The key stages of great logo design.

Here at Toast Design we have developed a unique five-stage process for creating great logo design.

We use this process for each and every logo that we create; it forms part of our overall design process “Define, Think and Do”.

This process means that each logo is crafted in a bespoke fashion for each client – we don’t follow trends for the sake of it and if we follow the following steps we create a logo that is unique, effective and on brief.

1) Brief (Define)

The most important stage of all and it seems pretty obvious to say so, however not every client provides a brief at first, so then it’s our job as designers to define the brief by finding out what the client is looking for.

Great logo design is about asking the right questions: what the logo needs to do, represent, and even how it should and shouldn’t look.

The brief is our yardstick to measure how successful the project is, and without a brief there’s no way of knowing what the logo needs to achieve.

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Great Logo Design

2) Research (Define & Think)

Following on from clarifying the brief, we move into the research stage. This is where we look at the industry that the client operates in to see if there are any particular styles that reflect what it is they do, we do this by looking at the competition and their logos and branding.

We aim to get a thorough understanding of the target market and what it is that the client offers, and any similar types of products that the target audience may be aware of.

We also look at logo styles, sometimes a client’s name or product name may need to be reflected in the logo design itself. We research the different ways that this could be done, what the options are and how they can be applied.

Often at research stage we present the client with a selection of mood boards to help us clarify the brief even further.

In order to get a good steer on the client’s likes and dislikes, we present mood boards covering logo styles, colourways, font styles, layout styles, images and any other elements that could be used to form a logo style. The feedback from this stage gives us an even better idea of what we need to concentrate on in the next stage.

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3) Concepts: (Think)

Taking onboard the information in the brief, the research that we’ve collated and the client feedback from the mood boards, we then start creating concepts.

Initially these take the form of sketches, rather than jumping straight on to the Mac.

Working with pencil and paper allows our thoughts to have more freedom and be more fluid. If we did just jump straight on to a computer screen, the creativity and concept behind the logo design can be restricted and therefore we lose the craft, which can be the difference between a logo that looks nice, and one that looks great and does the job that it needs to.

At concept stage we don’t concentrate on the fine detail, which means we’re not as precious about one particular idea, we can concentrate on the big ideas and provide the client with a range of solutions, all on brief.

Depending on the brief and the client, sometimes we present the sketches to them first, however most of the time we work the sketches up on the Macs, just so we can add more of a refined look, but the sketches are there to back up our conceptual process and thinking when we do present the concepts to the client.

One other thing that we consider is that the logo concepts all need to be viewed on a level playing field, so rather than a logo being dismissed because of its colouring or style.

We often provide logo concepts all in mono so that the logos are all judged equally. Colours and styling are minor details really and can developed in the next stage.

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4) Development: (Do)

After the concepts have been presented to the client, we then look to collect their feedback on them, finding out what the client likes and dislikes, maybe discussing particular points and looking at which of the concepts should go through to the development stage.

With this feedback we then refine the selected logo concepts, developments are made to the overall look and feel, adding in and amending colours and effects, adjusting or changing font styles, sometimes trying different images within the logo and even looking at how the logos will be applied to elements such as websites, advertising and stationery.

The developed logos are then presented back to the client again and this process can be repeated a number of times (not too many!) before the logo designs are narrowed down to one final logo and the client signs this off.

The beauty of this process and in particular this stage is that we don’t ’prescribe’ a logo design to a client, the process of creating a logo for a client is very much a collaboration.

We are here to guide and advise, but our focus is to create a bespoke logo that works for the clients needs, one that they love and one that they are proud to have represent their company or brand.

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5) Artwork and Delivery (Do)

The final stage is where we take the signed-off logo and fully artwork it, ensuring that it will look consistent on different platforms, from online to print.

This involves tidying the logo and its elements up, making final adjustments, finalising any Pantone colours and then providing the client with the relevant file types: .eps for print and .jpg for online usage.

Great Logo Design doesn’t usually stop here, as we often then apply the logo to stationery, websites, brochures and exhibition material. We can act as a brand guardian for the logo, creating usage guidelines for the logo to ensure that your logo always looks as great as it should do.

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Chris Tymon

Chris Tymon

Chris is a founding Creative Director at Toast and works across Food Branding and design work for clients in the food sector.