So much rides on a logo – it embodies the vision and drive behind a company. It speaks volumes as to who the company is and what they stand for. A company’s logo should be a consistent force behind it’s brand.

Now, I’ll be honest – as a web designer, creating logos never came as easily to me as creating web sites. Although designing logos in particular is not my strong suit, I do however, know what it’s like to have a love for the type of design that you do.

Regardless of whether you design logos, web sites, print pieces, etc. a common thread is that you are envisioning a look and feel for a company, and bringing that design to fruition. Better yet, as a professional designer, being able to create a career out of something that you have a passion for is truly a wonderful thing.

While logos are not my strong suit, fortunately there are MANY talented people who practically live and breath logos. I have nothing but respect for this particular breed of designer who specializes almost entirely on creating miniature pieces of identity for companies all over the world.

I myself find it inspiring to see the thought process behind other designers – to find out what they feel is most important for their particular type of design. Even better is to find out what inspires them to be as creative as they can be.

I’ve asked thirteen designers to share with us a bit about their process of designing logos – why the love it so much, which elements are most important, and where they draw their inspiration from…

The interviews that follow serve as a great place for other logo designers to come back for finding their own inspiration. And if you aren’t a designer, but are in the market for someone to create an identity for your company – here is a great pool of talented designers to choose from!

Find part 2 of this series here.

Always Creative Logo

Always Creative Logo

Always Creative

Name: Roby Fitzhenry
Company: Always Creative
Twitter: @robyfitzhenry

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love the strength a 1″x1″ piece of art can have. A good logo or identity not only embodies the company or organization and its brand, but it also stands the test of time. I decided to specialize in logo design because I love evaluating a company, its market and the current state of its brand. I can then utilize this research to create a look that is simple, straightforward and honest.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

It has to work in black and white and degrade flawlessly. I know the use of a facsimile isn’t what it used to be, but there is still something so important about this to me. I also like logos that tell a story or have a story to them. I may not automatically know what it means, but if there is something to learn about the mark that is revealed, it adds a significant amount of substance. It makes it more human. I’ve also recently become extremely interested in flexible logos that can change as they are used. Some even refer to this as an “anti-brand,” a logo design that doesn’t follow traditional standards and basically keeps your attention. That seems to be the direction in which more youthful, bold companies are moving.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Nothing inspires me more than having a face-to-face meeting with the stakeholders. Once I have the project locked down and all parties are ready to move, I take a two-week period in which I let the identity simmer in my subconscious. Sometimes, the idea hits you immediately. Other times, you have to let it break out of its shell and show itself. What inspires me most is an established set of parameters, or project restrictions, paired with complete creative freedom within those boundaries. It also really helps the quality of the end product if I know the client trusts me. That is always very, very exciting. Other inspirations that help me generate ideas include brainstorming sessions with my creative friends (especially Eric Downs and Chris Pitre), reading a good design book or magazine and a tasty brew.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

I think the best logo I’ve ever design for a client would be the Fibertown logo, which will be published in LogoLounge Vol. 5. This is a huge honor for me because I’m only 25 and having my work published has been a dream since day one. This logo is also successful because the client already had a great wordmark, which you can see in the design. I wanted to build on their story and help differentiate them from their competitors. This simple sketch was loved by the client and was approved almost instantaneously. The funny thing is that they didn’t even request it. An idea just hit me. I sketched it out, made some refinements, and then pitched it to the client. Some call that spec work. In this situation, I’d call it a successful experiment that employed my creativity and served the client’s brand.

Audacia Logo

Audacia Communication Logo

Audacia Comunicación

Name: Claudia Medellín
Company: Audacia Comunicación
Twitter: @klaudia_medeyin

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

I love design – specifically logo design because it is extremely important for an enterprise. It is the visual extract of all that the enterprise/organization/product/service/place/whatever is.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

It has to be original, simple to understand and remember, and it has to show the personality of what it represents.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

The personality of what is going to be represented by the logo. So, we have to define the brand before we create the logo. We need to use words to define the personality, images (we can cut some pictures from magazines), types, colors.

Something that I like to do is to project how the organization is going to be in 5 years. If you know how and where you want to be in 5 years, you will easily achieve your goals if you get the look. And the logo is a basic for the image.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Musikines is one of my first clients. Musikines is an early stimulation method with music for kids, created by Pablo Mondragón. The name is the conjunction of the word “music” and “kinestecia” (from the latin word: corporal movement).

