Follow Your Gut

Zooey Deschanel Quote Follow Your Gut “Somebody asked me, “How did you start doing comedy?” and I was like, “By being unintentionally funny.” I think making a movie or a record, the best things happen by accident—and those end up being the magic. Every time I’ve followed my gut it’s been better than when I’ve tried to do what I was supposed to do.” - Zooey Deschanel

Happy Monday!
 

Indie Biz: How To Design A Logo

How to Design a Logo
This post really should be called "How to Design a Logo Then How NOT To Design a Logo Then How to Fix Your Major Mistake and Make Your Client Super Happy". And this more truthful title may alert you to the fact that during the graphic design process, sometimes shizz happens that takes some supreme craftiness to resolve.

Guys, welcome to real-life graphic design.

But don't worry, this post has a happy ending! Here's a detailed look at the process of designing a logo from start to finish. All goes smoothly, until step 5...

Step 1:  Establish your client's needs, and develop a few design concepts. My client, Annette Papa,  is a personal trainer who recently started her own business working with women to create strong, confident bodies. Her business is all about empowering women, and I wanted to reflect that strength in her logo, while still having it feel feminine. After roughly sketching a few ideas on good 'ol paper, here are the four initial concepts I whipped up and sent out for review:
How to Design a Logo, Step 1 
Step 2: Choose one option and develop it further. After having a couple of days to check out the concepts, option  #1 was selected as the winner. However, she wasn't sold on the hard-edged wings, or the font selected for the word "training". But it gave us guidance moving forward. I experimented with a few new font options, and softer wing designs. Digital drawing is not my strength (I'm kinda old-school - I prefer working with pen and paper) so I chose a few different wing options from Shutterstock that I liked, and planned to purchase the winner once the final decisions wr. (More experienced graphic designers will read that last sentence and see a big red flag. I naively didn't! But we'll get to that...)
  How to Design a Logo, Step 2 
Step  3: Refine the details. Once the font and style of wing was chosen, Annette asked to see an option for the wings that had harder, more linear edges (similar to the original concept). However, when viewing them side by side, she preferred the softer option.
  How to Design a Logo, Step 3 Step 4: Choose colors and create the final files! Annette had already decided on light teal as the accent color for her brand, so I presented a few different options as to how the color could be applied. She chose to go with black text, and the wings would be filled in with teal. TA DA! LOGO! EVERYONE'S HAPPY! At this point I went to purchase the stock wing image and prepare the final files for both web and print. 
  How to Design a Logo, Step 4 Step 5: Realize you've made a crucial newbie mistake. Did you think that royalty-free images (like those from Shutterstock) could be used as part of a logo? I sure did! But guess what?

THEY CAN'T.

This is a really, really unfortunate thing to learn this far in the process. My dear, sweet client was thrilled to have her logo files on their way, and I had to break the news that she could not, in fact, have the design that she had approved. To say that I was mortified at this point (not to mention quite discouraged!) is an understatement.
How to Design a Logo, Step 5
Step 6. Drink heavily. (Kidding!) Step 6 was to pull up my bootstraps, and get to work. With no choice but to create a new wing design myself, I started sketching something that would be similar to the desired look, without infringing on the original design. Above is the absolutely crappy concept that I sent to Annette. She must have had an insane amount of faith in my skills, because she didn't flinch at it at all, and gave the go-ahead to continue.

  How to Design a Logo, Step 6 Step 7: Make a plan, and get familiar with my tablet. I have a Wacom Bamboo, but have only used it for handwriting - not drawing. Knowing that the wing design would need to be drawn entirely freehand, I created a loose guideline (above, in teal) and began to rough out the wing. There is definitely an art to drawing on a tablet, and I am eternally grateful for this post from PuglyPixel with a quick tip that really helped! 
How to Design a Logo, Step 7 Step 8: Somehow, create this awesome thang. With loads of patience and often working at 400% magnification with a 1px brush to get every edge and detail just right, the wing design started to evolve. I wanted it to have a loose, flowing feel, but it still needed to be crisp and well-executed. Mission accomplished. 
How to Design a Logo, Step 8
Step 9: Create and present final files (for real this time!). Annette was thrilled with the final logo design package, and I'm happy to say I am too. I'm a perfectionist - as many artists are - and would not be happy presenting a client with something that I wasn't confident would represent their brand and business with style. 

Alright designer friends, I've gotta know...have you ever made a major mess-up on a client project? How did you resolve it?

Happy Tuesday!
 

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