Logos are the visual cornerstone of a brand—they are the brand’s first impression and they also function as the physical manifestation of a company. Given how crucial a logo is for your brand, we decided to learn more about the creation process from a designer who has firsthand experience with fresh produce logos: DMA’s creative director, Clifton Thomas. This Q&A with Cliff will offer valuable insights into the creative process, providing you with useful context and knowledge for your next logo redesign.
When beginning a new logo project, how do you get started?
A strong logo will only come from thorough research and understanding. I start by spending time interviewing the client and learning as much as I can about them. I’ll begin by asking what it is that they dislike about their current logo. Then, I’ll question what general mood and tone they want to see in their new logo—do you they want something high-end or something more fun? I’ll ask for them to describe themselves by providing me with a list of adjectives they identify with. I’ll also learn about the history of the company so that I can get more inspiration about who they are and what it is that they do. Ultimately, I want to know what the company aspires to be known for. It’s important for the client to have a strong sense of who they are and what they represent before going into designing a new logo.
Where do you find inspiration?
For me personally, I typically just like to hit the sketch books right off the bat because I want to be as original as possible. I like to get my ideas on to paper as fast as I can and mull over them before getting on the computer and designing. If I happen to hit a road block mentally, only then will I actually resort to browsing through Pinterest, Adobe websites, or even the library just to help spark different ideas. I generally like to stay away from looking at other logos in order to keep my ideas unique.
How do you spot a good logo?
A well-designed logo is one that can be reproduced anywhere –whether it be a t-shirt, a hat, a billboard, or a tiny business card. It’s a challenge to get a logo to work on any application. It has to be somewhat square-ish or rectangular in size and can’t be too skinny or too wide. A good logo also has its wordmark and iconography well-integrated—the text and illustrative elements work together rather than feeling like two separate, disjointed pieces.
How can a client best participate throughout this process?
I find that I thrive and do my best work when I am able to exercise my creativity and skills as a creative designer. The entire process is more seamless when a client gives me the space and trust to use my skills. Also, I am able to yield the best results when a client is honest and communicative about their expectations from the beginning and when everyone on their team is on the same page. Everyone must be in agreement about whether we are executing just a logo refresh or an entire redo from scratch. I find that the most successful projects happen when a client is mentally prepared for the evolution of their logo—which can be a challenge because many people are attached to their existing logos.
What are the greatest barriers to creating a successful logo?
Being given too many constraints from the very beginning, such as specific font choices or too many specific colors. Projects also become difficult when there is not sufficient time or budget involved. Creating something unique, thoughtful, and powerful takes time and care. We need time to produce several options for a client to choose from rather than nailing it on one try. Lastly but most importantly, projects go much more smoothly when there is a single owner or decision maker on the client side. It becomes very difficult to please a large group of decision makers because people are always going to have differing opinions. While of course it’s always good to get input from several people and stakeholders, it’s best to dedicate one person to make final choices regarding the logo.
What are some logo don’ts?
Don’t get ultra-trendy fonts from a free font website—it won’t look good after a few years. I prefer to purchase fonts from Adobe or create our own. When it comes to something as important to your company’s appearance and branding as a logo, it’s not time to try cutting corners or costs.
How often should a company consider refreshing their logo?
A high-quality logo should last you a good 10 -15 years, after that it will start to look dated. That being said, if you begin to feel like your logo isn’t serving your brand any longer, odds are you are not the only one who feels that way and you may want to consider refreshing it. A logo is the first impression of your company, so you want to be aware if it’s starting to look dated and think of the impression it gives your audience.
Are you wanting to give your brand a refreshed look with an updated or new logo? Contact us to learn more!