Whether you need a logo designed for your business or you are the one designing a logo there’s always the question of how long will it take. In the first case you’re the one asking, in the second- you’ll have to answer. It is a complicated question and there are so many legit answers, depending on different factors, which I will try to examine in this post.
Couple of hours
That’s the client’s dream! You brief a designer in the morning and get your logo by the end of the working day. But what actually happened in those few hours?
How is it made?
With so little time one can’t go through a very elaborate process to arrive at a worthy solution, so they will most likely go directly into the finishing phase. The designer will probably just type the company/ business/ person’s name in a font different than the default for the program used (sometimes maybe even in the same font). Additional lines might be added in different fonts to make it look like there was process or thought behind it. In the worst cases a clipart image will be added to serve as an icon. Often the image will be found with a simple Google search and completely in violation of Copy rights. In some cases the designer will create the images, but they will be rushed and unrefined, just because the technical time doesn’t allow for much more.
This “process” very often leads to generic, predictable, sloppy designs, which “state the obvious” and simply said, compromise the credibility of your business.
Does it work?
- Yes, if the logo is part of an assignment for school and you are not studying design. Maybe you have a business class where you had to imagine you have a company and write a business plan or a social media strategy … etc. and you wanted to make the project more complete by giving your imaginary business a logo or maybe it was even a requirement.
- It is ok if the “logo” is to be used as a placeholder until there are resources for producing an actual professional logo. Many might disagree, but it is a scenario I find acceptable- there are elements without witch a new business can exist for a while and a professional logo is one of them.
- No, if you plan to use your logo long term and take your business seriously.
A big portion of what you see around you is likely produced in this way, judjing by the quality. The majority of local small businesses, even some larger ones have logos that display the characteristics of the “Few hours/ clicks logo”. The logos created on logo competition sites often fall into the same category. The designers might put some more work, but the time frame they offer is not enough for a refined, meaningful and lasting results. I know because this is how I started my first client work, back when I was still in design school. The first logo for Forindet.com was created this way to serve as a place holder until I came up with something that represented me better.
This website’s former logo
This is a more realistic timeframe for a successful logo design. And let’s clarify here that creating a logo in couple of weeks does not mean that the designer spends every waking hour working on it. They would normally have couple of other projects going at the same time and will be switching between them.
How is it made?
This period allows for going through a creative process, getting to know a business, exploring different options and refining designs. It will all typically start with a client meeting (or an email when meeting is not an option). The designer will receive a brief and make an offer (stating the parameters of the job- how much they will charge, how long the project will take, what will be delivered). After it is all agreed upon, the designer will start researching. This is when s/he tries to learn as much as possible about the client’s industry, business and competitors. Then a visual research will be conducted, time will be spent looking for inspiration, creating mood boards and selecting alternative directions for the logo. After all the information is gathered it is time to brainstorm and sketch, explore different concepts and after that the better ideas will be taken to the computer and rendered digitally. Concepts will be shown to the client for approval, changes will be made if needed and the final results will be delivered.
(I plan writing a post which will focus exclusively on this process, so stay around for that.)
Does it work?
- Yes, for a freelance designer, working with a smaller scale business this is a very realistic timeframe to produce a thoughtful and well crafted design. The time may vary depending on the designer’s time and involvement in other projects and the time it takes the client to respond.
- No, for a project of lesser importance with a short lifespan. Generally logos are produced with longevity in mind and are required to last, but there might be cases when that won’t be so relevant-small events, a very small business that lacks the resources, a hobby business or for testing a business idea etc.
Logo for Experience Mandarin
Working on a logo for months is the reality for advertising agencies and design studios. Having a number of projects at any given time, more people involved in both the creation and approval of designs may stretch the process.
How is it made?
The process here would resemble the “few weeks logo” process, but it is likely that each step will take longer and there might be more waiting time for client’s approval, since it is likely that more people will be involved in the decision making.
Does it work?
Yes, for larger companies. Typically there will be more products produced and the project will likely be referred to as a brand identity, rather than a logo.
Very few projects have taken me that long and they were mostly self initiated and not a priority. Most big company logos have been likely produced this way.
Longer than few months
A creative work is never finished. A designer has to make a conscious choice to stop, usually with the help of deadlines and demands of the real world. Personal projects may fall in this category. Sometimes the reason is that they are constantly pushed aside, because client work is prioritized , and sometimes the project may fall victim to the designer’s perfectionism. “Real life” projects can also take a very long time in some instances: a very large project, a very demanding client…etc. It is the real world, all kinds of delays may occur.
For me my personal brand identity have turned into something of an endless project. I’m sure many designers will agree that creating a logo/ identity for oneself is the biggest challenge and you might turn into your own nightmare client.
My current personal logo and the new logo for this website
In conclusion it is worth mentioning that every designer is different and while some might be able to create decent logos in hours others will not produce quality results even after weeks. Though in reality most experienced designers will tend to work longer on a project, because they understand the importance of the creative process and would not be willing to sacrifice it, knowing it would hurt the final result. Beginner designers are more likely to rush into delivery, because they are eager to please and to quickly show their worth and competitiveness.
Ok, so how long will your logo design take? It is always a bit of a challenge to answer, but the best we can do is trust in the process!
What do you think?
How long does it take you to design a logo? Alternatively how long are you willing to wait for your new logo?