There really isn’t a single ‘right’ way to design a good logo, nor is there a single process that will guarantee a great result. The best method really depends on both the designer and client as well as the particular style of the logo itself.
The following is a brief step by step explanation of how I designed my most recent logo, including the various tools I used in production.
A rough sketch on graph or blank paper helps me get started. I may go through as many as 2 dozen quick sketches before I arrive at a concept with as much detail as the one included. Adding some rough guides will help me with proportions and reproduction later.
The Digital Grid
I scan my sketch, and then begin to create a custom grid for my design in Adobe Photoshop. I create guides where appropriate to assist me when I use the pen tool to begin to sketch out the actual lines of the design. The goal here is to get enough intersection to easily trace all the key elements of my sketch.
The Initial Trace
Next I use Photoshop line tool to outline my sketch using the guides I create earlier. The initial draft will be a simple outline with very little detail, just enough for me to get a feel for the actual proportions, make adjustments, then trace using vector tools.
The Vector Trace
Now I use the Pen Tool to create a detailed vector image. I can make adjustments on the fly, or adjust points and curves later on. A semi transparent shape layer helps me visualize the full figure. I use a different shape for each individual element, so I may have as many as a dozen separate shapes at this point. An appropriately sized grid also helps me alignelements precisely as I start to narrow down the exact look of my final logo.
Adjustments and the Final Outline
With all my shapes in place, I can assign them colors and make them semi transparent. I’ll continue to fine tune at this stage, and adjust how the individual elements fit together to compose the design as a whole
It’s time to move on to Adobe Illustrator to compose the final vector image. I use my shape layer from the previous step as a background, then create my vector outlines in illustrator.
I use My Fontbook to browse my font’s and select one that looks right for this logo. I’ll add the actual text im going to use, and browse through till I meet something that satisfies me. If I don’t have one that suites me, I’ll browse for a new font from my font bookmarks.
Wrapping up is a bit of a misnomer, the final tweaking and adjustments of logo can take a lot of effort. Criticism is solicited, the design is tested in several formats and in multiple colors, and adjustments continue until everyone is satisfied. I don’t think this particular logo is quite complete yet, rather I’ll continue to make adjustments until I’m 100% satisfied.
As you can see it takes more than a great idea to make a great logo. As is often the case, inspiration is accompanied by quite a bit of experience and hard work to make a branding solution really work.