We needed a logo that expressed movement, childhood, and music. The type is a kidish style that has movement. The letter “k” was transformed into a kid with extended arms, like they are waking up and happy, full of energy. The kid is the center of attention. The last letter “s” was transformed into a guitar, the main instrument to make the music for the classes. The usage of the colors is fresh and energetic.

DepthSkins Logo

Depth Skins Client Logo

Depthskins Design Studio

Name: Damian Madray
Company: Depthskins Design Studio
Twitter: @depthskins

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

As a team, Srdjan Kirtic (Brand Designer) and I (Creative Director) love the same things about logo design. We love the process and the challenge it brings and are always excited to see what we learn on the way. It may seem straightforward to most, but with any good process there’s a lot of research – whether it be the industry, the company it’s for or its competitors. There’s also brainstorming through hundreds of sketches and looking for inspiration in everything relevant you come across. On one project I remember Srdjan saying, “Dude, I dreamed about this logo last night.” This in a way showed how dedicated he was to the project. The beautiful thing about logo design is the long, convoluted process we go through which often brings us to something that’s simplistic in every way.

As the creative director, I don’t specialize in logo design, in fact, it’s not my specialty. But certain innate qualities of mine help steer the logo in a direction that I think is right and pleasing to the client. I also really love the process. With Srdjan, he didn’t choose this field, it chose him and is the most amazing thing in his life.

The key aspect about our team is that we have someone who does everything logo and another who works across the spectrum of design. This dynamic trait allows us to bring different perspectives to the project. Working as a team makes us justify our design choices because design is not about making things pretty but rather communicative forms. This is especially true in logo design.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

Simplicity. It’s not a design element per se but it should be treated as one in this media of design, simply because the best logos are often simple and smart. For instance, the other day Brightkite’s logo stood out to me as I used the iPhone app. I admired where the designer used the ‘i’ in kite to be the tail of the kite. While on the flip side, the kite was the dot in the ‘i’. Simple, smart and effective. So it doesn’t matter what element you use to achieve that in a logo, as long those characteristics are there.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Inspiration comes in many forms and places for both of us and depends on the project. For Srdjan, he uses many online galleries such as deviantART, logolounge, faveup, logopond, etc. From time to time I often have to provide Srdjan with a flow of inspiration so I choose to browse books specifically dedicated to logos, such as Tres Logos.

Those are the obvious places to look for inspiration but depending on the client and industry we would look for inspiration there. For instance, if we’re creating a logo for a zoo, the best place of inspiration is the zoo. Another example is a project we worked on that was related to science and DNA. Afterward we found ourselves carefully looking at images of the DNA strand to see how we could be inspired.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Ecoelectrons helps its customers reduce their carbon footprints by supplying Renewable Energy Credits. This logo took inspiration from atoms, the basis of the universe of which all objects are made. Since Ecoelectrons model is about saving the Earth, the basis of life, we tried to bring relation between the two to show that modern life can exist without the Earth perishing. As a result we took the common illustration of protons, neutrons and electrons around the nucleus and integrated into the logo. Instead of the 3 parts of the atom, we replaced it with leaves, elements from Earth (Mother Nature) while the ‘e’ in ‘eco’ took the part of the necleus.

DivVoted

DivVoted Logo Client

DivVoted

Name: Wez Maynard
Company: DivVoted
Twitter: @wezmaynard

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

Logo design, for me, has always been about the relationship between myself and the client. Branding was a huge part of my design education and i found the opportunity to translate what a client requires into a brand identity was a very rewarding process. I knew fairly young that I was going to work within the design/illustration arena – and gained a lot of weekend work at a young age because of it.

I wouldn’t say logo design was my specialty as i enjoy illustration and web design equally as much – and I’ve found these three core strengths have helped me gain clients I would have otherwise maybe missed out on. The rewarding thing for me is each logo brief is a challenge, that once undertaken can allow you to experiment in ways that other mediums wouldn’t necessarily allow.

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

My favorite logo’s have always been ones that are less about the appearance – but more about the idea behind it. Great artworkers are pretty easy to find, its the people who have that spark of wit, or imagination that are as rare as the proverbial rocking horse faeces.

