How to make a successful logo design (and become a true successful logo designer)

One of the most fashionable graphic design niches among beginners is definitely the Logo Design. 

Why? It’s probably the easiest one to realize, when you’re still at the beginning, or at least you think so. Probably many people decide to start from this particular niche also because it is one of the most requested graphic works.

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how to become a successful logo designer freelance

In fact, creating an effective logo design is certainly not a walk in the park. To create a successful logo design, there are clear rules to follow, which many people underestimate, or don’t consider at all.

Surely you tried to create a logo, and to convey a corporate message through it, but maybe you didn’t succeed in your intent, and the result was to propose a “badly done” logo design, which doesn’t properly achieve its purpose. Result: customer not satisfied, and neither do you.

In this post, we want to summarize in a real free guide, how to create a successful logo design, which is effective for the customer, and that is also of high visual impact.

If you are an aspiring designer, and you are particularly fond of logo design, take paper and pen, because here you will have all the information you need to become the next successful Logo Designer!

Grab pen and paper, it's time to start!


How to make a successful logo design (and become a true successful logo designer)

Important: this is not just an article, but a real guide, which you can consult every time you want to start designing a new logo. I said “design” because it’s not the same as “drawing”. 

This guide is not made for those who want to learn how to design a logo, what tool to use to do it (even if at the end of the guide you will find useful ideas on this topic), but for those who really want to learn the process of designing an effective logo. 

Always remember that a logo design must not be “beautiful”, but must be effective, must be functional and convey in a completely understandable message that you want to convey, that the company wants to convey.

For this reason, in this guide you will find all the ideas to learn a proper process of creating a logo design, starting from how to behave with the customer when he commissions the work. 

We can start from this point!

1. Ask yourself all the questions right away (create an effective brief for your design):

Experienced designers, especially in the freelance field, and customers know that well executed design briefs play a significant role in the success of their projects, and therefore the importance of the latter should not be underestimated.

Many of the newbies start off badly, as they don’t understand the importance of a design brief. The brief is the key part when starting a design job. The brief is not only for you to have a clear idea of how to work, but also to define the price for your work. 

It’s not possible to do this: 1 logo design = X dollars, because every customer, every company and every work they commission you is different. 

That’s why it’s essential to start right away (when a customer contacts you to create the logo for his company) with the right questions. 

But let’s go with order.

What is a Design Brief?

A design brief is a document that provides guidance to designers.

The document focuses on the results of a project, providing information on important considerations and constraints that can be experienced. These are prepared in the first phase of consulting with the client.

In the specific case of a design brief for a logo, you will need to be clear about all aspects of the design you are about to start, including the values that the company wants to share, the type of brand identity to be developed (this is a phase that comes later, but many designers begin to develop a corporate brand identity already along with the logo).

Why?

Because the logo obviously has to be in line with all company communication.

Even here many people are wrong, and in this case I’m not talking about designers. Even the customers are wrong, thinking that a new logo will suffice for their company. In reality, in addition to the logo, the whole corporate image is important (we will see this point in detail below).

When to use a Design Brief?

A Design Brief can be used for many projects. It is no coincidence that it is also used in the field of architecture, interior design and industrial design.

Design Briefs are also used to evaluate the effectiveness of a project after it has been produced and during the creation process to keep the project in line with defined principles and within the budget.

Can you understand the importance of having a design brief before starting a job?

Well, that means you’re on the right track!

Here comes the beautiful! We understand that using a design brief is very important, but how to write it?

Obviously a design brief, the more accurate and detailed it is, the better you will work on your project. You’ll have all the information you need to be able to work with your creativity, without losing your goal.

In this regard, if you are not already registered, I suggest you try our app at www.desircle.co, an app created specifically for designers like you, which has its main strength in the design brief. You can create a design brief automatically, using our feature, send the brief directly to the customer, who will answer all questions. All this in a fully automatic way, with just one click!

We continue.

