One of the most common and early questions we are asked is “how long does it take to design a new logo?” There is a process and the milestones to get there are fairly systematic, however, the time to complete can vary depending on the complexity of the deliverables and the client involvement.
For many organizations (and sometimes designers), a logo to them may simply be a graphic element that appears alongside any marketing or advertising collateral they produce. It needs to look nice…and they need to like it. That’s not a tool for success, but rather an image that may not have any meaning behind it. A more refined logo and brand development addresses the organization as a whole and identifies the true essence of who they are and where they would like to be. They have a personality, are well thought-out and align with values. To sum it up, if done well, a logo identifies with its audience and creates the right impression about your organization. To be done well it takes time, strategy and a plan for implementation done by trained professionals.
The best method to determine the length of time specific to your organization is to have a consultation. During this discussion you can talk through ways to make the development work with your needs, budget and timeframe. To provide a range, we have executed some logo design in a matter of weeks, some a month, but most realistically one and a half months to as high as three months is a standard execution. This leads you to ask “Why does a logo design take so long? It is only one little graphic?” Let’s take a look at the process to better understand timing.
1. Discovery (1 week)
At the beginning of every new client-designer relationship, it should be incumbent on the graphic designer or agency to be extremely thorough in fully understanding the organization in an effort to develop the most fitting and strategic logo solution. Following an initial meeting, project brief and quotation, stage 2 begins with the discovery session. There are many questions to ask and agencies who do it best are invested in learning as much as they can about the organization and the vision for design. Our best practice is to conduct a thorough creative brief that is lead by the creative team and that the meeting is conducted directly with the client and other key members of the team. In addition to this, we’re identifying patterns in what is visually appealing to the client and assessing whether that solution best markets and brands the organization.
2. Plan and Research (1 to 2 weeks)
Following an investigative brief, we conduct our own internal research to better understand the organization, industry, market conditions, audience and competition in that industry. This is important to set the stage for creating the right visual solution, which includes everything from colours, typography, visual elements, composition and balance of the new identity.
3. Concepts (2 weeks)
After obtaining a thorough understanding of the client, project needs and specifications, it then opens up to the rest of the creative team for brainstorming and understanding. This begins with establishing conceptual props, sketches and inspirational tools. The creative team can evaluate the creative directions and narrow down to the most refined and appropriate ideas. The next step is to formal those ideas into computer renderings which are presented to the client.
4. Client Review, Selection and Feedback (varied)
Now that the concepts have been developed, the next step is to unveil and present them to the client. It’s an exciting meeting and one that we don’t ask clients to rush in making a decision as to which concept direction they prefer. Initial first reactions are important, but we also want our clients to have ample time to reflect, review and decide which direction best aligns with the organizational goals for the future. Furthermore, the client may need additional buy-in or support from other key stakeholders in the organization.
5. Changes & Revisions (1 to 3 weeks)
Following the concept phase, we then work with our clients to initiate changes back and forth until a client is completely satisfied with the final product or deliverable.
6. Production (1 to 2 weeks)
Following final approvals, the creative team assembles the logo assets including the logo version, formats, and branding guidelines to be provided to the client for long term use. A typical set of standards might include colours, fonts and logo usage guidelines—size, placement, context, etc.—all to ensure the success and consistency of the logo.
7. Brand Roll-off Collateral
Established at the beginning, and re-addressed along the way, it’s very important that a client consider all of the roll-off applications where the new logo and identity will need to appear. Consider things such as stationery, website design, print collateral, social media, signage, business forms and more. Your new logo is only as good as the way in which is it carried through your organization. It makes the difference between just having a simple logo image…and developing a full brand for your organization. Once a logo has been finalized, it’s now time to start discussing and building the roll-off materials to carry through the new identity.
8. Post Follow-up (Ongoing)
Implementing a new logo company wide can be overwhelming. A good designer is always on hand to provide support and recommendation, or provide additional creative development in order for the logo to be integrated consistently. It’s far too easy for a client to destroy the visual integrity of a logo or brand.
In conclusion, developing a new logo is a careful and methodical process. A good designer exhausts themselves in tweaking, refining and further refining a logo until they and the client are completely satisfied with the final solution. A logo many times can be the first impression of an organization, so is it done right? Does it attract or turn away business?