The Many, Many Steps of Creating a Logo

July 03rd, 2017

Becca Hand

Creative Director

RBG Logo


Designing a logo is one of my favorite things to do at work. It's something that looks easy, but actually requires a lot of time and know-how. A logo must communicate many things in a small space and with very few parts. That is a challenge that if done right, can really give a company the face it needs to reach any goal. There is a lot that goes into this process that you might not realize so here is a behind the scenes look into mine. 

Step 1: Research

When I start designing a logo, I do a lot of research because I always have a lot of questions to answer. What about a font specifically communicates if a firm is trustworthy or professional even if you can't read the words? What visual language does the accounting industry use that makes it different from say the restaurant industry? When you look at their competitor's logos, who would you choose to work with and why? What makes a mark trendy vs timeless? How can I communicate in this visual language while still giving a company something that is uniquely theirs?

I save a million examples in a folder and then I start sketching as far away from my computer as my office allows.

Step 2: Sketching and Lots of It

For Reynolds Bone Griesbeck, I knew I wanted to give them a typographic icon that included the letters "rbg" rather than an illustrative mark. This is a good strategy for clients with really long names. That way they can scale their logo small without losing legibility. 

I knew they are a firm with a lot of history and experience, but that they also wanted to attract a young, talented generation of new accountants. So I experimented with added serifs and interlocking options that would make their logo feel sophisticated but not stuffy. Here are the top 7 options I liked best. At this point, our office reviewed internally and we agreed (mostly) on 2 sketches to develop.  


Step 3: Developing a Couple Directions

Once I've narrowed down to a starting point, I like to think about the details of a mark and consider lots of options before bringing a logo into the computer. 

Direction 1: A lowercase option with a lot of contrast in thicks and thins. I tried several serif options here.

Direction 2: A bold, uppercase option based on a traditional serif font.

Step 4: Bringing it to the Computer

Once I picked my favorites, I brought them in Adobe Illustrator and started to recreate my sketches with geometric shapes and curves. I played around a lot with how bold and angular I wanted the logos to be.

Step 5: Choosing a Color

I liked the idea of a gold and blue color palette. For the logo, I went through options in our Pantone book and selected a color value based on a print swatch I thought worked well. Though people are printing less and less these days, I still start with a Pantone swatch to get an idea of how the logo will print, then I adjust the color value for the screen if need be. 


Step 6: Presenting to the Client

Here are the two options we landed on. We use to present logos to our clients in black and white so the color wasn't the thing they were reacting to, but recently we've been including a few mockups with each option so they can get an idea of what the finished product will look like. This seems to work a lot a better, though we always let people know that color is something we can adjust easily if they prefer something else. 



Step 7: Client Revisions

The client preferred option 1, but had concerns over the legibility of the "g" and asked us to show them more options that might resolve this potential issue. 


Step 8: Creating a Happy Logo Family

They went with the full loop "g" and our icon was approved, so I created options for them that they could use in different instances. It's not uncommon for companies to have a family of logos because the places where logos are used are so varied. Sometimes a wide, short option is needed, while other times the logo is printed on a vertical banner. The world is a crazy place. It's best to be prepared. 


Step 9: Making it Real

After I finish designing and get everything exactly perfect, I save out logo files for our clients and a brand guide so they know how to use their logo properly. Then I can start creating their stationery, collateral, promotional items, website, etc. 



It's always exciting to see a logo come to life (well, for me anyways). A lot of work, worry, research, and hours go into something that is usually very small. However, a good logo and brand can really help a company come to life, so it's time well spent.