Logo design

design case study

Here’s a look at my logo design process, along with snippets of different projects along the way.


Designing for people

Image courtesy of Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios

I try to keep my work grounded and focused on real people’s needs. That’s why I start design projects by talking with people so I can understand where they’re coming from and what they need. Listening to their perspectives and watching their actions helps me design things that work for them.


Kicking out ideas

Once my head’s all full from interviewing people, I try to fill up pages (or whiteboards) with ideas. This lets me compare ideas side-by-side to see which work for the problem at hand.


The back-and-forth

Starting on paper helps me get ideas out quickly, but in my experience sketches don’t make the best impression on clients. Once I’ve exhausted all my ideas on paper, I move to a digital canvas.

Next I refine and simplify the designs that I think address the problem well, then show them to the right people; the folks I initially interviewed and anyone whose opinion matters to them.

Different directions coexist before I get feedback

The client understands their needs far better than I do, so I value their impressions and opinions. Where needed, I guide them through my design intentions, keeping them in context and explaining the reasoning behind my decisions. Then, I listen to their feedback, watch their body language, and take notes.

Often this results in adjustments or entirely new directions! It’s all part of the process.

Showing a client one version in context (left) resulted in a change in direction (right).

I take all of the feedback from these sessions and use it to refine the design further. Ideally one or two concepts are starting to come out ahead of the rest, but not always.

Sometimes there’s competition until the very end!

BUT — the project isn’t over when the design’s finished! For the design to do its job well, I give the client a how-to guide. Sometimes it’s a bona fide brand guidelines manual, other times it’s a simple graphic showing a logo’s usage in context. With this, anyone who inherits the brand later on can use it to its fullest, even if I’m not involved.

A sample of a graphic delivered to a client.
A sample of a brand guidelines book delivered to a client.

Samples

When everything’s said and done, I strive to make work that feels genuine to me and my client. Here’s some of that work, in no particular order:

Thanks for reading!

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I’m Juan Valera. I’m the founder of Coastal, a product design agency in Seattle, WA. You can see what I’m up to on my personal site and on Twitter!