Expert Round Up: Where Do You Get Your Logo Design Inspiration?

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Are you in a creative rut? Are your inventive juices not flowing as much as you would like them to? In this week’s instalment of our Logojoy Expert Round Up, we asked 12 experts to share their best tips on finding logo design inspiration, to get your creative energy back to its best and bring your branding to the next level.

What’s Your Message?

“The best way to create a logo is to ask a bunch of people, “What does [the name of your business] make you think of?”  Chances are, whatever these people think of when they hear your business is also what your customers will think of. You want to make sure your logo is cohesive with what your business sounds like.”

– Eric Anthony, Founder, StreamingObserver.com

“Logo denotes the identity of a business and creates the first impression to the potential customers and stakeholders. There are a few steps in logo design. The first is to look at the competitors and decide how you want to be different. Think about the target audience and decide about the message you want to communicate. Think of a good logo and sketch it on paper which is distinctive, memorable, and easy to reproduce. The logo should highlight the striking feature or the USP of your business with the initials.”

– Swapnil Bhagwat, Senior Manager – Design & Digital Media, Orchestrate Technologies, LLC

“Take the time to identify the business’ core values and strengths. This will reveal the brand’s personality, and form the foundation of the message you want the logo to convey. Carefully select colors and shapes that express the specific characteristics of the company that appeal most to a target consumer. Doing so will ensure that the logo communicates a clear message that is immediately recognizable and compels audience to engage with the brand.”

– Kristoffer Howes, Chief Executive Officer, Weal Media Corporation

Use Your Surroundings

“I use weird sources for inspiration. I look at forms in nature and try to reduce them to basic shapes. I’m always trying to invoke a sense of humanity to a logo. I tend to personify things in my own mind and try to express that visually like Bob Ross’ happy little trees.”

– Josh Baron, Media Art Director, Sparxoo

“My consultation with clients always begins with a questionnaire that allows us to get a feel for their overall style. We want to know what colors they are drawn to and which ones they are put off by. We find out which major brands they feel represent their core values. We also dive into non-industry related inspiration. For example, a dentist does not always have to be stuck with a tooth logo. We look for ways to make a local connection whenever possible. This gives us a good foundation for inspiration. From there we begin to build a storyboard to create a mood for the brand. The storyboard is meant to take us down a path of inspiration, giving us some clarity on the colors and shapes we will be using to begin drafting a design. We often turn to nature for inspiration as opposed to the internet. While the web has endless resources for logo design, we try to stay away from look-a-like branding so we can build something fresh and authentic.”

– Lauren Edvalson, CEO,

Edvalson Marketing

Take Breaks

 

“Take some long breaks. I’ll leave a build file open on my computer and leave work for the day. When I come back in the morning it’ll be the first thing I see when I sit down at my desk. I am able to see the project with a fresh set of eyes and find inspiration that I would struggle to see if I were still immersed in the iterative design process. There’s a lot of value in this split second gut reaction to a design. That’s how most users will experience the brand you’re creating. Take advantage of it.”

– Alex Caldwell, Creative Director, Brolik

“I own a creative agency in New York City, and I’ve worked on countless design projects throughout the last nine years. As a creative director/designer, I usually have my best ideas when I go out for a run or I am in the shower. I know it’s a bit strange but that’s how I conceptualize my best ideas – whether it’s for a website, logo, media kit, etc.”

– Kristin Marquet, Creative Director & Designer, Creative Development Agency

Pare it Down

“We search for simple metaphors that can communicate a story and welcome multiple interpretations, giving people the tools to build meaning over time. We use our expansive library of books to research symbols and semiotics, but inspirations come from everywhere: museum visits, type foundries, Instagram users that obsessively post graphic design porn, and neighborhood shop windows. For us, reducing to the essentials is more important than inspiration overload, since our goal is a sustainable brand more than following trends. Our studio philosophy is ‘discard everything that means nothing.’ We find this is never more true than when applied to logo design.”

– Alex Moulton, Chief Creative Officer, Trollbäck+Company

Define Your Brand

“Since a logo is part of a brand, and a brand is an entire experience, the first step for good logo design is to understand the desired experience the brand is striving to deliver. That should include the physical product or the service, the name, color, personality traits, the brand promise, the brand story and how the brand is supposed to make people feel. Is it warm and friendly? Or cool and sleek? Then sketch concepts after interacting with the product or service, reviewing competitors and reviewing photos of places or objects that evoke similar feelings.”

– Jim Sagar, CEO, Qlutch

Play Around

“My process for conceptualizing new logos always begins with a black pen and lined paper. I allocate about 25 minutes to just play. It’s never perfect, but I’ve learned through the years that none of those strokes are an accident and always lead to interesting, creative ideas that I never would’ve tried if I had started on the computer screen. A paperless office is the most terrifying precursor to the apocalypse that I can think of. Earphones are also a must. The type of music varies with the project, but I need something that will keep me from overthinking.”

– Katie Saunders, Owner & Creative Director, Pop and Grey

“I start the conversation discussing the history of the company and discussing the future of the company: where is the company going? where do you see it in 10 years? what is the purpose of the logo? what do you want it to communicate? These questions are generally enough for me and for everyone on the team to start the process of what I call “solitary scribbling”; everyone get to scribble freely ideas for a day or two and after we exchange the results. Other people scribbles will definitely inspire you and take you ‘outside of the box.”

– Anthony Neal Macri, Founder, ANM Digital Consulting

“During the discovery phase, take detailed notes and pull out the themes that convey the client’s business differentiation, what makes them unique. Try and visualize the narrative. You want to find the simplest solution to a complex idea.

When it comes time to create, I typically sketch 500 ideas before sharing anything with the client. I usually do my best sketch work early in the morning and a white board collaboration with another designer usually generates ideas quicker. You can refine or remove ideas quicker with a peer working in tandem.

All logos should be four things: simple, memorable, timeless and flexible.”

– Cory Schearer, Creative Director, Ferebee Lane

Now that you’re inspired, you can put that creativity to work by creating your logo. What do you think of these expert tips? Do you have any additional insight to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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