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How long DOES it take to design a logo?

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Through many conversations with clients and potential clients, I get asked what exactly goes into a logo, time-wise.

For the non-designers out there, there is usually a bit of surprise when they see what kind of time investment there is designing what will end up being their brand identity. You are looking at a multi-stage process, back and forth communication between the client and the designer and a lot of researching. Here are some basic steps I take through my design process and a rough estimate of the time needed.

Each project presents its own set of challenges and can increase or decrease the time needed at each stage of the process.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

The Design Brief: 1.5 – 2 hours

As the designer, I need to learn a lot about you, your business, the industry you work in, who you are competing with and so on. I need to know as much as possible about you and what you do so I can more accurately dial in the design down the road. Without this information, a lot of time could be wasted during the brainstorming phase with ideas that miss the mark.

Once all of this information is in place, I can more accurately put together a price quote, a list of what you will need from me at the end of the project, as well as deadlines and terms for the project.

Green Light:

Once the client has signed everything sent to them and agreed to the terms set up during the design brief and proposal stage, an initial deposit is made to begin the project. This is a percentage that is agreed upon by both parties and is included in the original price quote. A deposit or down payment is standard practice in many industries as it establishes a commitment to the project for the client and designer.

Research and Inspiration: 3 hours

At this point in the process, it’s time for me to dig deeper into the information you gave me during stage one and research your company, the industry you reside in and also dig into the competition’s logos and how they present themselves to the customers you will be after.

Sketching and Brainstorming: 6 – 10 hours

All of the ideas gathered during my research go into the sketching and brainstorming stage. I’ll be filling a few pages with rough sketches or word lists to fine tune what I’m going to be presenting to you at a later stage.

The sketching and rough process can take several hours to compile a good number of ideas.

After this stage, I will then select my favorites and begin the process of translating them into a digital format.

Polish and Presentation: 1.5 – 2 hours

Once I have narrowed down my sketches into digital illustrations, I select the top three to move onto the next round. At this point, I take the designs and polish them to a near complete stage to present to the client.

Client Presentation: 1 hour

This is the point where the client and I meet up to go over the design ideas and their application in their business. Most of the time this will be face to face unless we have agreed to work remotely (if you are in a different location than I am, for example). Feedback is collected and most importantly, your choice for the final design direction.

Final polish and Payment: 30 min – 1 hour

Once I have final direction from the client, I can take their feedback (if any) and put the finishing touches on their design work. Once the final edits are made (another meeting might be needed) and the client approves, the final payment is received. Upon receipt of the final payment, the client will receive digital copies of all of the art agreed upon at the beginning, in various formats and other materials they may need to accompany their new logo.

Total:

On average, from start to finish, a client can expect their designer to spend around fifteen to twenty hours.

Understanding this process and looking at how important a good design or logo is to a business is important to understanding the value and the time spent on your design. Remember that the time spent on the various stages of design can vary from project to project so communication in both directions is key to a successful project.

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The path to a new logo

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I designed my first personal logo identity about twelve years ago. I had recently watched the film Robots (Robin Williams and Mel Brooks). In the movie, there is a giant entry gate outside of the corporate headquarters of Bigweld Industries that had an interesting typeface etched into the frame. The typeface looked like something you would get from a CNC machine process.

I was inspired by the look of this type and spent a few days creating a typeface in Adobe Illustrator.

Robots Font

Utilizing my new font design, I set about creating a logo for my personal online portfolio. I combined my first and last name into a single line logotype and highlighted my first name with a lighter color.

I really enjoyed this logo and received quite a bit of praise both online and in the real world. Having used the same design for almost twelve years, I eventually got to a point where it felt limiting in where I could use the design. The design didn’t scale well as it was very wide, and I did not have a compressed version for smaller uses such as icons and profile imagery so it was time for a change.

Initially, I stuck with the font, as most readily available fonts felt overused and just didn’t fit who I was. I compressed my first name to an initial so that the design was more compact and even tried a few variations on patterns or graphical elements.

After this, I experimented a bit with colors and font choices to feel out the direction of this design.

 

 

 

I decided at this stage to sleep on the idea, as I felt something else was in order but just couldn’t put my finger on it at that moment.

The next day while watching some videos on YouTube, it dawned on me. Why not utilize my drawing abilities to just draw my logo by hand?

I opened Procreate on my iPad Pro and scribbled a few dozen attempts at a script style logo before I landed on these.


This new design satisfied all of the issues I had with the old. There was a social media profile version for smaller proportions, it had more character and it more accurately represented who I was as an artist.

I exported the sketch from Procreate and brought it into Adobe Illustrator where I refined the edges a bit and added back in the ‘design’ portion of the logo to give me my final design.

JMeister Design Logo