Graphic Design: How Do the Pros Come Up With Logos?

“It’s me, doing whatever it takes to make cool stuff.”

Those are the words of graphic designer Aaron Draplin, who discusses his creative process and how he comes up with logos for clients in a video on Sploid.

Logos incorporate many aspects of graphic design—color, shapes, fonts, subliminal meanings or hidden symbols—and help companies identify themselves to the public. Some businesses’ logos (Coca-Cola, McDonalds or Apple, for example) are so recognizable that the images are fully ingrained in the companies’ identities.

But how do these logos come about? What goes into their creation? How do graphic design pros wade through a client’s needs and transform a message into an image that resonates?

For starters, there are some basic principles that go into creating a great logo, according to a post from HubSpot, a marketing firm. They include:

  • Simplicity
  • Memorability
  • Timeliness
  • Versatility
  • Appropriateness

These elements help guide designers who are tasked with crafting a logo. But there is a great deal of creativity associated with the process.

Draplin, who owns his own graphic design company, draws inspiration from myriad sources, and talks about finding old things that catch his eye and the timelessness of certain designs.

To start, however, Draplin says he generally begins by simply writing out the company’s name—in lowercase and capital, thinking about what the client wants to convey and exploring themes from there.

logos and graphic design elementsIt starts out “fast and fun,” Draplin says, and he prefers to work quickly by hand rather than beginning in front of a computer. This enables Draplin to think about what the company represents, incorporating visual cues in the logo itself.

In two minutes of sketching, he starts to come up with ideas he hadn’t considered before he started.

In the HubSpot post, we find an example of a strong logo: that of Evernote, a company that provides software services for note taking and archiving.

The Evernote logo features an elephant, a nod to the adage about the pachyderms never forgetting anything, along with a folded piece of paper for the animal’s ear. The final design took six weeks to complete, according to the post, and earlier iterations were much different from the final version.

That process illustrates the considerations graphic designers take in creating logos. There are several factors they must wade through as they go about their work:

  • Colors
  • Fonts
  • Messages and meanings
  • Creative considerations
  • Industry environment
  • Client feedback
  • Different versions

Each of these items must be addressed when graphic designers come up with logos. A great deal of the effort includes experimentation, revisions, happy accidents and working with clients to get the logo just right.

Of course, even a great logo can get a little tired after time. It’s hard to find a company that has kept with the same one over dozens of years.

But those logos that stand the test of time and resonate with people remain iconic images whose brand value is undeniable.

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