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For Our Clients: Logos

This is an article in a series called “For Our Clients”. The goal of these articles is to be as transparent as we can with our clients so as to help clarify how we think, what we do, and how we do it. We also hope that these articles can become a resource for clients – sort of an FAQ in article form – that will help broaden the understanding of why certain projects have the characteristics they do.

Your logo is the face of your business. It needs to project the image you want for your business; it needs to attract your target market; it needs to be effective in a range of mediums. Each client is unique, and thus each client’s logo is unique. So how do you know what a great logo looks like? How can you articulate the qualities of a good logo? What goes in to a logo design process?

Logo design by Paper Leaf for Jacek Chocolate
Logo design by Paper Leaf for Jacek Chocolate

Those questions, and more, are what we aim to answer with this article. If you are looking into hiring a designer to create your logo, or rebrand your business, please read on. This article will tell you what to look for in a logo, and reveal to you exactly how Paper Leaf goes about creating logos for our [many, happy] clients. Hit the jump for more info!

OBJECTIVES

Of course, a project is doomed to failure without defined goals & objectives. Be sure that your designer knows the specific objectives & goals of your logo, so that your logo reflects your business!

VECTOR GRAPHICS & WHY THEY MATTER

Logos must be designed in vector format. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it. What is a vector graphic, you ask? Well, a vector graphic is a graphic that can be resized, to any size big or small, without any loss of quality. You know how photos (commonly in .jpeg or .png format) get all pixelated and distorted-looking when you try and print them super-big, or when you resize them to a bigger size than the original? Yeah. That doesn’t happen with vector graphics, because it is a graphic based on mathematical equations which get recalculated every time you resize the graphic. The result is sharp edges, no pixelation, and a great looking graphic at any size – billboard to letterhead.

Paper Leaf designs logos strictly in vector format – if any designers propose a raster-based logo (that’s what digital photographs are – raster images), say “HAH! You can’t fool me! I DEMAND VECTOR!”. We use Adobe Illustrator, the industry-leading vector graphics program, to make your logo.

USABILITY & EFFECTIVENESS

Alright, you’re sold on vector graphics. But a vector logo is no good if its usability & effectiveness are non-existent. So what makes a usable & effective logo?

First, you need to think of your target market. Who are you targeting? If your target demographic is males between the ages of 18-25 who work in the oilfield, chances are a logo that consists of a unicorn riding a wave of rainbows won’t really hit home with them. So make sure your logo designer is designing with your target market in mind.

Second, you need to think of all the various ways your logo will be used. Website, letterhead, business card, envelope, coffee cups, pens, sure. But what about billboards? Murals? Large banners? The point I’m trying to make here is that if your logo isn’t eye-catching and viewable/readable at various sizes – from huge to small – your logo will not be effective at all of these sizes. You don’t want to have one logo for every day use, and one for large items – there goes your branding. Lesson? Make sure your logo designer designs a logo that works at all sizes on a variety of mediums.

OUR DESIGN PROCESS

So how do we go about creating a logo? Well, after initial inquiries and such, we send the client a design brief. This brief, when filled out, holds everything there is to know about the project (objectives, information about the client, project details, etc). After getting the brief back, we research the project. What is currently out there? How can we be different? What are some good sources of inspiration?

After researching & brainstorm, we go to the sketch format. We outline a variety of ideas and choose the best 3-4 to hone. Using Adobe Illustrator, we refine these ideas (in black and white, so as to focus on the idea & not the colors – yet). After we get the 3-4 drafts where we want them, we start working with color.

Once the 3-4 first drafts are completed, we compile them into a Proof Page. This is a one-page document that showcases each logo, explains the meanings & ideas behind the logos and shows the typefaces and colors used. This is sent to the client for approval & revisions.

From there, we ask our clients to choose the one logo they most prefer and to provide more input to us. It is important to note it is best if the client details any problems they have with the design, rather than any potential solutions per se. This way we can use our expertise to come up with a proper visual solution to the problem. An example of this might be to say “I find the font used to be too traditional” as opposed to saying “I want to see the logo with Comic Sans”. That being said, there are no steadfast rules & we try what our clients want to see!

Anyway, from providing the first 3-4 drafts, we go through a two-revision process (where the client has two rounds of revisions to get the logo to the approved stage). This works well – it promotes good communication and keeps the project moving efficiently. We call this the 3-Draft, 2-Revision workflow, which you can read more about in our article 5 Ways to be a More Efficient Designer.

Once we have reached the final round and everyone is happy, your logo is complete! Overall, the whole logo design process takes 8+ hours, depending on the specifics of the project.

WHAT YOU GET

To recap, we have designed an effective vector-based logo that has high usability no matter the size it’s shown at, or what it’s viewed on. We have followed a 3-Draft, 2-Revision workflow to reach an approved final logo- a process which keeps the project focused & moving smoothly. So – what exactly do you get?

When we design logos, we deliver to the client a package that ensures they can get their logo on near-any medium without having to come back to Paper Leaf (however, you’re always welcome!). Our delivered logo package consists of the following:

  • a vector file containing the logo in color, black-on-white and white-on-black
  • a color PNG of the logo (hi-res & web versions)
  • a white-on-black PNG of the logo (hi-res & web versions)
  • a black-on-white PNG of the logo (hi-res & web versions)
  • plus any additional formats requested by the client

This comes in a neat little zipped file. We also keep all of these versions on our hard drives for redundancy.

So there you have it! Everything you – the client – needs to know about logos in one nice little article. Also, if you’re interested in a logo design for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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