We are very excited to have Angela Ferraro-Fanning guest write for us this week. Please visit her fabulous portfolio to see more of her amazing work. Many of you will find that she is a graphic designer that is very talented and experienced. She wrote this article to guide you through her own creative logo design process, from start to finish. Please feel free to contact us if you want to submit your article as well.
Logo Design Creation Process from Start to Finish by Expert Graphic Designer - Angela Ferraro-Fanning
By Angela Ferraro-Fanning, 13thirtyone Design <www.13thirtyone.com>
There are times when creating a logo can seem overwhelming. But in an industry where efficiency is key, I’ve learned a few tricks that help me to create logos that are effective, meet my clients’ objectives, and are portfolio pieces that I feel proud of. What better way to walk you through my process than by using a client case study? Meet kick (www.kickonmain.com), a shoe boutique from La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Step 1: Getting to Know Your Client
When I first started working on kick’s logo development, the first thing I did was research. Because the logo is one of the single most important visual elements for a business, it is imperative that plenty of discussion is done. I always ask the same four questions:
1.What are the values of your business/company?
2.Can I see any current/previous marketing materials you have?
3. Who is your target audience?
4.Do you have any bits of inspiration for me to work from? In other words, paint swatches of colors you like or are currently using? Photos of your business or products? How about patterns/images that really identify with your business?
kick responded as follows: “We are a chic women’s boutique with a throw-back glam décor. We are located in a progressive and growing downtown area… We aim for the distinguished in tasted and in style. A woman who wants a stylish shoe that won’t hinder her daily activities; whether it be work or leisure… We have bright pink paint on our walls and we also like gold and black.”
At this time, kick also provided me with several pieces of artwork that really spoke to them and identified with their business. So now I had all the info I needed… What next?
Step 2: Generate Imagery
One of the biggest mistakes a designer can make, I’ve found, is to go straight to the computer and start plugging away at logo designs. Sure you may be feeling inspired after a chat with your client, but without really thinking, you’ll just be wasting time. Whether you’re stumped or you already have a few ideas floating around, this step has helped me out time and time again.
Sit down, grab some paper and a pen, and make a list. Title it anything you like, but the list should contain words that pertain to your client. For example, in kick’s case, I think of words like shoe, fashion, girl, woman, feminine, vintage, etc. You want to do this quickly and be sure to write down anything that pops into your head. By jotting down this list (whether they be nouns or adjectives), you’ll begin the process of generating visuals. These visuals can produce some pretty amazing logo designs. Take a look at my list for kick below.
Step 3: Logo Conception
Some designers prefer to sketch on paper. I may do this occasionally, if I have an idea that I have to put down right away. Most of the time, though, I go straight from creating my imagery list to my computer. I like to experiment with different fonts and colors on screen so I can quickly duplicate ideas and adjust them slightly if need be.
When beginning, I work my way down my imagery list. I may have an idea that utilizes just one word; I may have another idea that encapsulates a combination of them. Either way, having my list handy is a great reference and keeps the ideas flowing.
It is my policy when working on a client’s logo that I present them with three concepts. I try to create three entirely different looks while utilizing the three different types of logo formats: just type, image only, and a combination of both. Just because my client sees three logos though, doesn’t mean that’s all it takes. With kick’s logo conception, I literally created 35 different logo ideas.
Above is a random sampling of some of the logo ideas I created for kick. You’ll notice that several are type only, some combine both imagery and text, and one is imagery only. Now that I have my concepts, it’s time to decide which logos I will present to kick.
Step 4: Logo Presentation; Which Ones Do I Show Off?
In choosing the logo designs for kick to consider, I first have to decide which ones I truly feel are my best work. It is important that I present clients with pieces that I’d feel happy about showing in my portfolio. Work that is published is work that will be seen by prospective clients as well. Therefore, I must be sure each concept given to the client is of the utmost quality.
After weeding out the “weaker” options, I then refer to the information that kick initially provided me with. Do the logo concepts meet the client’s objectives? Do they communicate to the targeted audience? Are they legible and will they reproduce easily on a wide variety of materials? If not all of the questions are answered with a “yes,” then the logo gets tossed out.
The following are the final three logos that I presented to kick:
When formatting the logos for presentation, I am always sure to duplicate each and reduce them in a size. This shows the client how well the logo appears when minimized. This is also the time to provide any additional color options the logo may have (such as with the circular shoe logo).
Should the client have any tweaks or revisions that need to be made, I include two additional “rounds” of design work. However, in kick’s case, no additional changes were necessary. The client chose the following logo:
So what was my exact concept when creating the chosen logo? I chose a metropolitan, Sex In The City-esque font to convey the modern look kick was going for. Keeping the text black was important because not only did it create a more contemporary feel, it’s also a very sleek and fashionable color choice.
The shoe that serves as the dot over the “i” is one I illustrated myself. To incorporate a slightly Victorian or vintage appearance, I looked at several shoe designs from the 1920s and 1930s. I illustrated this shoe to represent those of the time period. I also added a bow on the shoe to play up the femininity of the design.
Finally, by adding a splash of pink as a circular shadow underneath the shoe, the “dot over the i” idea is reinforced. Furthermore, it puts a sort of spotlight on the shoe itself, emphasizing the store’s product.
If you’d like to see how I’ve carried over these design ideals into kick’s other marketing materials, some of their collateral is featured in the portfolio section of my website at www.13thirtyone.com. You can also visit kick’s website, designed by yours truly, at www.kickonmain.com.
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