1. Figure out the brand
Whoever ordered a logo has some brand he/she’s trying to establish – find out just what it is that they’re advertising, selling or trying to make popular. The first step in making a logo is figuring out what is appropriate. A well designed and carefully laid out bunny logo can be a masterpiece, but it will just not look well on a site of a funeral home.
Talk with the client, ask him what does his brand represent, what are the best points of it, what are it’s weak points (You want to avoid that. Imagine if, for instance, EA Sports reinvented it’s logo in the form of a friendly handshake, when they’ve done nothing but annoy their customers with poor customer support and poor overall attitude towards their customers. That would do more harm than good, even with the sound reasoning behind the idea).
Do not ask the customer what kind of logo does he/she want – it is the designer’s job to create something, and if you know your job, you will present a good logo. You can use the already existing logo as a basis if it is any good, but designing a logo is not something a customer should be a part of.
2. Do the research
Look at what the competing brands have done in the field, and think about what they did wrong and what can you do better than them. Are their logos too colourful? Did they pick the appropriate typeset? All of these things must be taken into account when designing a logo.
Feel free to look around for some inspiration. Logo Moose is a great place for you to look at the works of others and figure out if you can do something like that and if the brand you’re working with can use some of the things you see.
3. Make yourself a rule set
Get a dashboard and set yourself some rules before you get down to designing. Here’s an example of the logo rule set
-Must be drawn with a single line
-No box around logo
These things can keep you on the track during the research stage, and should be carefully thought of. If you can find the way to link the rules for designing a logo to the brand, that would be the best outcome for you.
4. Work only with vectors
This should be a no-brainer, but there still are people trying to design a logo from a photo, painting or something like that. There’s a reason every successful logo is a vector-style logo. There’s pushing the boundaries, and that can be understood with creative work, but there’s also playing in a completely wrong field – not something you want to be doing.
5. Be careful with your typeface
Sometimes the urge to get experimental with a logo and wonky typefaces may be strong, but there’s a good reason the industry overall leans towards very clean typefaces, letters without sans and similar concepts. I’m not trying to say you should not keep your mind open, but in most cases, fancy fonts will not do – they’re just too weak to make a lasting impression and can damage your work more than help it.
Another thing to look out for is placing your letters over or on your logo. Nike’s logo should be the best guideline on how a successful logo combines text and an image – don’t overlap them in any way, keep them slightly apart and, over time, the text part of the logo can become just as brand related as the logo itself.
6. Check the logo for size and placement
This is especially true if you’re designing a logo for a company that already has a decent background and media presence. You may have created a beautiful logo that will look great on your screen and that can be perfect as a website logo, but this logo may also end up in a newspaper, on a billboards, on shirts, caps, even printed on cars. You simply have to take into account all the possibilities, even, in some extreme cases, materials the logo will be printed on.
A logo also needs to be modular, when it comes to color – it’s all about the shape and composition, not about the color placement. A dark logo can look good, but what if a brand logo needs to be printed on a black car, for instance? Bear this in mind when creating logo elements and try to make it as color friendly as possible. Your logo should be recognized instantly no matter what color it’s in – that’s how you create a long lasting and viral logo.
7. Look at the logo from all angles
This is another thing a logo designer can forget that will make a mockery of all your work. BoredPanda has a good reference list you can check out to give you the idea of what
It’s all possible, so you might want to have several sets of eyes check out your logo before you declare it done, so get your friends to look at it and make sure it can’t be misinterpreted horribly.
8. Do not allow the customer to do additional modification
You’ve been hired to do a specific task, and you have done it. You’re the designer and you should have the ultimate say when it comes to the logo itself. The customer may want to make letters a bit bigger, to have the colors be a bit different, but if they can’t provide you with a legitimate answer, other than “I’d like it more this way”, than you should not budge.
The question that they should be answering is not “Do I like this logo”, but “Is this logo going well with my brand”. If they can’t give you the answer as to what is wrong with your logo from this perspective, than you’ve done a good job and don’t need to modify anything.