The design briefs can have different shapes and sizes depending on the type of project you are working on and the customer you are working with. To give you an idea of what to include, here are the main sections of an effective design brief:

  • Company profile
  • Project overview
  • Aims and objectives
  • Recipients
  • Design requirements
  • Budget and calendar

Following this schedule, you can create questions that will lead you to have a clear vision of the design logo project on which you will work.

That said, there is still some information you need to understand about the design brief.

What is the purpose of a Design Brief?

We see 3 important points regarding the purpose of the design brief, and why it is important to have it for the customer:

  • The design briefs provide an overview of the entire project. From the designer’s point of view, this means that you save time to make unnecessary calls, or to write unnecessary emails looking for clarification on the elements of the project.
  • From the designer’s point of view (you), a complete design brief implies that the client has a clear view of what he needs. This promotes the designer’s motivation to work on the project and to know that it is going in the right direction.
  • A well-designed design brief allows both the client and the designer to take a look at the expected design solution.

So here we are, having defined in as much detail as possible why this famous and underestimated design brief is of vital importance to you, the designer!

To conclude this section, here are some questions that are essential to understand who the customer is, what his needs are, what ideas he has, how to proceed to achieve your brief and also the right price for the work that you will do.

Questions to ask the customer for your design brief:

  • What are the objectives of your company?
  • What are the design possibilities?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Which images and which images should be used?
  • What is your realistic budget for the project?
  • What is the overall expected style of the new design?

Bonus Exercise:

Arrived at this point, it’s up to you! Get paper and pencil, and start writing questions for your design brief. You’ll see how this world of logo design gets much wider, how it goes from being a simple “designer” to being a real “designer”, design expert but also marketing expert.

Follow the steps indicated in the paragraphs I have described above, and try and write an accurate brief, dividing it into blocks:

  • Describe the client’s company
  • Describe the purpose of the logo design project (+ branding)
  • Describe the process by which you will come to define the logo design
  • Describe which file formats your customer needs

For each of these points, prepare questions, which you can use for your future projects, such as those I have given you above.

Want another example?

Let’s do one. What is the purpose of this logo design?

Ask your client the following questions:

  • What company is it?
  • What does it sell?
  • Have you already had experience in design and marketing?
  • How does it differ from its competitors?
  • What other design and marketing materials do you already have?
  • What is the message you want to get across?
  • What are the company’s values?

And so on. Now it’s your turn!

Let’s proceed to the second point, essential to become a successful logo designer.

2. Start with paper and pencil (sketch your logo design):

Every time you start with a new logo design project, your creativity is skyrocketing!

If you’ve done the right design brief, you’ve got the guidelines for your new project, and you’re ready to impress your client with lots of ideas, because you’re a creative!

You’ve probably already started working, browsing through Behance, Dribbble, Instagram, and a thousand other inspirational sites for yourself.

But I would like to offer you another important cue, which will help you to completely change perspective: the paper and the pencil!

Yes, because like any successful big logo designer, you too have to start with the right process to create your logo. And the right process starts with your drawing on paper.

This process helps you to put all your ideas in your head right away in black and white. If you are designing a logo, you will surely have ideas in your head that must come to life, so that you can see if they work, if they are applicable in your specific case.

That’s why drawing on paper is the second step. This process will help you to make your ideas flow, the first ideas you have in mind. It will help you to shape these ideas and see how they look in reality.

There are many beautiful techniques to define this point in more detail: an example is brainstorming.

Brainstorming is a creative technique used in many ways, which serves to make a collection of ideas for a given project. In this specific case, brainstorming for the logo design is a process of collecting ideas to define the key aspects of the logo and to create drafts, directly on paper.

You’ll see how your logo comes to life, following the design brief, and you’ll see how many of your ideas may immediately appear difficult to implement, or non-functional.

Bonus Exercise:

Grab pen and paper! Take the questions you created in your brief (you answer directly), in short, create a brief of a potential customer.

