The concept of branding literally comes from the days when farmers would identify their livestock with a unique brand mark that made them identifiable to buyers. People would come to know which brand marks were associated with quality and buy accordingly.
In many ways, a logo is the modern equivalent of this brand mark. Done properly, it can become a mark of quality, experience, reputation and personality – all attributes that your customers will value.
Getting the design of your logo right is integral to building your brand identity, although – as we discussed in our recent blog, Building your brand as a business start-up your logo is only one element of your brand.
The best logos are those that communicate a visual representation of what your company is, what it does and what its values are. Some of the world’s most recognisable logos have literally endured across decades and generations, translating across different marketing campaigns to become embedded in everyday life around the globe. This is because, despite the growth of companies such as Marmite, Kellogg’s, Virgin, Apple, Heinz and Volkswagon, they have stayed true to their core aims and values.
As a business start-up, it can be tempting to explore ways to cut costs; many businesses and solopreneurs decide to turn to sites such as Fiverr, Elance or People Per Hour to get their logo designed. Some are lucky and walk away with a design that works well for their company. However, many walk away realising that the logo they’ve been left with doesn’t have the quality, impact or longevity that they want.
Logo design doesn’t have to cost the earth (yes, apparently BP paid £4.6 million for their logo but that’s far from the norm) but it perhaps helps to understand why your logo could and should cost you something.
Designing a logo is a careful process. The finished item – the mark that will hopefully represent your business for many years to come – represents hours of groundwork behind the scenes to lay the foundations of a strong, ever-evolving brand.
How long does logo design take?
It’s like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ because it’s almost impossible to give a definitive answer. That being said, we’ve been through the process enough times to understand that it works along these lines:
Stage one – The brief (1-2 hours)
Before we can design your logo, we will have a chat with you to understand as much as possible about your business. We’ll ask you questions like:
- What does your company do or sell?
- Who are your ideal or target customers?
- What are they worried about? How can your company met a need or solve a problem for those customers?
- What is the ethos of your business? What do you believe and what do you want to communicate?
- What emotions might your customers connect with?
- What colours do you like?
- What brands to you like and dislike?
It could be that you already have an idea in mind, in which case we’d love to hear your thoughts so that we can incorporate them into the design process.
Stage two – Competitors’ research (2-3 hours)
It’s often a good idea to have a look at what your immediate competitors and businesses in your wider industry have done with their logos. This isn’t to copy ideas or to compare you too closely to your competitors but to help you understand the marketplace in which your logo will be seen.
It’s a fine line to walk – as designers, we need to understand the types of logos that might appeal to your ideal customers but also create concepts that reflect your unique identity and help you to stand out from the crowd.
For example, there’s a reason why therapy businesses tend to stick with softer pastel colours or vibrant, life-affirming choices instead of blacks or darker blues. Many environmentally-focused businesses lean towards green as a brand colour, while dentists have historically favoured teeth, smiles and apples with a bite taken out of them in their logos.
Competitors’ research lets us explore what’s being done well and what isn’t within your industry.
Stage 3 – Initial concepts (2-4 hours)
Armed with this knowledge, we then begin work on some initial logo design concepts, exploring different colour palates, shapes and ideas that fall within your brief. This time is crucial because if we are able to create several strong concepts from the outset, it will potentially save time later in the process.
We will create the initial designs electronically. Depending on the number of concepts we have agreed at this stage, the time taken could be a lot longer.
Stage 4 – Refining the designs (1-2 hours)
This stage will vary from one job to the next but typically, a client will view the initial designs and come back to us by phone, email or in person to discuss what they like and what they dislike. Sometimes, there’s a clear front runner that will just need a few tweaks before it’s complete. Equally, you may decide that you like different elements of several designs and want to explore how they could be brought together.
We will listen closely to your feedback and then go away to work on the next stage of the design.
Stage 5 – Approving your logo (1-2 hours)
Once your logo design has been approved, we will create the final version of the artwork and provide you with different electronic versions of the design so that you have print and web-friendly versions of low and high resolutions.
The good thing about using an experienced graphic design company like Grafixbiz is that we understand the logo design process and can walk you through it at every stage, giving you the value of our experience and previous work.
A logo is so much more than the sum of its parts and that’s where the value lies – in creating an image that’s professional, engaging, interesting, informative and has the potential to endure and evolve.