My Logo Process - 10 Steps To A Professional Logo

I can't tell you how many times I have received a message that looks like this:

“Dear Maya, I am starting a company called X and I would like you to design a very simple logo. And I need it next week. It must be a piece of cake for you. Just the name X in a nice font. Thanks”. Now this is a random logo enquiry that you as a new business owner might have sent to a designer, and as a designer you have most likely already received at least one similar to the above.

In this post, we will discuss about logo process and why it needs time and effort if you are looking for “a very simple logo”. I will share with you my own logo design process. If you haven’t already read the post on what makes a logo great and why you need one, read that first and come back to this. It will all make a lot more sense.

After reading the previous post, you will realise that a simple logo is the one that you should be after anyway. Though the fact that it’s simple doesn’t make is easier to design. For a logo to have an impact on your target audience, I would advise you all to trust the designer when he sets a timeframe of a few weeks for the completion. A professional logo process can take anything from 2 weeks to 2 months’ time, and it’s normal.

In the estimated or final quotation, and after the designer has a good understanding of your business requirements, he/she will also give you an estimated timeframe based on that.

There must be tens or hundreds of process variations and it really depends on the designer. Most of us start with a process that looks very similar to the process above and after a while we add/remove steps and make it as effective as possible. Most of the steps are mandatory though so don’t try to make the process a 2 step one, it will fail!

In my 5 years of logo design experience, there have been a couple of times where as soon as I had the brief in front of my screen I got an idea that was also the one that got selected. But this is not something that happens often. Most times I scribble tens of different things and I am still not sure. It’s okay to take your time and take breaks to clear your mind and look at it the next day.

But let’s go to my actual logo design process which consists of 10 steps:

1. Study brief / Ask questions (mandatory)

2. Research / Ask any additional questions (mandatory)

3. Inspiration shortlist / Mood board (optional)

4. Brainstorm on paper (optional but advisable at least starting out)

5. Brainstorm on Illustrator (mandatory)

6. Complete a few concepts (depending on how many you have agreed with your client)

7. Visual presentation / Collect feedback (mandatory)

8. Revision / Feedback / Repeat if needed (mandatory)

9. Final selection’s presentation (mandatory)

10. Send final files (mandatory)

This is the process I would recommend (designers-to follow, clients-to ask for):

1. Study brief / Ask questions

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP! It is impossible to design the right logo for a company if you haven’t read the brief a dozen times. Most of the times you will also need to ask many questions to make sure you understand exactly the brand’s target audience and purpose. I most certainly do ask many questions. Sometimes the initial brief doesn’t include all the necessary information for me to start the process so I need to ask questions like “What is your vision for the company?” or “What is your ideal customer?” to ensure that the logo will be relative.

2. Research / Ask any additional questions

Search for your client’s competitors’ logos. This is the next step in the process. And my google search looks like “competitor’s name + logo + current year” or “client’s industry + logo” or even “client’s industry + best logos”. The results I get are almost every time an overwhelming amount but I take a good look at them and compare the target audiences between those and my client’s. Feel free to ask your client what brand he/she has as benchmark so you can have a better idea of what direction to take.

3. Inspiration shortlist / Mood board

Now this is an optional step and as I already mentioned this is the process that I usually follow. After looking at competitor’s logos and best logos in my client’s industry, I put together a mood board full of logos, lettering, colours shapes etc that I consider suitable for the project. For example I might have found a couple of logos that I like the style of them, some others that I love the colour combination or the font style.

4. Brainstorm on paper (optional but advisable at least starting out)

Now, this step is something I used to do a lot and I should go back to. I definitely advise, especially graphic design beginners, to start from rough sketches. No idea is stupid or useless. Maybe you will make a doodle that will look silly to you but will lead to an amazing idea. So don't erase, just create more next to it. Put some timeframe and let your hand and mind work their magic. After that specific timeframe (say 30/60min) STOP! Leave your pencil down, get away from your notebook for a couple minutes and come back to examine them.

5. Brainstorm on Illustrator (mandatory)

After you have examined your draft sketches, you must have some favourite ones. Take these and transfer them to illustrator to clean them up and see how they turn out. I usually take photos of the "good" ones and send it to my laptop. I create a layer and paste the photos, and then lock it and trace them on a new layer. Working on your illustrations digitally, it will give you a lot of freedom to play around and you will end up with more ideas than you started.

6. Complete a few concepts (depending on how many you have agreed with your client)

Depending on what you have discussed, agreed and priced, this can include 2-99 concepts (it's not advisable to ask or present more than 3-4 concepts as it is too much and it confuses the client resulting to an endless loop of yes/no/yes/no). After you have a few good design concepts for the logo, choose the very best ones. next step is: presentation

7. Visual presentation / Collect feedback (mandatory)

I usually present the concepts in related mockups so that the client can imagine them in real life (a sign, a packaging, a business card). That way it's easier for them to get the feeling of the logo instead of just seeing a design. A great mockup source for both free and premium mockups is You can also make your own mockups, I sometimes do.

8. Revision / Feedback / Repeat if needed (mandatory)

After your client has received the concepts, ask them what they think and give them time to get used to the designs, to familiarise themselves with them. Allow a few days (I would say a week is a good amount of time) and during these days ask them to send you every feedback and comment they have on the designs. They might change their mind during this time so don't make any changes before that time is up. Later, take their most updated feedback and make changes based on that. Make sure to inform them (because they might forget) that the first revision circle is now done and that you will make the required amendments and get back to them. As soon as you are done with the amendments, send the designs back to the client and ask again for feedback (again depending on how many revision circles you have agreed on, this can vary). Repeat until the agreed revisions are completed. You should now have the final concept selected by your client.

9. Final selection’s presentation (mandatory)

Retouch the final logo design and send the final presentation to them to sign off. Check for spacing, spelling mistakes, alignment and small details.

10. Send final files (mandatory)

Everything is ready now and your client is waiting for the final files so that he/she can use their new logo everywhere. Formats that I would recommend to send are:

  • PDF

  • AI

  • JPG

  • PNG (transparent)

Your logo should also work on both light and dark backgrounds (unless the client has asked otherwise) so make sure to alter the logo accordingly and send both variations to them to use.

EXTRA TIP: This will be the final step so as a designer I would advise you to take payment before you send the final files. Maybe 60% after the brief from your client and before any work from your side has began, and the rest 40% before you send the final original files to them. That way you are both secured.

This is MY design process and what I would recommend at least at the start and I hope it will help both designers to have a good structure and clients to understand what they are actually paying for and what to expect/ask for from their designers.

Read why you need a great logo for your business here.

Till the next post, Maya


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