Source: http://www.10e20.com/blog/2006/11/11/the-logo-design-process-from-concept-to-completion/

Creating a logo for a business or company is a critical aspect of communicating a first impression to the right audience. The design must convey the correct feel of the company and should be direct and immediate, by translating and simplifying the essence of the business into the simplest of terms. If a logo concept seems weak or cheap, people may have that same association with the company.

How Do I Create a Strong Logo Design?

There are many schools of thinking in the approach to logo creation. This is the process that I currently use — other designers may do something very different and they may be just as effective.
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You will first have to know the business that you are designing for and the audience that they want to attract. Research, research, research!

I like to stay away from visual cliches. For instance, a musical note as an icon for a piano store is a bit too obvious to me, but sometimes this cannot be avoided (or is the best solution altogether) and needs to be accepted and dealt with creatively.

McDonald’s logo could have went with a juicy burger next to the name, but instead they took the first initial “M” and created an icon that was both simple and visually pleasing to look at as an asymmetrical element. Burger King, conversely, took the other route and put their number one product right into the logo, a stylized hamburger. The design is sharp and immediate. Without any gradients, it utilizes the boldness and contrast of flat colors to stand out and be noticed in a professional yet fun way.

mcdonalds burger king logos

When the concept is fleshed out with a few questions and a lot of research, I then like to createpencil sketches that allow me to work quickly and get a bit more spontaneous, but this is not necessary. The sketches below were for gurlsnextdoor.com.

sketch

Then I take the sketch to the design program for the next phase. The simplicity of the K.I.S.S. Principle is my requirement for initially creating a logo in a vector-based illustration program, allowing for digital flexibility and easy translation to all applications a client may require. I useAdobe Illustrator for most of the logo’s creation at this phase.

I like to work first in black and white to assure that the logo will look good in its simplest form.Color is very subjective and emotional- this can distract from the overall design. If you saw your logo in all red, that color may be the first thing that you respond to and not the composition of the design elements. I will not even consider submitting color suggestions to a client for review until they have signed off on a final black and white logo.

Here are some black and white preliminary designs that were created for elifelist.com, a community website for reaching life goals.

elifelist bw

The next phase would be the coloring of the logo. After the concept is nailed down and the composition and design is finalized, we can now get emotional and subjective. This can be very straightforward in most cases because the company may have a color that they associate with or the industry that they are in may predict or influence the color selection. The image below is the final coloring of elifelist’s logo.

elifelist final

The image below is a great idea of how trends are created or what colors are hot now. All of the logos are recent start-ups and most of the coloring is blue, green and orange.

logo color for recent start ups

Creating an effective logo is always a challenge that I like to take on with new and interesting clients. When the forms start to emerge from the screen and it all comes together as a unique mark, it can be very rewarding to then present to a client.