The logo is arguably one of the most critical pieces of a visual identity. It’s the mark that becomes a recognizable, identifiable, and memorable piece of a brand. Therefore, it’s got to be memorable and true to the brand’s overall identity.
In short: designing a logo is not exactly easy. Clients can sometimes be very specific with what they want, so it’s important to be thorough in the discovery session and unpack what they’re hoping to see in the end.
This video is the sixth episode from our YouTube series, Building a Brand, where we redesign a brand identity for a family-owned California brewery. To watch the full series, click here.
What a Logo is, and What it Isn’t
Let’s kick this off by first identifying what a logo is not. A logo is not a brand—it’s a mark that identifies the brand. While the logo is a very important part of the brand, it is not a representation of the brand as a whole. Its sole purpose is to identify, not explain.
Starting the Logo Design Process
In this particular case, the logo design process kicks off after the clients, Josh and Crysten Hamilton, have approved a stylescape for visual direction.
Three designers from Blind, Emily, Minhye, and Emanuele, will start to draft versions of the logo based off of the approved stylescape. Each designer, though, is tasked with sticking to a particular look and feel in each of their designs, and is encouraged to explore many variations of the potential logo.
Josh and Crysten value the family heritage aspect their current brand represents. They also have communicated a fondness for the craftsman aesthetic. Being a family-owned and operated brewery, the designers have to keep these things in mind as they move to the design stage.
Presenting the Logo Designs
The designers have produced quite a few handfuls of logo designs, but Ben and Matthew will only present 3-4 to the clients. This is to avoid showing them too many options to the point where they don’t know which direction to go in.
In the video, you’ll notice how Ben clearly states that this is not the final logo design; it’s simply the first step to getting to the final one.
To do this, Ben and Matthew put together a presentation of the logos applied in different ways. They walk Josh and Crysten through the concepts to show them how these designs can live and breathe in the real world.
The designers have placed their logos on a variety of mockups to help the clients imagine what their new logo will look like on a t-shirt, bottle cap, hat, or in this case, on the wall of the brewery.
Presenting the logos in this way opens the door for feedback and clarity from the clients. They can point to the specific characteristics of the logo that they like or don’t like, and help the design team know where to go next.
Once they break from this meeting, Ben and Matthew head back to Blind to begin the refinement process with the designers.
It should be noted that your client will not always be on board with the initial direction. Though it might not happen with every single client, pushback should at least be expected.
While Josh and Crysten initially went with one of the designs presented, they later came back with a bit of hesitation and direction of their own.
Now it’s up to Ben, Matthew, and the rest of the design team to synthesize Josh and Crysten’s requests into a logo that is not only true to their brand, but gives a nod to their history.