Don’t cut corners on logo design – here are important tips to keep the design process on track.

1.Strategy. Before any design can start, have a robust brand strategy. A successful strategy delivers on three things: differentiation, authenticity, and relevance. To establish differentiation, look at how the competition is positioned in the marketplace. To establish authenticity, look at what the brand can actually deliver, not what you wish it would deliver. And to establish relevance, look at what the marketplace actually wants, meaning, what are the drivers that propel your target audiences to interact, and what are the barriers?

2. Establish the brand’s personality. If the brand were a person what would he/she be like? A visionary? Scientific? A little wacky? Courageous? Charismatic? It should be 3-6 descriptive words, and no more.

3. Write a creative brief. Once 1 and 2 are figured out, draft a creative brief that describes the target audience, their mindset, the brand personality, and what the new brand identity is expected to deliver.

4. Remove subjectivity. Reference the creative brief during evaluation rounds. If “scientific” is one of the brand personality traits, evaluate how the designs deliver on that feeling. Referring to the creative brief helps to eliminate personal opinion and subjectivity, such as “I don’t like this one because I don’t like purple.”

5. Don’t worry about designs that remind you of something else that exists. All logos look like something. There are an infinite number of design possibilities, but a finite number of recognizable identities. It is ok if the design resembles something, as long as its not a close competitor.

6. Don’t expect the logo to tell the whole story. Your product should tell your story. The logo should express a feeling, not a literal narrative. For instance, you don’t need 3 crayons, a school house, and a sunshine in the logo design to signify that it is a children’s summer art class.

7. Evaluate the logo in situ. Before finalizing the logo, make sure your designer mocks it up in various environments: How does it behave when shrunk down, as a favicon or an app? Do you need horizontal and vertical versions? How does it behave on light and dark backgrounds? How does it look like in a sea of other logos, as in a sponsorship banner at a trade show? How does it scale up, like on the side of a building or behind a reception desk? How does it behave as embroidery? Can it extend to animation?

Your logo is not your brand but it is one of the most important expressions of it. Treat the design process seriously and you will end up with a valuable asset that drives business and builds loyalty.