A great example of what i mean can be found in a re-work of the IBM logo (eye bee m), brilliantly devised and created by Paul Rand for an in house IBM event.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I have now and I guess always will be inspired by found type and imagery. I keep a moleskin with me all the time, if I’m out and see, for instance, a dilapidated old shop with old posters all over it – and a few of the posters are merging into each other creating new layout/imagery, I’ll take a snap and do a little sketch. The picture for posterity and a sketch of exactly whats going through my head at the time. This, was my Sunday afternoon!

I’m also hugely inspired by other designers – logo and other mediums. The best inspiration comes from individuals who really push the boundaries and are afforded the freedom to push their creativity. It can be hard to be as expressive as you’d like in every design, but there’s always someone else who has just launched a fantastic new website, or released a tutorial on how they created their latest logo masterpiece. I salute you!

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

Its hard to push my ‘best’ design – I mean to each client they were special to them, and indeed for me – for the most part. But I guess one of the first logo’s I did that was printed was very special.

I was 19 and a boss of mine was leaving our work place and setting up his own company. He asked me, on a freelance basis, to create the brand and stationary for his new company, Blueprint Watersports. The brief was simple, it had to be memorable, relevant and only use 2 colors because of budget and usage issues.

The client had an image of a couple walking along a beach, and behind them from their resort – a flag with the Blueprint Watersports logo would be flying. I guess he saw this as a potential press advert in the future. But it was through this story I put the pieces of the logo together. The foot symbolizing walking in the sand and memories. With the swirl giving the logo the watersports element of the design.

I know its not the most refined logo that has ever been – but it was probably the first time an idea formed in my head without any research or sketching.

Glitschka Logo

Glitschka Client

Glitschka Studios

Name: Von Glitschka
Company: Glitschka Studios
Twitter: @vonster

1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?

For me logo design is like solving a design crime. There is the initial encounter with the old logo/branding (Crime Scene) and the various suspects involved. I have to do a proper, upfront investigation to get all the evidence in order to solve the case successfully. Working through ideas is like going through evidence and doing research until you stumble upon that key piece of evidence (Unique Idea) that breaks the case wide open and spawns an “ah ha” moment.

I never set out to be a logo designer – I just set out to do creative work and it turned out to be the specific genre of work I enjoyed most, and which demands the use of my two creative loves “Design” and “Illustration.”

2. What elements do you consider essential to any good logo?

The ultimate measure is it’s effectiveness in context of the overall brand. This is why even bad logos can work at times. (Google) Then again I’ve seen well crafted logos in context of a bad brand experience and it’s failed too. In and of itself I feel a great mark will contain at least 2 of these 3 key attributes:

  • Concept – Whether overt or subtle, literal or metaphoric, clever or humorous, possessing this on some level is the acid test of a skillful creative mind.
  • Style – Appropriate for the client/project purpose and target audience. This applies to both form and color.
  • Clarity – Of course this attribute is only achieved with the other two are done correctly.

So a logo with a solid concept and style will possess clarity and be more then a good mark, it’ll be a great mark. Easier said then done.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

I take in all the variables I glean from a client and my process and let them slowly boil in my mind. Once the ideas start to form is when I begin to sketch. Sometimes inspiration comes from seemingly mundane sources, others times it’s something I see, hear or even smell. So I guess in the most general of terms it’s living a “Creatively Curious Life” that inspires me the most.

4. Please share what you consider to be the “best” logo you ever designed for a client and a few words about how you came up with this particular design.

In all honesty I can’t really say I have a favorite. I tend to enjoy the current work I’m doing and as time progresses I get sick of my own past work pretty fast. So with that in mind I’ll share a current job for Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, where I’m happy with the results.

Share Your Logo Love!

Let’s keep this group interview going by passing it over to YOU!

Are you a designer? Do you specialize in creating logos? If so, we’d love to hear from you…

  1. What do you love about logo design? Why did you decide to specialize in it?
  2. What elements to you consider essential to any good logo?
  3. Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a logo? What inspires you most?

Of course, it goes without saying that I’d like to say a big Thank You to all of the designers who participated in this interview! Your responses are incredibly informative, and the logos that you’ve shared are inspirational in and of themselves!

Find part two here.


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