Based on these answers, you’ll have a set of information to follow to get to work. For example, if the company is in the catering sector, and has a name that starts with “A”, you could start by working on the initial of the name, and reflect on how to implement the “A” to graphic elements that can define the catering market.

Drop all the ideas you have in mind, don’t stop! You don’t need to have a precise idea already, just fill in the idea sheet, this is the first step to take. You’ll see how, as you draw on your sheet of paper, new ideas will arrive, which can work according to your project!

We are now in phase 3 of this logo design guide. A crucial point that is often not very followed by designers.

Work in black and white (leave the colors aside at this stage):

This phase, much underestimated, is of vital importance. Do not start by working with colors, but by working ONLY in black and white. Really, only in black and white.

Why?

Because if you only work in black and white, you can concentrate on designing the logo. And, more importantly, when you go to present the drafts to your customer, the latter will not be distracted by the colors. This means that he won’t choose one proposal over another because he likes that colour better.

Don’t underestimate this point. Too many times new designers make mistakes right here. They create various sketches, with different colors, and the customer chooses one of the sketches based on the color he likes best, rather than on the message you want to convey, the shapes you have drawn, etc..

And here the previous point comes back for help: paper and pen! 

Drawing on paper, using only a pen or a pencil, you will get used to designing logos only in black and white. This will allow you to focus on the shapes, which will compose the message you want to convey. 

Once you have defined the logo sketches on paper, you will be ready to bring these sketches back to your graphic software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator), so you can define them and send them to the customer. Don’t forget not to use colors here, too.

Even if it seems strange to you, I strongly recommend sending the first drafts of the logo design in black and white to the customer, because as mentioned, the customer will be able to focus on the choice based on the logo, not on the color.

The choice of color can be made later, when the customer has approved one of the drafts, and then you can be sure that the first phase of design of your logo design is completed.

Now you have a design logo, you know what the customer likes, he confirmed the draft, and you can then proceed with the creation of the logo in vector!

At this stage, you will also have to choose the right font and colours for your design logo.

In this guide, however, I don’t want to dwell on the choice of the right font and color, which we will instead go into in more detail in future blog posts.

Let’s define instead, in the next points, 3 very important things, that is 3 tips to design an effective logo design (in agreement with the greatest designers around):

  • Don’t follow the fashion of the moment
  • Remember the importance of legibility and scalability
  • BONUS TIP: 5 essential points for a successful design logo

Don’t follow the trend of the moment:

We immediately understand an important concept: following the evolution of design and trends is of vital importance for a designer. As in any other area, being up to date is essential.

But being up to date doesn’t mean falling into the trend of the moment.

Why?

Because falling into the trend of the moment means designing a logo that will not last in time. A logo that does not last in time, will be a logo to be remade in 2 years. And this is NOT your goal, being a successful aspiring designer.

A logo design must follow very defined parameters, that is, it must be:

  • simple
  • momentous
  • timeless
  • multipurpose
  • apposite

As you can see, one of the fundamental points for a design logo is “to be timeless”. This is the point: it must last over time.

Try asking yourself a question when you design a new logo: “Will this logo still be usable in 10 years’ time?”

If the answer is yes, then you are creating a successful design logo and you are not falling into the trap of following the fashion of the moment.

When you create a logo, you should avoid fashions or trends because they can make your dated design appear once the trend passes. 

The logo design should be strong enough that even in ten years it will still be an effective identifier.

If the logo uses a fashionable font, it will need to be redesigned at some point. 

If you want a tangible example, I’ll describe one here: Ikea.

Think about the Ikea logo, and ask yourself: will it still be effective in 10 years’ time? The answer is yes! As it has been so far, it will be as effective in 10 years’ time.

Remember the importance of legibility and scalability:

You managed to design a logo that finally follows all the right rules. It has all the right features to become a successful logo.

But are we sure? Maybe we’re missing something?

Well yes! A design logo cannot be defined as such if it does not respect two other fundamental characteristics: readability and scalability.

The legibility of a logo: how easy it is to read.

