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9 Steps to Brainstorming a Breathtaking Logo Design

Posted by on in Branding

Are you less artistic than an arid accountant? Perhaps you are an accountant. Either way, you just can't seem to come up with any solid logo design concepts.  I'm going to help you brainstorm a logo design that stands out more than Lady Gaga in her meat suit.

Brainstorming is probably the most challenging phase in the logo design process.  Even designers struggle for inspiration at times and if we struggle, I can only imagine the difficulty you might face when trying to design your own logo.  To help you out a bit, I'm going to run you through 9 of the same steps we use to brainstorm great logo designs for our clients. 

Make sure you can allocate a lot of time to this process - great inspiration doesn't usually come quickly. I would advise setting aside a weekend where you can devote the time and effort necessary to brainstorming your own phenomenal logo design. 

Without further ado, the 9 fail-proof steps to brainstorming a breathtaking logo design:

1.  Identify Your Target Market 

If you try to design a logo that everybody likes, you're going to end up with a logo that nobody likes.

This is probably the most important consideration when brainstorming a solid logo design concept. Your logo needs to appeal to your target market. It cannot appeal to everybody. 

Think of your ideal customer. What does he/she like? What appeals to him? Where does he go? Where does he work? What would make him take notice of your logo? Once you understand your ideal customer, you can continue brainstorming with him in mind. 

2.  SWOT Analysis 

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. This is a simple tool to analyze any business at a glance.  Consider each of the aforementioned aspects of your business and bear them in mind when designing your logo. 

Ideally you want your logo to highlight your strengths, conceal your weaknesses, advance your opportunities and respond to the threats to your business. 

3.  Adjectives, Adjectives, Adjectives! 

Another crucial step in determining the direction of your logo design. Spend 15-20 minutes listing descriptive words that you think represent your business, or you would like your business to reflect. Some examples are: Clean, Classy, Smart, Quirky, Mainstream, Exciting, Vibrant 

You need to create your logo so that it reflects those adjectives. If you have a long list, select 3-5 of the most important words and run with that. 

4.  Know your Competition/Industry 

Whenever we look for inspiration, we always take a peek at competitors' logos and logos
within our industry, perhaps from other parts in the world. 

After spying on your competition, what do you like about their logos? What do you dislike? You can incorporate ideas that you have picked up on, and avoid the pitfalls of the logos which you have seen. 

You now have a benchmark, so make yours better! 

5.  Adaptations of your Business Name 

One of the primary techniques when creating logos is to create a unique symbol which reflects your business name or initials thereof. This way, you end up with something unique and it is representative of your business. 

I must add, however, that this is more difficult than it seems. It requires you creating unique shapes/adaptations of letters which definitely needs some creative influence. 

Some examples of logo design in this category are: 

Logo Design - Adaptations of Business Names

6. Unique Symbols

A prime example of this type of logo design is the Apple Logo.

Apple Logo Design

Another technique in logo design, and probably the best technique, is to create a unique symbol to represent your business. This symbol would stem from your descriptive words as well as your business location, purpose, services etc.

This is probably the most difficult  type of logo to create, but if you get it right, it's a winner! The symbol should be simple enough to make it recognisable and [intlink id="34" type="post"]memorable [/intlink]with your target market.

7.  Hidden Symbolism

Logos with hidden symbolism are difficult to conceptualize yet hugely rewarding. Logos in this category provoke a great response from viewers who have just "clicked" on the hidden meaning of the logo!

Hidden symbolism usually involves playing around with the typography/letters in your business name. Some examples are: 

Logo Design with Hidden Symbolism

The easily recognisable FedEx logo sports a "hidden" arrow symbolising their core business (exports).  Had you picked up on this before? 

The Amazon logo, in all it's simplicity, is one of my favourites. The yellow "smile" which symbolizes a satisfied customer doubles up as an arrow from the "A" to the "Z" in the word Amazon, representing their supply of products from A to Z!   Clever, yes? 

8.  Using a Unique Character 

Logo Design Using Characters

Examples of logos in this category are KFC's Colonel and our very own Red Giant! 

The last option is to create a character to represent your brand and business. This character should be representative of the descriptive words you created and should appeal to your ideal customer. You want to make sure the character is also easily recognisable and unique! 

9.  General Colour Scheme 

The last thing to consider when brainstorming a logo is the general colour scheme of your logo. I suggest no more than 3 main colours (though there are exceptions). In case you didn't know, different colours tend have different effects on the subconscious of the viewer. For a breakdown of the various colour meanings, have a look at this article.

"The colour scheme is probably not AS important as the rest of the considerations above. A logo needs to work in black and white first and foremost, so colour only really gets added in after a black and white logo is finalised."

If You're Really Stuck 

If you are still stuck and can't seem to come up with any ideas, certain techniques can be used to help begin the brainstorming process.

  • Who, What, Where, Why, How
  • Thinking of the senses which you want to appeal to (touch, smell, sight, etc)
  • Try creating spider diagrams using pictures instead of words

Rough Sketching 

All this brainstorming is not for nothing. As soon as an idea pops into your head, put it down on paper! Make sure to sketch all your ideas and variations of the ideas. You might think of improvements to them at a later stage.

Take a break! 

After brainstorming ideas and perhaps coming up with a few solid concepts, always give yourself a day or two break away from the designs and then go back and reassess. A chance for your mind to settle on the ideas and a fresh perspective on things will lead to either a positive reinforcement of the ideas you have already come up with, or a new idea you hadn't already thought of.

Have you tried your hand at designing your own logo?  Let us know how you went in the comments.  If you're confused or need a bit of assistance, drop a comment below or email me - I'd be happy to help! 

If you'd rather have a professional design your logo, please contact us for a free quotation!


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Mark is a co-founder of Red Giant Design Studio whose passion lies in business and entrepreneurship - more specifically the branding and marketing thereof. Mark enjoys helping other small business owners grow and market their businesses.

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