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The Logo Development Process: New England Breeze Case Study

October 22, 2009 | Branding and Rebranding, Case Studies and Our Work, Design Basics

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If you’ve never worked with a professional graphic designer, you may have no idea what goes into designing a logo. Even if you have worked with a designer, you’re probably curious about what goes on behind the scenes of developing a high-quality logo for a small business owner.

Below is an outline of the typical process that we take at Visible Logic for the design and development of a logo. We’ll be using New England Breeze, LLC as our case study.

Project Summary

Create a logo for a new business—New England Breeze. The company sells and installs wind turbines and solar panels for business and residential customers. The owner wanted to make sure both energy sources —solar and wind—were obvious in the logo, especially because the name of the business only suggested wind.

The logo should be one-color so that it is easily applicable on a variety of items and economical to print.

The target market is individuals interested in the environment and specifically alternative energy sources. Buyers would be buying systems for both business and residential usage.

Key words

To help me understand their brand position, I asked the client to provide adjectives or phrases that described the personality of the business. The following list was provided:

  • Approachable
  • Patient
  • Excited
  • Knowledgeable
  • Concerned
  • Flexible
  • Creative

Additional words and thoughts:

  • Willing to teach
  • Concerned for the environment
  • Amazed by nature’s power

One thing that I found interesting about this list was that their was nothing about technology or being cutting edge or anything in that area.

Sketching, generating ideas

I believe in sketching both on and off the computer. Each format uses the creative process differently, and therefore the forms that emerge from each tend to be distinct. Each process suggests new shapes, connections and direction. Whether it’s done with pencil and paper or using Adobe Illustrator both are considered “sketches”.

The goal is to explore as many different thoughts, avenues, forms, ideas, etc. is possible. Because graphic design is a commercial endeavor the designer does have to be conscious of how much time to spend in each phase of creating a logo. Several focused brainstorming sessions can be very fruitful.

Sketches for the New England Breeze Logo. (click to enlarge)
Sketches for the New England Breeze Logo. (click to enlarge)

Refining the preliminary designs

The process of refining the logo options take several steps. I begin by sorting through the sketches to highlight the strongest options. From there, each design is translated into Adobe Illustrator.

Then, I edit, alter, and adjust to create multiple adaptations of each initial idea. I believe that—in most situations—the strongest logo is the one that reduces the design elements to the most essential. It should also work at a very reduced size.

Finally, I want to show a broad range of styles for the client to choose from.

Refining the logo sketches (click to enlarge)
Refining the logo sketches (click to enlarge)

First round of logo designs to client

After narrowing down the field of options and refining each, these five logo designs were presented to the client. I generally work only in black in white at the beginning because introducing color can be confusing. If all the options are black/white/gray we all can focus on the ideas and basic graphic elements.

The first round of logo designed presented to the client. (click to enlarge)
The first round of logo designed presented to the client. (click to enlarge)

Finalizing the chosen logo design

If all goes smoothly, the client chooses one logo and then we make some refinements to finalize the logo. In this case, the client choose the logo in the bottom right (above), however he asked to make the wind streamers more elongated. Additionally, I felt that the thin areas in the center were going to be too thin in some reproduction techniques. So I refined the logo, and below are two options that were presented.

Further refinement and finalizing of the logo design. (click to enlarge)
Further refinement and finalizing of the logo design. (click to enlarge)

Adding Typography

In this case, the logo was designed to work separately from the type, sometimes type is incorporated into the logo at a much earlier stage. Below are the type options I showed to the client.

Adding typography to the logo. (click to enlarge)
Adding typography to the logo. (click to enlarge)

The final logo

Because the client specifically asked for a one-color logo from the start, I decided not to introduce color until the very end. More frequently, color options are introduced earlier in the process. Once the black and white version was finalized and approved by New England Breeze I showed a variety of color options. A bright blue color was chosen. Below is the final logo.

The final logo design
The final logo design

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