Let’s find out how you can brainstorm in order to make a good logo design concept!
A logo has been a key to the success of a project/brand/business. As it is the simplest means to represent and remind people of the project/brand/business, the owners and the logo designers work hard to create a memorable yet meaningful logo. Though you could renew the logo in a few years, creating the suitable and relevant one for the present is necessary.
Some famous brands that have changed their logo design many times in some periods of time include Adidas, Nike, Mercedes, Coca-Cola, Apple, IKEA, Shell, and many more. Some have a total change while others still keep the similar and ‘trademark’ parts of the logo. Hence people could still remember the original brand. If you are in an attempt to brainstorm a good logo design concept for your or your client’s brand, here are several steps to help in creating an impressive good logo design concept.
1. Know your brand
Understanding something that you are going to represent is essential. By knowing the brand’s goal and profile, you can brainstorm any relevant associations to the brand. You could also find some uniqueness in your brand that could make people relate to it easily. Create a list of points that could remind you of the brand. The points could be adjectives, nouns, shapes, or any other ideas that describe the brand well.
To do that, you need to understand the brand’s goal, background history, ethos, business strategy, the difference to rivals or other brands, market, culture, expected image, and other details of the brand. Understand them even though you are creating a logo design concept for your client. A comprehensive understanding of the brand helps to decide the suitable design for the logo.
Understanding the brand can be done by reading or asking anyone who knows the brand well. If you are the brand owner but are still not sure about some parts of your brand, you can create a questionnaire for the audience or market people to help you define your brand. As you get more information about a brand, it will be easier for you to create more optional logo designs (just in case the brand owner disapproves of a logo option).
2. Set your goal in creating a logo
There are several types of logos, including monogram/letter marks, word marks, pictorial marks, abstract marks, combination marks, emblem logos, and mascot logos. Each type serves a different function. For example, monogram logos help to shorten a long brand name, just like NASA, IBM, and HBO. Meanwhile, the abstract ones might not carry any relevant information to the brand, but the logo itself will remind people of the brand. Examples include Nike, Pepsi, Huawei, and others.
From the examples, we can see that each type brings certain impressions. Impressions could be the goal of the logo. Hence it is important to decide what you want to convey and how the audience feels when they see the logo. Once you are clear about what you want to convey, choose the right type.
While choosing the type, do not follow the trend and stick to your goal. Lately, mascot logos and combination logos are often used as they could grab more attention. Yet considering your brand image, is it suitable to have a mascot? If not, you should not insist on having a mascot logo.
Sticking to the goal helps you to be in line and prevent you from becoming a copycat. A good logo design concept should be original and meet the brand’s objectives. You could make a list of the goal and create a guideline for a proper logo design for your brand. If, during the decision process, you find something that does not fit the goal list, you can go back to the list and solve it.
3. Start from the simple one
Here comes the practical part. While you have everything in your head, there will be no problem sketching any ideas and creativity you have on your mind. To prevent designing blocks, do not put too much pressure on yourself and start the logo design from the simple one. You can go basic in terms of color, shape, font, and other elements. Sometimes the hardest part of designing a logo process is starting.
To start, you can use the guideline or information you have about the brand. For more references, try to see other brands’ logos but do not copy them. You might get inspiration while checking on other logos. While you get one, remember to be unique and set some points to make a difference for your logo. Making other brands’ logos as inspiration is okay, but just do not take them and create some adjustments, then make them your own. Creating a raw design from your mind is still recommended.
Whatever ideas come to your mind, write or sketch them down. Do not wait or procrastinate because they could be gone within seconds. Some designers always bring a sketchbook or install certain applications just in case they have a logo design concept crossing their minds. While creating the simple one, you may also write down some details about what you want to improve or add to the logo. Then you can review it later while doing the fourth step below.
4. Imagine yourself as an audience, critique the design, and revise it
Once the simple design is finished, you can review it by yourself before asking other people’s opinions. Place yourself as an audience and pretend you do not know any information related to the logo. Ask yourself, ‘what do you feel?’ ‘what is your reaction to the logo?’ ‘do you spot any flaws in the logo?’. Those questions help you evaluate the simple design that you made. The questions might also create room for an improvement to the logo.
Take time to review the basic logo design, as new ideas and critiques might appear later. Check also whether the logo offends certain people or not. Is your logo appropriate for your culture? If you find something on your mind, write them down.
For the logo with some optional versions, you can compare, reduce, and select the best version for you. Or you can ask for other people’s opinions on their favorite choice and take notes of their opinion on their choice, including what they like or dislike about the design.
As you get several opinions and notes about the logo, you can make adjustments or revisions to the logo. Yet, be selective in choosing people’s opinions and advice because not all opinions are in line with the goal of the logo. There might be some other revisions after the first revision. You could adjust the number of revisions based on the need. The important note on this step is to have the ‘accepted’ and proper logo first.
5. Focus and maximize certain elements of the logo
While you revise the first basic logo design concept, you need to think the concept is boring. Hence, maximize some elements, including the color, graphics, shape, font, mascot, or other elements that make the logo eye-catching. The Coca-cola logo might be boring because it has only words on it, but the red color grabs people's attention and make it memorable. Decide which element of the logo will stand out among the others.
