Logo Design and Style Guide

Our Process for Designing an Amazing Logo

There’s a well-defined and proven process for creating great logo designs. Here’s a little peek at what our process looks like:

Strategic Development

Working with the client and other information we can get our hands on (via research, interviews, etc.), our strategy team first focuses on learning as much as we can about the organization’s mission, challenges, processes and principles. We then develop a creative brief, which outlines the target audience, relevant background information, overall tone and unique brand position for the organization. This creative brief ensures both the client and our creative teams are seeing eye-to-eye about what the brand identity must represent.

Logo Concept Development

Once the creative brief has been finalized, our design team brainstorms multiple directions to explore and begins to develop thumbnail sketches. We typically collaborate internally to decide which thumbnails should be developed further. Once that has been settled, we develop a number of different design comps to show to the client.

Refining

Once initial designs are presented, we work with you to gradually refine the concepts until you’re pleased with the result. This is something that separates SG from the competition — ultimately, we know the logo we create must represent our clients’ vision, so we refine the logo until the client is pleased, provided the revisions are within reason. From there, we expand the design to include any other lockups, which are arrangements of the logo for different uses (i.e. vertical vs. horizontal orientation; with or without an accompanying tagline or slogan).

Putting the Logo Into Production

Once a logo is chosen, we do any graphics cleanup, ensuring the logo is available in multiple file formats (CMYK, RGB, .JPG, transparent .PNG, .EPS, etc.) and set up for production on any medium. We typically provide all final art files on a disc so the client has easy access to the finished product.

Different Types of Logos

One of the cool things about logos and design styles in general is that over time, styles evolve. This requires companies to refresh their logos over time to stay current, but as a creative company, we love staying on top of these new logo trends. Although there are infinite style directions we explore with logos, some styles we’ve found to be popular include:

  • Cubism: Very “Technology” Centric
  • Text Within Icon
  • Spores/Dots/Mosaic
  • Typographic Logos
  • Gradients
  • Morphed Pixels
  • Organic
  • Image/Design Within Text

“Your logo inspires the entire brand’s identity”

A brand identity is traditionally defined as the outward expression of a brand, including its name, trademark, communications and visual appearance — it reflects how the owner wants the consumer to perceive the brand.

SG’s Brand Identity Design Process

In order to create strong brand identities, we first start with research and discovery. We want to help your brand be as strong as possible and it begins with a full understanding of the existing brand, as well as discovering new potential directions for the brand to grow into. At SG, we go the extra mile to learn as much as we possibly can about your organization’s target audience and customers, so we can base our brand-identity creation on the best knowledge possible. We augment our knowledge of your situation with thorough research, including market analysis, competitor analysis, surveys and secondary research.

Once we have enough information to fill out a creative brief, we can move on to developing creative concepts, which often start with the logo. A logo is the defining visual element for a brand, and it sets the tone for the rest of your brand identity, so we don’t take this task lightly. Instead of creating one or two logos we think are best, we present you with multiple design directions, usually producing between four and six original ideas.

From there, we will work with you to gradually narrow the choices down to a single direction you feel most articulates your vision for the brand. Once the logo and design direction are established, SG’s team of talented identity designers develop primary and secondary color palettes and typography styles. We typically illustrate these color palettes and typography styles by beginning to design the brand identity system, which consists of letterhead, envelopes, business cards, mailing labels, etc.

At SG, we often recommend creating a brand style guide to go along with every brand identity we develop. Style guides are documents that outline usage and application rules for a brand. They ensure that employees, media and anyone else who is responsible for communicating the brand identity will know how to “use” it.

Strategic Brief & Creative Design

With the necessary research and knowledge intact, we can begin to develop a branding brief that outlines the target audience and their motivations, a brand’s unique selling proposition (USP), support for that position, tone, and any other input that is critical for developing the brand. Our creative team uses this as a reference to develop the elements that comprise the brand.

Creative briefs are anywhere from 3 pages to 25 pages in length and include all the specs an internal marketing or design team would need to implement the changes company-wide. Sutter Group also offers services to plan a strategy for rolling out this type of material as well.

Brand Implementation & Stewardship

Our work doesn’t stop when a brand is established. We constantly work to ensure a brand is properly implemented throughout all marketing materials in a way that the integrity of a brand is maintained. This includes anticipating how it will look in the context of a variety of platforms such as sponsorship banners, social media accounts, and letterhead.

Millennium Challenge Corporation Logo Design
Ajinomoto Windsor Corporate Style Guide Design
Sky Louver Business Cards