We’ve all been there — you are preparing to launch your own business or simply revising your existing brand logo, and you’re ready to share it with the world. But you can’t seem to create a logo that captures your business’s spirit.
Don’t you wish there was a magic potion you could take to just come up with a strong logo for your business? The reality is, that there is no such potion. it takes a lot of effort and forethought to achieve the right result. Rather than trying to pull out a design idea from thin air, I make sure to follow these steps with every logo and branding project I start.
1. Define your why and core values
I’ve been creating logos for years now and I still find it hard to come up with good ideas at the very beginning of the process. What usually works best for me is to postpone those creative activities until I’ve researched my clients, their industry and competitors enough.
First of all, it’s helpful to step back and define the purpose of starting a business, not just to earn money. You might have a heart-led mission for how your business will impact people, communities and/or the world. Or maybe you have a strong desire to create a career path that allows you to support yourself by doing something meaningful, fulfilling and enjoyable.
Once you know why you want to start a business, you will want to define your core values as well; these are keywords or phrases that accurately describe your business culture, like inclusivity, relationship matter, giving back, kindness, passion for excellence, thirst for knowledge and many more. Strong brands are built around strong values.
2. Know your audience
You may have heard this sentence: “If you try to be everything for everyone, you’ll be nothing for nobody.” Although this is not entirely true as some brands could also appeal to a wide range of audiences, it is important to keep in mind that your brand should be very clear on its own core purpose, values and target audiences so that you can focus on designing something that would specifically appeal to them. It helps tremendously if you could develop your own Brand Positioning Statement as well as the Target Audience Persona so that you can have a clear picture of what kind of clients you are speaking to.
Get close to your target audience and find out what are their deepest passions, interests, and aspirations. What kind of books do they read? Do they go to a yoga studio every weekend? Are they coffee lovers or wine drinkers? Next we go deeper than their demographics alone. Explore what their life is like, what they value, and what matters most to them. With these insights in mind, you will be able to design a logo that not only looks nice but goes straight to their hearts.
3. Research your industry and competitors
Next, I’ll take a look at my client’s industry, competitors and the market as a whole.
Consider what they’re doing well and how they’re differentiating themselves — and how they could be doing better.
This will give us an idea of what kind of visual and written language (the font, colors and words) is being used in the industry. So that we can decide whether or not to follow suit or break away from it. You should know what does and doesn’t work for the industry’s image so that you can avoid falling into the same trap as your competitors did.
4. Have an emotion
Be relatable. Redefining your brand as a person or character with human traits and a voice full of character can help you build a personal connection with your people. You want to be seen as a quirky friend or mentor, not robotically aloof.
Develop a personality that is in line with the knowledge, skills, and guidance you offer your clients. Think about human traits that reflect your clients as well as yourself.
Maybe they’re laid back or outgoing; maybe they value efficiency or creativity; maybe they have an eye for detail or prefer working with people face-to-face; maybe they like reading about new ideas or researching topics themselves.
Whatever personality traits your ideal client has (or would like), try incorporating them into your brand personality so that potential clients can see themselves in you (and vice versa). However, do not be afraid to show your quirks. Being too nice can make you blend in with the rest of the brands out there.
5. Brainstorm lots of ideas
Once you’ve thought about what your business is about, where you’re positioning yourself in your industry, and who you’re trying to connect with, it’s time to start designing your logo concept. Every designer is different, but for me, I go from many different ideas that have popped up, deeply exploring a lot more and seeing where things lead.
I’ll make sure to have each of my ideas resonate with my client in a simplified way. This means going back over our moodboard and research, then asking ourselves what parts of each are really standing out for the target audience, why they’re standing out, and how they relate back to your business concept. Doing this back and forth helped me weed out several weak ideas to make way for the strongest concept.
6. Consider the big picture of using it
A well-designed logo should have at least three variations: horizontal, vertical and circular. These are the most common shapes used by businesses nowadays and they can serve as a great starting point when creating a logo design.
The main purpose of these variations is to be able to use one version of your logo in different orientations without losing its integrity or meaning. For example, if your logo contains text and its orientation doesn’t match up with its usage in real life (i.e., it’s horizontal when you want it to be vertical), then using multiple versions will help you solve this issue easily and make sure that everything looks good all around!
Spare some time to consider how your logo is going to be used, in what context it will be viewed, and what requirements it needs to meet.
I provide logo variation that is not only visually scalable on various media but beautifully consistent with your brand. No brand can function with only one logo, but the total number of logo variations depends on the business’s needs and budget.
I’ve walked you through my process of creating a logo. It works for me because it forces me to put in the effort from the very beginning and creates a more enjoyable process. Remember, your logo isn’t going to magically appear on its own. Finding the right design solution requires some forethought and planning.
If you’re designing a logo or a full brand identity for your own company or yourself, you are almost definitely in the right place. And if you’re designing a logo for a client, hopefully, this process can give you insight into how to prepare and present ideas to the client while keeping them informed at every step of the way.
Need help in designing a heartfelt logo that represents who you are and what sets you apart from the rest? That’s exactly the type of thing I do! You can check out the details about working with me.