Monday, October 20, 2008

Creative Process

Instead of Moody Monday, I'm in the MOOD to talk about process. Creative process. 

Let's take logo design, for example. When clients come to me, (usually after seeing my website) I take down as much information about their product, service, business, clients, etc. as I can. I do ALOT of listening. And you know what? People LOVE talking about themselves and their companies, so it's a nice way to start a client relationship. My hubby The Salesman always says: "There's a reason that we have TWO ears and ONE mouth." 
Below is the beginning phase of a logo that I started last month:

After getting all the 411, I  start thinking about fonts. (That's actually a lie, since I am ALWAYS thinking about fonts. (see Alphabet Series, some here and here ) As I think, I gather. I experiment with the way a font looks in caps, small caps, upper & lower case, script, etc. I put my final contenders on a page.
In the next step, I think about what symbols, graphics or ornaments could express the company mission, in unison with the font. It's like bringing together the ingredients of a recipe. 


I usually come up with 20 different logos, including different variations of logos. Many designers feel like they can keep things in check, by giving clients fewer choices. I disagree. I pursue the creative process until every drop has been squeezed out. I get it all out of my system. Then I hand-pick the best ones to present to the client. It never ceases to amaze me what they end up choosing... almost never the one that I'd guess!
The truth is... most people feel uncomfortable making design choices by themselves. They take home the first round of logos and show their spouses, mother's, assistants, doormen and even their mailmen. Ha! Everyone gives an opinion.

Normally, there are 2-3 rounds of revision and perfection before the final logo is approved. Like magic, it makes an idea for a business *look* real and professional. It makes a dream come true for somebody. It's part of why I love my work.

Above, is a few of the original first-round logos I did for a cement importer. In this case, I was in complete agreement about his choice. Very little was done to revise the first sketch, before final approval. (We made the black panel a dark grey, and the client decided to go plural on the cement.)
In the next phase, I work on the various things that the client needs to move forward. Business cards, letterhead, pocket folders, brochures, signage, electronic catalogs, hang tags, email blasts, menus, etc.


Here is an example of a sheet of business card layouts. It's fun choosing paper samples and printing styles. In this case the client wants embossing on craft-paper style card stock. I'll show you guys the finished product after it prints. Any questions?
Hope I didn't bore you folks! Moody Monday will return next week, with more mood and more monday than ever before.
xoh



17 comments:

Krissy said...

I love seeing the process other designers use. It's interesting because I flip your first two steps in my process... I play with the graphical element and then fit in the type. I really like the Nirvana Threads logo you did- very nice! Your husband's quote is something I will reference now forever!

sparklemag said...

Really that looks like an awesome job! I think I would be so content doing that. You must really enjoy it.

design for mankind. said...

HEIDI! THIS IS SOOOO HELPFUL! :0

Gill - That British Woman said...

that's was interesting, as I am not a graphic designer, its all foreign to me, so you description of how it all comes together was interesting.

Gill in Canada

Octavine Illustration said...

i too love seeing the process of other designers. your creations are so wonderful...must be very difficult to pick just one!~

Lucky said...

i loved this post - are the pics clickable? i keep trying to enlarge them - i'm a total fontaholic.

svelteSTUFF said...

CEMENTS? You may want to double check on that - for the plural, I don't think that cement takes on an 's' ( similar to DEER). Or is does it have some other significance?

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Love! And if only I had known you did logos a few months back (actually I checked...it's more like *several* months back that we had a logo designed for one of our corp. divisions. Sigh...where does the time go?!).

Today was soooooo lovely. Souen is now a part of my life for good.

heidi said...

Sue: I think the cement importer would like the logo to reflect that he imports more than one type of cement? I never pressed him on it!

Lucky: I can't figure out why some images are clickable and some aren't. Any clue?

heidi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen Fagan said...

Thanks for taking us through the process, Heidi! I found it very interesting indeed; always wondered a bit about how these things worked.

(I, too, am totally intrigued by "Cements," being a bit of a word prig - the only kind of prig I am that I know about - but, like you implied, the customer is always right, I guess...)

designerman said...

love seeing the process of another artist. pls. check out my blog too! r

Bonbon Oiseau said...

Love seeing your process heidi! i just learned A LOT!

please sir said...

So interesting - I love seeing the design process in action.

Fifi Flowers said...

LOVE your logo designs! J'adore FONTS! I love to collect them!

Fifi Flowers said...

LOVE your logo designs! J'adore FONTS! I love to collect them!

C.J. said...

that was really interesting, thank you.