We like to keep it fresh here at Blender, be it drinks we’re drinking, websites we’re designing, or blog posts we’re writing. With that in mind, to mix it up this week we’ve invited our Senior Digital Designer, Daniel Meehan, to take the helm and share with us a little insight into the creative process at Blender, focusing specifically on brand identity and logo design. Take it away Dan!
Hello blog world! You might be surprised to learn that creating a logo isn’t quite as simple as selecting a font (or a typeface, as us designer folk like to refer to them), a colour, and a bit of clip art. There is a creative process that, when followed, cuts through the clutter, weeds out bad ideas, and delivers a brand identity that simply sings. Full disclaimer, there are many variations to this process, but this model seems to work for me.
Put simply, great projects start with a great brief (or set of deliverables). It really doesn’t matter if they’re written in an email or hashed out over a coffee – the important part is the content. Generally, a great brief will include a solid understanding of a project’s deliverables, timelines, budgets and (importantly) who the intended audience is. The inclusion of less tangible assets such as mood, tone, and feeling are also crucial. The best briefs are those that achieve that fine balance between providing the designer with a detailed understanding of what is required, and allowing them the creative freedom to really run with a project.
Research and Discovery
Ok, so now you’re thinking, “Go time! Let’s start designing”. Slow down there, cowboy. The importance of initial research and discovery cannot be overstated. Instead of jumping headfirst into the unknown, conduct a little (or a lot of) visual research to open your eyes to what is possible within the brief. Books, magazines and the internet are a good starting point, but also consider material outside of your own discipline – for me, architecture, interior design, photography and old signage can help spark ideas. Remember to relate everything you learn back to the brief and your audience. At this point, it’s probably a good idea to check out what your competitors are up to as well.
Break out the pens and pencils kids, it’s time to get creative! Fuelled by research, the creative juices should start to flow. So get sketching, get painting, experiment with typography, play around with imagery, and explore the wonderful world of colour – use whatever medium you need to answer the brief. Consider steering clear of the computer in the initial phase of this process, as staring at a screen can often stifle creativity. Soon enough, however, you’re likely to need the precision and accuracy of your trusty Mac to execute your concepts. I find this to be the most enjoyable part of the process as it allows for the most creative freedom. That’s not to say that it doesn’t get stressful, as each project requires intense creative energy – but, hey, that’s what we’re here for.
With a concept or three under your belt, it’s time to present to the client (side note: never present a concept that you’re not happy with, because it’s possible the client will choose it). With any luck, the client will fall in love with one of your ideas and run with it, as is. However, more often than not, there will be some changes. Take these in stride (it’s nothing personal), just make sure the changes don’t completely compromise the design and stay in line with the initial brief.
Final Logo and Roll Out
With any changes from the client made, and final approval gained, your logo is now designed. Boo-yeah! Now all that’s left to do is place it on your business card, letterhead, annual report, website, etc. (the brand roll-out, as us designers would say) – but this process is a whole other can of worms.