The golden arches. A swoosh symbolizing motion and speed. A silver apple missing a bite. Can you identify these brands by their logos?

When we see familiar logos, our minds automatically identify the brand (McDonald’s™, Nike™, Apple, etc.). Having a logo design that is easily recognizable is critical to grabbing the attention of your target audience, creating a positive first impression, and developing a strong brand identity.

Because a business logo design plays such a significant role in establishing and maintaining brand recognition, the creation of the custom logo design should not be done overnight. There are several steps to getting it right and the process requires a clear brand strategy and a substantial amount of time.

So, how exactly does GRIT, a logo design company based in York, Pennsylvania, navigate the logo development process? Discover the thrilling, demanding, and rewarding seven-step process our team follows when designing business logos.


Step 1: The Brief

When beginning the branding journey and custom logo design process for a client, our creative team starts with a robust discussion about the company’s vision. We need to understand the client’s culture, values, goals, and target audiences before we can create a memorable and relevant business logo.

While some clients want a completely fresh start, others want to keep certain elements or brand colors intact. Client input is valued during the logo development process, but it is important to remember that selecting colors and styles based on the client’s personal preferences is not always the best path. The end consumer also plays a role in the success of a logo design, so it is critical to consider their preferences too.

During this stage, our team identifies the client’s target audience. We want the new business logo to appeal to the targeted demographics. Therefore, it is critical to have a clear grasp of what draws that audience in and what might deter them.


Step 2: Research

After the briefing stage with the client, the creative team digs deeper. Further researching the client and their target audience is critical in understanding how to ensure their goals are met by the new logo design. The GRIT team may send out surveys, conduct virtual interviews, or meet in person to gain insight from company employees, stakeholders, and customers. GRIT’s Brand Awareness Survey deepens our understanding of what is working well, opportunities for improvement, and how the brand may be perceived or positioned overall. During this research, our creative team is looking for strategic themes that will help drive the business logo design.

Additionally, a competitive analysis is conducted to examine best practices (and not so good practices) of how competitors present their brands. This data tells us what may or may not be effective in the marketplace and helps to uncover differentiators and unique aspects of the brand.


Step 3: Creative Concepting

During the creative concepting stage, our graphic designers capture the many themes identified in the brief and research phases. They begin to sketch out their ideas on paper to quickly capture concepts and ideas in a brainstorming fashion. Our creative team may create dozens of sketches and play with different themes, visuals, and layouts. Their goal is to explore all possible directions. They use trial and error to find what works visually.


Step 4: Logo Development

After the creative concepting and sketches have been completed, digital creation begins. At this point, the most successful ideas developed during the sketching phase will be recreated on the computer. GRIT’s team uses digital software like Adobe Illustrator to create logos. This is where the concepts come to life with typeface and font size emerging as key factors in making a business logo visually appealing. Often, graphic designers spend time testing and perfecting different options to find the typeface and font choices that fit best with the research and that accurately represent the brand and client’s vision. Next, our team will focus on the logo mark when applicable and work to streamline and perfect the concept. The mark designs are paired with wordmark choices to create fleshed out concepts. Our designers often begin with black and white designs to ensure the concept will work in its simplest form before adding color. Color palettes are introduced and tested based on color psychology and the early brief and research steps.


York County Coalition on Homelessness logo standards
Excerpt from York County Coalition on Homlessness brand standards guide outlining the elements of their logo and color variations.


Step 5: Internal Review

Once the logos have been developed, our designers hand their precious work over to the rest of the team. The first proof of the new logo is sent to the extended team to gather their thoughts and ideas to push the designs even further. Once the research phase is complete, the design portion of a logo stays within our creative department, so by completing an internal review, extra sets of eyes can look over the custom logo designs and provide feedback. When all the feedback is collected and analyzed, the design team makes revisions with a fresh mindset. This can be where additional concepts are introduced and the best designs are cleaned up and prepared for presentation.


Step 6: Client Feedback

Now the fun part! When GRIT presents the business logos to the client, we often prefer to showcase the new logo on “mockup” marketing materials to help the client visualize how the logo will look in promotion. This is an opportunity to share the story behind the design as well. The client reviews the ideas and responds with their thoughts. The creative team takes the client feedback back to the design studio to draft another round of proofs for review. Usually there are a couple rounds of revisions before the final logo is delivered (although we have had a few custom logo designs accepted during the first round).


Step 7: Delivery

The last step in the logo development process is delivering the final design to the client. Once the client approves the logo, multiple file types are produced so the business logo can be used for a variety of purposes. GRIT’s final logo package includes all the possible color scenarios for the brand. Most include CMYK (full color), grayscale or black and reversed (or white) versions of each logo type. In addition, file types are provided for online, print, and a variety of other applications to assist the client with color information.

Further development of the brand, such as messaging, follows the development of the logo. Since GRIT is a full-service marketing communications agency, not only can we help design a new logo, but we can develop supporting brand messaging, strategic marketing plans, and more to bring the whole brand to life!


Need Help Bringing Your Design Visions to Life?

At GRIT, our logo designers have years of experience creating custom business logo designs and helping bring our clients’ visions to life. Whether you are looking to refresh your existing logo or design a new logo from scratch, our creative team is ready to dig deeper and support your project. To learn more about our branding services, hear about our most successful logo design projects, or discover how we can help with your next project, start a conversation with us!