Getting inspired is a crucial and often overlooked step in any project’s design process. So where do you start digging your heels in to find logo design inspiration? The answer isn’t as obvious as anyone may guess. According to Robin Landa, upcoming Logo Design Awards judge and author of “Build Your Own Brand”, “A logo compresses meaning into one small compositional unit, a unit that will be integral to all your visual communication solutions.”
That’s a lot of pressure for any design! A creative logo design has to be on point. It has to be relevant. It has to be communicable. It sits at the backbone of any brand. See the logo design examples shown below, which are all winners from past Logo Design Awards.
Logo Inspiration Gallery
So, How Exactly Do you Find Logo Design Inspiration?
So much of any type of design inspiration, whether it’s related to logo design or posters, is subjective and can’t be formulaic. Illustrative designer Von Glitschka offers sage advice, saying that the “Best form of inspiration is to be creatively curious in general as a form of lifestyle. This will influence your work more than anything.”
Keeping that in mind is the pillar to finding any type of inspiration. Although there is no magic formula, the below steps will help grease your creative wheels for finding what you’re looking for: Logo design inspiration. Leading experts divulged secrets gleaned from their creative processes.
1. Build a Personality Profile
Glitschka says that “you don’t find logo design inspiration; it finds you. It happens through a process of thinking. But before you begin thinking, you have to have an informed perspective to draw from.” The question then becomes, how do you form an informed perspective? It starts with building a personality profile for your brand, rooted deeply in information-collecting to build a strong concept.
Often times, solid logo designs fall short because the concept is weak, notes Glitschka, thus resulting in an amateur finished product. In many ways, logo design inspiration starts with research, which has the ability to marry a strong concept with proper execution. Landa agrees. “Research is the key to understanding the industry or sector, the brand or entity, and to finding any insight into the audience,” she says.
Glitschka says that you must begin collecting upfront information about your client and their product or service as it currently stands, as well. By knowing the current state of the identity, you’ll know best how to move any concepts forward and how to frame the conversation around what you already know.
Start this conversation by asking the right questions. The more you can find out, the better off you’ll be when creating your logo designs and presenting them to the client. Here are several must-ask questions:
- Who are they?
- Who is their audience?
- Where do they aspire to go?
- How do they want to be perceived?
- Does the public perceive them this way now?
After you clearly know who your client is, school yourself on their competition — who are they up against? Who do they want to be up against? Glitschka offers a bit of caution, though, as you move into this territory during your quest for logo design inspiration. “Too many use that as a crutch and it’s why you see so many marks that resemble one another,” he says.
2. Give the Client Homework
In addition to building a personality about the client through thoughtful questions and research, it’s essential to find out what speaks to your client, in terms of visuals. Think of it as getting to know their tastes, and use that information as you see fit.
For instance, Jim Krause, designer/illustrator/photographer and author of “The Logo Brainstorm Book”, conducts this phase before his first meeting with the client. “I give the client a little bit of homework by asking them to collect a few samples of things they like and things they don’t like. This isn’t necessarily so that I can aim for exactly the kind of things they like; it’s more so that I can understand something about their tastes and be better prepared to discuss aesthetic and conceptual matters once things really get going,” he says.
Landa will even go as far as asking the client about their color preferences if developing a color palette is part of the assignment. “I have found that some clients react to color not based on how appropriate it is for the design concept or brand or audience, but on personal taste,” she says.
3. Sketch Like Nobody’s Watching (Because They Aren’t)
Sketching has long been hailed as a valuable part of the creative process for many designers, but it seems especially crucial when trying to tap into the well of logo design inspiration. “I think with a pencil in my hand,” says Landa. After you generate a strategy and a few concepts, Landa usually hones in on hand-drawn or handmade visual techniques to push further. “Besides thinking about unusual ways to visualize, I like to examine the shape of serifs, brackets, and counterforms of typefaces. I pay great attention to the negative shapes of the type and the imagery,” she says.
Krause also believes strongly in the power of sketching as a tool put to use by most experienced designers. There’s no need to be a perfectionist at this stage; as this is meant to serve as a visual catalogue of your ideas. “Thumbnail sketches are just visual shorthand for ideas that may or may not be developed later on,” Krause says. “All your scrawly, little sketches need to do is remind you later on of the ideas that are behind them.”
Think of sketching as the phase that comes after research and before you jump on the computer. “Drawing is design’s best friend and it will always improve the ideation and development of a logo design regardless of what specific style it’s being executed in,” Glitschka says.