The elements that you will focus on should match each other. Maximizing several elements might make the concept over-dramatic and uninteresting. It is suggested not to focus on more than three elements in a logo. People find it difficult to memorize the logo with over-dramatic elements.
The aim of maximizing certain elements is just to grab people’s attention. So, make sure not to overdo it. If you make several elements stand out, be sure that they complement each other, not shadow each other.
6. Jot down or sketch any ideas and then experiment with them
Still related to the previous step, while focusing on certain elements, you could create several versions. Color as for the example, you can try different shades of yellow and compare each other. The more variations you make, the more chance you are getting the best logo. While you get plenty of variations, you can sort them down based on your preference or the guideline or goal list you made previously. An expert judgment or others’ opinion could also help.
If you want to add more elements, just try it. The picture on your mind might be different while you jot it down. You will never know if it is a good idea or not if you do not create it. It also applies when you feel that you need to remove some elements of the logo. In this step, you are still open to making any changes to the design.
The variations could apply to style, color, typography, graphics, and other elements. Having multiple variations can also be your stock for the next change or sub-unit logos. Looking similar but having some different details could convey some meanings. For the sub-unit logos, each unit can be represented by some variations or changes. As each variation has a different meaning, among them, choose the meaningful one that suits the goal of your brand.
7. Check other logos as a reference and compare them with yours
Viewing logos from other similar brands helps to start your logo. When your rival or other brands has been in the business for a long time, and they have changed their logo several times, you must check them even from the very beginning. The logo change might tell you the shift they tried to make and the new messages they tried to tell.
Besides, you can get ideas or something different from other brands to make your logo unique. If you see some attractive points in other brands’ logos, you can write them down and apply them to your concept. By checking several brands’ logo, you will see how each brand convey its meaning and what meaning they try to convey.
At first, checking other logos helps you to find the ‘inspiration’ and work on your own. Once yours is done, you also need to compare them with your work. While comparing, you might find some similarities. People might assume that you plagiarize the other logo due to the similarity. Then, you can either change the similar points or stick with it but bear the people’s assumptions and judgment.
If your final version of the concept is totally different from others, you do not need to alter any part of your logo. Just check your logo and see whether it will stand out from the other logos. Evaluate how your logo will be perceived by the audience compared to rivals’. Another revision can still be applied to make it more salient when it is needed. Make sure that your logo is impressive enough to compete in the market.
8. Try to go bold
After you review your logo, you estimate how memorable your logo will be among the rivals’ logos. One way to make it memorable is by making it bold. People will notice it first, and it leaves a strong impression for people to remember. While other logos have similar patterns or elements, you can go against the stream to make the design logo design bold. Another is by choosing the element types that catch more attention. As for the example of color, choose bright-tone colors rather than soft ones. You can always find other ways to look different.
For other elements, you can opt something more provocative or mysterious. Hence people will be moved or get curious about your brand. Once people search for your brand because of your logo, the logo is the successful one. Yet, bear in mind that the provocative elements still should follow the norms. Being bold does not mean provoking people and breaking the rules, but more being unique to your own. In unity, it is easier to remember something that looks different and be that different.
9. Go with details and add puzzles, hints, or fun facts to create meaning
This ninth step is related to the previous one. Add puzzles, hints, and fun facts about your brand to the logo. It aims to look bold and makes people curious, and move them to look up your brand on the internet. Puzzles and hints are like a mystery for people, and all of them want to know the answer or real reason why the puzzles or hints are in the logo. While they are looking for the answer, they might read your brand profile and goal.
An example is the Nike logo which makes people wonder how the tick sign relates to the shoe brand. The logo is not only different from other shoe brands but also makes people curious about the brand itself. If you have fun facts about your brand, you can put them on the logo also. People nowadays look it up on the internet why technological company uses the word ‘Apple’ for their brand. They even use it as their pictorial logo. As the answer to their curiosity, the fun fact of the word ‘Apple’ came from the founder, Wozniak, who could not think of any better name for the brand.
10. Manage your time
Even though you are only brainstorming for the logo, you need to remember that you have a task to finish. Create some timeline or maximum duration for each of the previous steps. It makes your creating logo process more effective and on time. During the process, you might experience the writing or designing block; you could take a break or check for other logos as a refreshment to your mind. Do not procrastinate or wait until you get ideas. Write them first, even if it is just a sketch or note.
If during the process you involve other people for their opinion or design skill, make sure to ask for more than one person. Just in case one of them will be late in giving their feedback or help, so you still can get help from others. Decide the latest date to finalize the logo so your client or your brand does not wait for too long. Sometimes while designing the logo, it is important to remember that done is better than perfect.
Those are some steps of how to brainstorm a good logo design concept. The steps will not do anything unless you start them. Do not be afraid to fail or to go different. Use your creativity as much as you can and show your brand's true value. You can always have room for improvement. Once you get something to fix, but the logo is already out, do not feel bad for yourself. As in several years, your brand might need a new logo. Then it is time for you to fix it.
So now read or listen to your brand/client’s brand. Take a note and start to sketch anything that comes to your mind. Even the famous brand logos start from a simple sketch. So good luck designing the logo!