The Professional Logo Design Process Explained in GIFs

Want to know how a graphic designer and online marketing agency create their professional logo designs?

Here at Orpical we’ve done the logo design dance only a bagillion times. So, we’ve gone through all of the motions. That’s why we collected our emotions in action through a series of GIFs to showcase exactly how the best logo designers create a rock-solid brand building block.

1. Client discovery

It might shock you, but we’re a little creepy. By the way, any online marketing agency or graphic designer that tells you they aren’t creepy is either lying, or not doing their job right.

A professional custom logo is a reflection of a business’s values and culture. That’s why we launch every logo design project with some intense, deep-diving discussions with the man or woman behind the plan. Our goal is acquire as much information as possible about you, why you do what you do, and discover what makes you different.

We need to know how you think and sometimes that requires us to ask those awkward first date questions. Beyond hearing it from you, we’ll also take our research team to the streets (The Internet) and learn about your industry, your competition, and more.

Our motto is: If it doesn’t make you squirm then we can’t learn. Just kidding, client discovery is all relatively painless.

2. Set benchmark

After we’ve successfully stalked you—errr, we mean “discovered” you—we will collect a variety of resources and design elements that we think you will “Like.” Often, we set up a dedicated Pinterest board or online sharing area for your logo design inspiration. This enables us to have a visual point of reference on what to use and what to stay away from during our initial designs.

We will work with you to establish what colors, fonts, layouts, and styles you like best, and share what we feel is appropriate up front. Almost 9 times out of 10 this enables us to get very close to what you’re looking for on our first presentation. Once there are thumbs up across the board, we will start sketching and drafting our initial designs.

3. Sketch / Draft Designs

We sketch. A LOT. Before even opening up Adobe Illustrator, we play around with dozens of ideas on paper because it helps weed out the good from the bad. Plus, it makes us feel more artsy, and we have to maintain our rep as Today’s Monet.

The best logo designers come from the school of doodling during school. So, while sketching might seem like a waste of time, it really is essential in opening up the creative corners of the graphic designer’s mind.

Once we have 4-5 concepts we believe will help you truly stand out in your market, we can move into Adobe Illustrator, a vector based application, to bring our conceptualizations to life.

4. Share Initial Designs

Just because we are nerds and we have done the logo design dance a bagillion times doesn’t mean that we aren’t human. We are artists, remember? When we send our designs to you for the first time, we schedule a follow up to review our initial concepts with you. Then, we wait.


Very anxiously.

5. Collect Feedback

There are usually four outcomes on the initial call when we review our logos.

  1. We nailed one concept, but just need to make a few refinements.
  2. You like bits and pieces from each concept and want to mix and match.
  3. You love them all and have no idea how to choose.
  4. We missed the mark.

For outcomes #1 and #2, we can wrap up our call or meeting in typically 30-minutes or less and move on to the next stage: Refinement.

Outcome #3 tends to result in the client asking us: “Which concept do you like best?” And while we certainly have our favorites, we choose to put our biases aside. Whether you choose to work with us or someone else, just remember this: The designer’s opinion doesn’t really matter. In fact, your opinion only matters 5-10%. The only opinions that really matter come from your target market.

If you have a hard time choosing, we defer to your market. We will set up social focus groups and ask our participants about their perceptions and opinions to help you make a more sound decision to move forward.

Outcome #4 rarely happens, but we would be misinforming you if we did not include it. Again, we are humans, the one species that cuts trees, creates paper, and writes ‘Save Trees’ on that very same paper. Even careful preparation, years of experience, and advanced resources cannot always combat the unexpected, mysterious variables characterized by the descendants of Fred Flinstone.

It might be best to use an example to illustrate how we would handle Outcome #4: About a year ago, our graphic design team in New Jersey worked with a local start up who had a very specific “vision” for their logo design. They had bookmarked fonts, icons, shapes—you name it, they had it covered. We completed steps 1-3 as outlined above and presented our work. Unfortunately, the client did not love any of the initial logo concepts.

Here’s the quote of the century from the owner that sums up logo design better than any quote we’ve seen to date:

Guys, these logos are great. You did everything that we asked for, but it’s just not what we are looking for.

In addition to collecting as much feedback as possible prior to moving into refinement, we informed our client that we would assemble a second design team to work on additional concepts. The thing about design is it is ALL subjective. Think about those trendy Paint Nite sessions: A group of people gather around and all paint the same picture. At the end of the night, often after a few cocktails, everyone holds up their interpretation. What do you see? Different brush strokes, hues and saturations, and more. Every painting is the same, yet completely unique.

The same Paine Nite principle applied to logo design works wonderfully, especially when the first set misses the mark. On occasion, all it takes is a second pair of eyes to get a logo design right.

6. Refinement

The moral of the above story is that you want to make sure you work with a designer or marketing agency that is flexible. Fixed bid contracts without revisions and unlimited concepts rarely work.

You are not going to bowl a strike on every frame. With that being said, an edit-friendly agreement and strong communication will almost certainly result in “picking up the spare” or “cleaning things up.”

Logo generators, stock logos, and those $49 logos outsourced overseas either do not give you the opportunity to make changes, or they make the process of implementing your changes cumbersome and frustrating. A good professional logo designer will give you a custom bowling ball (one where your fingers actually fit in the holes), and they will let you throw the ball as many times as you need. Hell, they will even throw bumpers on the lane if it is needed.

6. Deliver Final Files

In this case, the logo designer is Mufasa. Simba represents ALL of your final logo files, including the Adobe Illustrator source file and scaleable vector formats. If someone says you only need a JPEG or PNG, run. Fast.

This stage usually marks a triumphant day and consequentially results in the entire village celebrating and bursting into song and dance. Celebrate—good—times—come on!