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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Creating a Logo

Every business needs a logo. No matter if you sell flagstones or some services on your website, you want to be recognizable and having the logo which is easy to remember is crucial. Sure, you can go for some automatically generated stuff but it’ll look crappy or similar to lots of others logos and I guess you don’t want either one.

I and some of my friends started recently a micro-ISV. We’re building a service which helps auctioneers with searching and deciding how much something is worth. For now service is addressed for Polish market only so it’s entirely in Polish. I’ll write more on that soon. Today I want to share our experience with creating the logo for the service and the company, because there’s one name for both.

We started in a point where the name (Overto) was agreed and we haven’t much idea how the logo itself should look like. As none of us is skilled graphic we decided to hire a professional to do the job. I’d been working earlier on similar project with Michal Faron and was happy with the results so we decided to go that way.

Before starting his work Michal asks about “creative brief” where he gathers all the information his customer can deliver. For us it was very short description what the service would be doing and one hint: “We want wide range of propositions, no constraints for now.” I believe that one shouldn’t limit graphic’s creativity and let him bring some new ideas. If you have your own strong concept, ask for it as one of possible options, but not the only one. You never know for sure how you’d like other ideas.

Michal came with two sheets of different concepts.

As you can see variety of ideas were really wide. We had several people judging the propositions and it was hard to agree on a single one or even a couple of them to let Michal continue his work. We started with a brainstorming session, asking ourselves which logos we like and why. Especially the last part of question was important because we quickly agreed that general path we want to follow is “text as logo” approach with rather conservative font and a little tweak, which makes the logo looking modern. To select four propositions to continue the work we had to make negative voting, crossing out those we didn’t like until only four left.

Our thoughts were sent to Michal, who came with another sheet of concepts.

In the last line, called “baza” you can see candidates we’d chosen. Unfortunately we still weren’t happy with any on propositions. We tried another approach – we took some of creative part of job on ourselves. We started to merge some concepts from the sheet working in advanced Windows-based hi-end graphical tool, called Paint. Effects looked crappy but it was OK, as we wanted just to try if ideas are worth further effort or not. The session was successful but not in the way we expected. When I was trying to cut out “overto” string from B2 I came with that:

Then, magic happened. That was the idea. The next round of Michal’s work was started with three requests:

• Make only small tweaks of input logo (the one we accidentally created).

• Propose some different colors of triangle (including one with no changes).

• Rather don’t change colors of letters.

Up to then we didn’t make any decisions about colors – we tried to focus on design, knowing that it was the hardest part of the process. To limit variety of color palettes Michal could use during that iteration, we asked about not very strong versions of blue, claret and orange. I also asked Michal to make black and white versions, as it’s needed in different materials and there are some tricks with them, e.g. grey and orange differ nicely in color version, but it’s hard to see a difference in grayscale.

Last iteration resulted with two sheets: one in color and another in grayscale.

Before looking at the new logos we were committed to the one we’d sent as a proposition, so I expected that the only discussion would be about colors. However, as I stated on the beginning, let the designer work, maybe he’d come with something better. In this case he came. We chose D2 as a final shape of the logo and color of triangle from A2.

The final logo looks like that:

We’re happy with the final result. There’s some concepts we’ve taken from the logo into a website design, but that’s the subject for another post. Key lessons for me here are:

• Employ a professional. None of us would come through all those ideas. Two of us are very creative guys, at least when you think about technology, but I don’t think they would bring all those concepts when thinking about graphic job.

• Don’t be a cheapskate. Michal prices his job about 1000$ and as far as I know it is neither highest nor lowest price on the market. However when talking about substantial part of his work I hereby recommend Michal as a designer – feel free to contact him through his website.

• Brainstorm. One side of making a logo is designer’s work. Another is yours. As we are the group, it was harder to meet the consensus, but even when you’re a single decision-maker I’d recommend asking some friends about their opinions and inviting a discussion. It’s also much better when it’s face to face discussion (not an e-mail one) as you can work on designer’s work tweaking it a bit. And believe me, you don’t need anything more than Paint here.

I hope you find my “how to create a logo” article helpful, as I haven’t seen much of this kind of experience shared. One you can find on Ian Landsman’s Blog.

Little update: Mike Rohde has described his design work on ProBlogger logo. That’s another insightful article on the subject.

in: entrepreneurship

8 comments… add one

  • Ashish Mohta December 19, 2006, 10:54 am

    You have great ideas.I am feeding your blog

  • Jennifer Lynn December 19, 2006, 8:40 pm

    Any ideas for a relevant logo for a broke-ass student? ;)

    Very informative article, thanks for sharing!

  • Nancy December 20, 2006, 2:10 am

    Very cool post – I love how you went through the entire process. Congratulations on finally finding the perfect logo.

  • Madhur Kapoor December 20, 2006, 3:49 am

    Great post mate…

  • Rashenbo December 20, 2006, 4:59 pm

    Yes, very interesting… I don’t know how to make logos but I frequently admire them and I think having a logo that has a strong marketing position is critical for a business.

  • Geoff December 21, 2006, 3:08 pm

    Wow, thanks for walking us through that process. I especially liked seeing all the prototypes. I haven’t looked through all your archives yet, but I wonder if a follow-up post explaining how you decided on your company’s name might be in order? Maybe walk through that process, too. Just a thought. Good stuff…

  • Pawel Brodzinski December 22, 2006, 1:55 am

    Yes, choosing a name was also a kind of process. And I agree that sharing that stuff is a good idea, so stay tuned.

  • Joerg Weisner December 23, 2006, 2:36 pm

    Nice description of the creation-process.
    Very interesting to read.

    I postet a link to Your Post on my own blog.

    Have a merry christmas and a happy New Year
    best wishes from Germany


    PS: I translated my own post to the group writing project to English, so just in case, You would like to have a look – You are welcome. :-)

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