If you are a designer, or aspiring one, you probably could also spend hours looking at a logo, studying every little detail of it (and maybe fantasizing about how you would have done it differently). But for a normal person that’s not the case.

A client of the company you’re creating the logo for will only look at it for a few seconds. He won’t fix it, he won’t study it, he won’t see its little details.

He will simply look at it for a few seconds.

So it is very important that the message arrives in those few seconds. If your logo is not done “right”, i.e. it is not readable, the message will not reach the end user.

An example of how important readability can be, is found in all those logos built with a handwritten font, which can be for example the logos of restaurants: how many times did you find yourself in front of a logo that you could not read correctly?

If you don’t read it, you will never remember it! Ultimately, you were wrong. And that will be detrimental to the company.

Scalability of a logo: when it’s important to create scaled versions.

A great designer knows it: a logo has a lot of different applications, so it is good to create different versions.

An example? A logo for social networks.

If a logo is made in one way, it doesn’t mean that it has to be replicated in the same way on all its various formats.

A good designer knows that the logo for the restaurant sign can be different from the logo of the same restaurant that will be used on the Instagram or Facebook page.

This is because, of course, if a logo for the sign can be used extensively, composed of all the graphic elements, in a social logo can be very small, not have enough space to be inserted correctly, and it is therefore necessary to create a logo specifically for social.

You can create various versions of the logo, which are always used correctly in various formats, and you can define that for social is used a particular variant.

In practice, a logo must be versatile, i.e. work correctly in all formats (and possibly work well with different colors, both corporate and black and white).

Always ask questions about the application of the logo:

  • Where do you have to print it?
  • Should it also be published in black and white?
  • Is it used on social media?
  • Is it used on large advertising signs?

And so on.

If you followed this guide to the letter, you have come to the point of being a step away from becoming a professional logo designer, only one last concept is missing, which I bring you back here as BONUS!

BONUS EXERCISE: 5 tips for creating an effective logo design for your brand:

Here we are at the last chapter of this great guide on logo design! They are real pearls to become one of the best logo designers in the world!

This last part of the guide will also serve as an address for the most important points seen above.

Focus on simplicity:

Creating a simple logo is essential. 

If the user’s eye has too much to focus on when looking at your logo, it’s harder for potential and existing customers to recognize. 

Too many flashy elements in a design can distract and distract the main objective of the logo itself, which in the end is always to convey the right message and be the main element of a company’s communication.

Think about where the logo will be used:

When designing a new logo or redesigning an existing logo, you should always think about where the logo will be used and how it will look.

From business cards, to billboards, to social media, to printed graphics, it’s important to think about how your logo will look both online and offline.

Updates the logo design over time:

In order to stay up to date and timely, it is important to consider small changes to make your logo current.

That said, if your logo has been successful in the past, it’s not always the best choice to make a drastic change from the design you’ve already used.

Sometimes a simple change of typeface type or the use of a cleaner icon can do a lot to make a logo more suitable to the times.

Always think of a design that is “timeless”

When you change the design of your logo, you don’t want it to be due to a massive need for change due to a completely outdated look.

A general guideline to follow when redesigning your logo is to avoid anything that is fashionable because it won’t last forever.

Too often brands choose a design that has a trendy look, and this can be an expensive mistake.

If you select a design that is timely and not something long lasting, it is unlikely to remain current, it may not be in line with brand values, and there is also a good chance that many other brands have a similar design.

Finally, when starting the logo design process, it is essential that you take the necessary steps to ensure that you are making a design that has the potential to effectively drive brand recognition for your business.

Conclusions:

Good! You’ve come to the end of this guide on successful logo design, and I want to congratulate you!

I’m sure you now have more ideas on how to deal with your next successful design. Put all the tips in this guide into practice now, and you’ll see how you’ll feel right away.

Offer yourself to your next customer in this way, you will see that in his eyes you will be a great expert in design and therefore also your negotiation with the customer will be successful.

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