In this article I will guide you through the process of creating the identity & logo design for one of my recent clients, UKE, offering insights into not only the thought process behind creating the logo but also the creation of the logo itself.
Also keep an eye out in the May edition of Layers magazine for a feature on the UKE web site design.
The Logo Design Process
When one creates a logo, they should follow a logo design process to ensure that the final design suits the needs of the clients (not their wants)… I have written about the logo design process of professional logo designers in full here however below is the usual logo design process in short:
- Design Brief: Conduct a questionnaire or interview with the client to get the design brief.
- Research: Conduct research focused on the industry itself, on its history, and on its competitors.
- Reference: Conduct research into logo designs that have been successful and current styles and trends that may be related to the design brief.
- Sketching & Conceptualising: Develop the logo design concept(s) around the brief and research.
- Reflection: Take breaks throughout the design process. This lets your ideas mature and helps you get renewed enthusiasm. Receive feedback.
- Positioning: Position yourself as a contractor or build a long lasting relationship. ie. Client tells you what to do OR you guide the client to the best solution. The latter is usually best however personally, I try to find a happy medium.
- Presentation: Choose to present only a select few logos to the client or a whole collection. Presenting only the best is recommended.
- Celebration: Drink beer, eat chocolate, sleep, start on next logo design. Or a combination.
Getting The Job
Eugene, the business owner of UKE, contacted me earlier this year (who found me through my blog) and she wanted to rebrand & make over their old business identity starting with their logo and then the website.
After a few initial emails clarifying Eugene’s needs, I sent Eugene a four page logo design questionnaire form (PDF) which was promptly filled out. I then sent a proposal & an agreement (never call it a contract) and then received a 50% deposit via PayPal.
I also sent her a web design questionnaire for the website design but that is for another article.
The Design Brief
After Eugene had filled out the questionnaire I had most of the information that I needed to start on the logo design. There were a few other emails clarifying things but basically all the information was there.
Here is a bit of background information on UKE Chocolate Gift Baskets:
UKE.COM or UKE for short sells unique arrangements of chocolate as an alternative to gift baskets. UKE targets a more upscale market due to the time to make and cost of the product.
After reading through Eugene’s completed logo questionnaire, I found in short that she wanted a logo that portrayed her whole business model and she needed it be: “strong, bold & luxurious” She also requested to have it black or gold however was open to colour choices. Eugene also wanted to have a lion in the logo. The logo also had to be suitable for the web, business cards & t-shirts.
This was the old logo that was to re branded.
Upon receiving the initial 50% deposit for the logo and signed contract agreement, I then started researching what was needed for the project. This included looking up Eugene’s competitors (that she provided & my findings), researching the industry and searching for other logos in the industry, among other things.
Research is a critical stage in the logo design process as this ensures that your logo will differ from the competitors and it also sets a benchmark.
Sketching & Development
The next stage of the project was developing the logo. Developing the logo design concept is where creativity comes into play. Based on the design brief and research conducted, this is where I let my ideas run wild. I brainstormed and sketched down my ideas and then experimented with them on the computer. I also had breaks between these sessions so I could reflect on the designs and have a fresh perspective on the job at hand which is a crucial part of the process when when designing a logo.
The challenge that I had when creating the UKE logo was trying to incorporate a lion into the logo while still making it look luxurious… I got around this problem by brainstorming and word association. My thought process went something like this: Lion > King Of The Jungle > King > Crown > UKE with Crown
Below you will find one of the original pages of sketches that I did for the Ultimate Potential logo… I know I am no Picasso but it is the end result that matters. Find in the bottom right corner where I originally got the idea for the final logo. Remember that there is no such thing as a bad idea, just bad decisions.
As you can see in the sketch above I had the idea of using a crown or lion placed on top of the word UKE. After I had this general idea in my head I experimented with the concept in Adobe Illustrator and researched different types of crowns, layouts, fonts, icons, etc.
The first thing I did when experimenting with the logo design was to find the best typeface for the logo. Below you can see just some, of many, different typefaces I tried and circled in red, the typeface chosen (Friz Quadrata, Medium).
This typeface was chosen for its luxurious, traditional looking nature. A great alternative to the much overused Trajan.
After I had found the right typeface (though it is never set in stone) I then experimented with different concepts and layouts of which you can see some below.
Please take note that no colour has been added to any of the designs. This is to ensure the design works in one colour only. This helps on printing costs and makes the logo more adaptable for use over a variety of media.
One should also remember that simplicity in logo design is the key. The simpler a logo is, the more memorable and adaptable it is. In nearly all cases, less is more.
You may interested to know some more ‘rules’ of how to design a logo.
I then experimented with colour. The final dark purple colour was chosen for its royal & luxurious nature… purple is the colour of royalty after all. Do you know your colour theory?
In the image below you can see the logos from the above image with the same purple background.
Obviously, I ended up choosing the second bottom left logo (circled) for the final concept… After some more experiments & fine tuning I was finally ready to present the logo to Eugene.
Below you can read the email that I wrote to Eugene when ‘selling’ the logo to her.
I have been finishing off your logo today and have come down to the strongest concept, of which you will find attached in a PDF.
After all the research I carried out and concepts that I experimented with I kept coming back to this simple & effective logo… one without any animal figure. Not only this but I also found that animal figures were way overused, especially the lion due to it’s heraldic nature.
Your new UKE logo relates back to being king (much alike a lion) which is achieved by the use of a simple geometric crown. The crown has many symbolic references… the crown is a symbol of power, legitimacy, strength, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory of which can relate back to your luxurious packages, that of the highest quality. The typeface used for UKE is also one of power… strong bold serifed characters form a strong brand name that leaves a lasting impression on anyone that comes across it.
The purple, black and white colour scheme was also chosen for its luxurious nature and this can be applied across all of your marketing material such as your website, business card and so fourth. The UKE logo not only works well on a dark background but also a light background of which the white logo can turn into a dark purple logo. The logo can also be reproduced at any size and maintain readability.
I am eagerly awaiting your feedback and I will hear from you soon.
Eugene promptly replied:
The logo really works! I like how clean and modern it looks. I think you might be right about the overdoing of the lion stuff even though I had an obsession with it, none the less this one grows on me more each time I look at it!
Don’t you love it when the client loves the design first time around? No revisions! How about that?
After approval of the logo design and the remaining 50% payment I sent Eugene the final files in EPS, JPG, PNG and TIFF formats.
The Logo In Use
When Eugene first contacted me she also wanted her website to be redesigned. Below you can see the redesign of her old website with the new logo in use. The website is currently still in development however should be online soon.
You can see larger before & after shots of the website here: Before | After
Comments are welcome as always. If you are interested in more articles outlining my design process fly over to my featured articles page.
NB: This article was originally written for Creative Pool’s January 2009 newsletter however I have got permission to republish it here. Creative Pool.co.uk is UK’s largest creative recruitment & directory resource.