When I first started my business I made my own logo in MS Publisher. Now I’m thinking it is time for something more professional. Can you tell me about what I can expect from the logo design process?

Hiring someone to design or redesign your logo can be a pretty overwhelming thing. In my experience a logo design is like a business owner’s baby, so it is a big step to trust someone to help you redesign it. Your logo will be a fixture in your business for years to come, so it makes sense that you will want to truly understand the process of designing it.

The good news is that we follow a simple 4-step process, and understanding these steps will can help you feel more confident throughout this duration of the project.

Here’s how a logo design or redesign unfolds:

Diagram of logo design process

Step 1: Research and discovery

During this first step, we’ll take some time to talk with you (either in person or via phone or email) to learn more about your company audience, competitors, values and personality. We’ll also talk about your ideas, inspirations and goals for the logo so that we can be sure to take those items into consideration once we start the design. After our meeting, we’ll review our notes, and might have a few follow-up questions over the next day or two. The typical timeframe for Step 1 is a couple of days.

Step 2: Research, brainstorming and sketches

Once we have a clear idea of your business, its culture and what you are looking for in your logo, we’ll take some time to research your competitors (so we don’t accidentally create a logo that is similar to them) and start searching out inspiration and brainstorming and sketching ideas for the logo design. These sketches are a quick, rough way to flesh out many ideas before moving on to creating high-fidelity design concepts. The typical timeframe for Step 2 is about 1-2 weeks, depending on your timeline.

Step 3: High-fidelity mockups

After we’ve brainstormed lots of ideas and refined our favorite sketches, it is time to start working on the actual designs! We’ll take the strongest design ideas we’ve brainstormed and start fleshing them out digitally. For each sketch we decide to build, we’ll do 6-10 variations of before determining whether one of the variations is strong enough to present to you. We’ll go through this process for our top 3-4 ideas and will present to you the top 2 or 3 concepts (whichever quantity was agreed to in the estimate). We’ll present these concepts to you in both color and black-and-white configurations, and will usually create a walk-through video (typically 15-20 minutes long) that will carefully explain the ideas that led to each solution. The video format is nice because it gives us the ability to actually talk to you about our ideas for each solution, but takes any pressure off you to provide instant feedback. The typical timeframe for Step 3 is about 1-2 weeks, depending on your timeline.

Step 4: Iteration and finalization

Once you’ve had some time to digest the video presenting the logo concepts, we can talk at your convenience and walk through any revisions you might like to see. We’ll provide revised proofs to you in PDF form along with notes via email. Don’t forget that the revisions included in your estimate cover modifications to the presented concepts, but not entirely new concepts. If needed, we can absolutely create additional concepts, but will need to re-estimate those concepts as an addition to the project. Once we’ve iterated the logo to its final state, we’ll create a final package of your logos in several color formats (spot color, 4-color and black and white) as well as several types of logo files, including vector .eps, .ai and .pdf files, as well as raster .jpg and .png files. The timeframe for Step 4 is tough to estimate, because it depends on the number of revisions included with your estimate, and how much time needed to review each set of iterations and provide feedback. In most cases, this revision and finalization takes right around a week.

From start to finish, the total timeframe for a logo design or redesign project typically takes about 4-6 weeks, depending on the amount of iterations and the duration of the feedback loop.

In addition to these steps, there are a handful of other things to keep in mind throughout this process. Understanding these items will keep the process moving smoothly and help you set healthy expectations for the finished logo design.

A logo should be an identifier of your business, not of what you do

The purpose of a logo is not to literally portray what your company does, but rather, it should be a visual hallmark that sets the proper tone for what your company is about at its core. It should set the right tone for what it feels like to work with your company.

Your logo should be technically usable

There are technically no hard-and-fast technical rules of logo design. However, the way a logo is crafted can either save or cost you money when it comes to reproducing it across print, web, and interactive media. A technically usable logo should be available in vector format (.ai, .eps or possibly .pdf), should work in all black (or one color), should remain legible when used at a small size, should not use too many colors and should form a solid shape. For more information about these criteria you can check out our post about what makes a good logo.

And that’s it! We know that a logo design or redesign is a big step for any business, so we do our very best to make it as clear and easy for our clients as we can.