you understand the logo design process, ensure you aren’t missing anything, and help you communicate clearly and confidently with your designer.
Understand the purpose of a logo
A logo often comes to mind because you need something ‘identifiable’. The main goal of a logo is to identify your business visually. It should be memorable, not generic or trendy. You want your brand to stand for something, even if that something is undecided.
Many clients come into my studio and ask for a “simple logo.” While that’s a nice way of saying “I’m not really sure what I want,” it also indicates that the client is probably in the earlier stages of building their brand and they’re just starting to think about what they’re going to look like when they’re done.
When you’re starting a brand, it’s important to define what that brand is about. This will usually involve deciding what it is not about. For example, you could say your brand stands for quality and craftsmanship, which means your logo design should not be trendy or template-ish. You might also want to define the target audience for your brand because this will also help specify the parameters of your logo design.
For example, let’s say you’re making soaps and you want your brand to convey cleanliness and simplicity. Your logo design might include clean lines with subtle curves reflecting the softness of soap along with a classic typography style that doesn’t use any fancy flourishes or ornamentation.
Once you know who your brand is and what it stands for, getting a logo design starts to look a lot simpler.
The first draft stage is where you check the direction and concept of your logo design against your brief to make sure you are on track. The more detailed your brief, the easier this step will be for you. You can often get a better idea of whether a logo will work for your brand, and which direction it should go in, from a quick sketch of your idea on a piece of paper.
Likewise, if you’re working with a designer it’s helpful to get feedback about the direction of your logo from somebody else who knows more about branding than just what you say in the brief. Or if you’re doing this on your own, try looking at some logo design examples to see where inspiration might come from.
Once you’ve gathered your feedback, when your designer comes back with the first draft, you’ll be able to ask them whether they feel confident in bringing it to life, or if there are any steps they’d like you to go through before the logo is finalized.
Revision & Redesign
Your logo design will most likely not be finished in one go. It will probably go through many revisions and iterations before the design is finalized. This is because most clients have a number of things to consider when they’re creating their brand, so it’s essential that their logo is flexible enough for them to revise it at any time during the process.
For example, if you’re deciding on your font, you will likely want to test it in various different ways to see how it works in different contexts. For this reason, you might not want to pick a font upfront because it means your logo is locked into that font throughout the design process. By the time you realize it doesn’t work out for whatever reason (font is too expensive or it’s hard to read), your logo may well be too far along in the design process to change. This is why creating an initial logo design that can be adapted later on is vital.
Now it’s time for the more technical things. This is when getting help from a professional designer can really help take your logo design to the next level. Whether it’s the choice of file format, vector vs bitmap, color space or transparency settings, there is a lot of information that comes up during this stage.
The typeface you’re choosing will have different requirements for these technicalities based on what you plan to do with your logo. For example, if you want to use your logo on a white background or in print on a dark background, your designer will make sure the layers are set up properly so it renders well in different contexts.
Hopefully, this years-in-the-making logo checklist has been helpful. I’ve tried to cover most of the major issues that crop up from my experience working with clients and from talking about branding on Twitter and Facebook.
Interested in learning more about logos? Trademarking a Logo – Everything You Need to Know discusses how to trademark a logo.
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