UPDATE 24.10.2017 – My design process has changed since writing this blog post. To read about the current brand & website design process, head over to this page
“The goal of two steps above (Get in Touch & Questionnaire) is to help me define your problem, get to know you and find out what I’ll be designing for you. Next week I’ll share more about my next step in my creative process, for custom logo designs”. Read the first part here
Today, I’ll share more about my third step in my creative process which is “Research”. In this step, I summarize all the information you’ve provided me with during “Get in touch” and “Questionnaire”. I sometimes call the third step “Brainstorming”.
Research step sets apart professional designers from beginners. Also, when you DIY your logo, you’re probably missing this part too. Coming up with the ideas of logos (my next step) is fairly easy when research step is done properly.
Without research, you can spend days, weeks or even months perfecting your design and overthinking it. To be honest, when you’re just starting out (as a designer or trying to save money and do DIY design), skipping brainstorm phase is a very common mistake. When you have all the information you want, what you need, you can easily get caught up in designing phase, without thinking why and what you’ll do.
And you know what? I used to miss that step too. I got so excited about designing, thought that I have everything figured out! But guess what? I’ve failed maaaaany times, but I’ve learned from my own mistakes, that without research, you’ll eventually feel lost and confused.
STEP 3 – RESEARCH
As I said above, research process starts with gathering all information in one place, so I create a folder with questionnaire answers, notes and images. I start with going to client’s website and social media (if they have them) to better understand or find out what their business is all about.
Also, I view the websites and social media accounts of others in their field (competitors), to see their logos and brand, what they are offering, how they are different from my client, what colour and images they’re using and an overall tone of their brand. This step can take hours, but without that, I can’t move towards gathering visual inspirations.
Create a moodboard (inspiration board):
I use images from the client, but also researching new ones on my own. How does it work? I go to Pinterest, then search for keywords that client used in a questionnaire, for example, Laura, from Winning Moments used words like “winning”, “happy”, “inspire”, so I used them and search for relevant photos. Then I select the most suitable images and pull together an inspiration board (moodboard). This is my guidance during a design phase, it helps me make design decisions and develop the entire brand.
Moodboards help me with setting the overall tone and style of a brand, so I look for similar elements, colour tones and general “vibes” of each picture. I pull colours from the images, the client and moodboard to create their colour palette. Of course, some of the colours might look good as seen in a moodboard or significant part of a picture, but it’s possible that they won’t look as good in a logo (especially Wordmarks). Basically, it’s an experimental phase – with colours, tone and style.
Side note: Not everyone has to have an colourful logo! Some of my clients have black & white logos, but they use colour palette from me in other branding element and on website.
After moodboard creation is time to gather visual inspiration and text information (from consultation and questionnaire) in one place and think about actual logo concepts!
I’ve shared my first two steps now it’s your turn. What steps could you have in your own work?